I’m pretty much a natural person, especially when it comes to fabrics. Although I don’t talk in terms of absolutes about myself because there are always exceptions. But I have made a strange observation when wearing polyester. It was strange enough that I had to ask, “Why?” This led to my investigation into the connection between body odor and artificial fabrics.
The final straw came when I attended a memorial service for a friend and is what actually drove me to create my own natural deodorant. My deodorant absolutely failed me. I was afraid to even raise my arms. It was terribly embarrassing.
Long ago, I had to give up all of the commercial deodorants because of all the fragrances and chemicals. I had tried just about every ‘natural’ deodorant on the market. They all worked – to a point. But they let me down that one day.
My husband and I tested my deodorant during a road trip across the Southernmost part of the United States in the middle of June. We saw temperatures as high as 110 degrees and were towing a 35 foot travel trailer. We got stuck more than once on the side of the road due to blow outs on the trailer. (I call this trip “The Road Trip From Hell” but that’s another story.)
Later, after I had created my own deodorant, I wore that same outfit again. And while the odor wasn’t as bad as before, it was still there. The clothing item in question is a very loosely woven jacket made of 100% polyester. That’s when I started wondering about the connection between body odor and artificial fabrics.
I also talked with a friend who reported that my deodorant had failed her on just one day. And when I asked, she said the shirt she had on was polyester. Since then we’ve both noticed this phenomenon. And based on my Google search, so have a lot of other people.
I found a number of articles on this topic and it clearly is a common enough phenomenon. This one article explains it nicely. Basically, all the articles point to the fact that the artificial fabrics actually worsen the situation. Sure, they “wick away” that moisture, but they provide an ideal environment for the odor-causing bacteria to grow.
Those synthetic fibers are designed with microscopic pores that pull sweat away from your body. The problem is that the sweat remains in the pores. With cotton, you may have the moisture next to your skin, but it actually dries faster rather than holding the moisture. This explains the primary reason why I prefer natural fabrics.
It’s worth noting that you can make the argument that it is no longer body odor since it resides solely within the fabric. So you could call it clothing odor? Or fabric odor?
Have you noticed a difference in odor based on the type of fabric you’re wearing?