The Cleanest Line

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    Post-Adventure Laundry, or De-Stinking Your Clothes

    Letone “The scent of these armpits is aroma finer than prayer.” – Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

    Stink. Funk. Putrescence. Miasmal malodorous mank. Each of us has our own finely tuned threshold for bad smells. But it’s safe to say this universal holds true: there comes a time when our clothes become smelly enough that we wish to disown them; or at least deny our culpability in making them reach such olfactorily offensive heights.

    Me, I stink extra bad. I’ve been accused of smuggling onion sandwiches around under my arms, or--to quote one friend--smelling “like a sweaty horse washed with garlic soap.” It may go without saying that I was pretty psyched when we finally launched our wool line, which you can check out here. But buying new clothes isn’t the answer to dealing with the fetid funk of your existing garments. For some tips on how to keep the stench of your current wardrobe at bay, read on:

    [Photo courtesy of Andrew McGarry]

    -    CLOTHING SMELL IS CAUSED BY BACTERIA. Body oils accumulate on synthetics more easily than on natural fibers. These body oils provide a welcome home to bacteria. These bacteria are what cause your clothes to smell.
    -    POLYESTER LOVES OIL, DIRT, AND DYESTUFFS. Regular light cleaning is the best way to avoid the build-up that plays host to odor-causing bacteria.
    -    WASH WITH DETERGENT, NOT SOAP. Detergent has been shown to rinse out more thoroughly than liquid soaps. Soap residue picks up dirt (causing an item with soap residue to become dirty more quickly). Soap+dirt creates a “Petri dish” of sorts for bacteria to find a home on clothing.
    -    DON’T USE FABRIC SOFTNER! Fabric softner adds additional bacteria-friendly residues to clothing, making them stink faster.
    -    DON’T THROW YOUR CLOTHES IN THE DRIER.  The odor-producing bacteria that live on synthetic fabrics are invigorated by heat. Machine drying adds extra heat, which helps re-activate those stinky little biota.  Air-drying will help ensure that your clean clothes stay odor-free longer.
    -    WASH WITH A LITTLE WHITE VINEGAR. A small amt. (approx. 1/3 cup) of white vinegar added occasionally to the wash will help neutralize built-up bacteria. Use this treatment sparingly, as regular use could cause clothing to take on a bit of vinegary smell.

    For more fabric care tips, check out our online Product Care tips.

    As a final note, we should point out that anti-stink technology is not very eco-friendly. We’re often asked why Capilene in particular gets stinky moreso than some of our competitors. The short answer is that we refuse to use environmentally costly anti-stink treatments such as silver (a common anti-stink treatment). We believe our new Gladiodor treatment is a step in the right direction. It’s an anti-stink treatment that comes from crab shells that would be otherwise-destined for the landfill.

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