This Is Why Gym Clothes Smell SO Bad — Even After You Wash Them

This Is Why Gym Clothes Smell SO Bad — Even After You Wash Them

 

This week, Mary decodes: Workout fabric.

 

Are you extra smelly after a workout? It might not actually be you. Your GYM CLOTHES could be the culprit.  

Over the past year, I’ve been trying to maintain a weekly intense workout session and hot yoga class and that’s when I started to notice that my clothes would reek ALL THE TIME! I’m not sure how many times I’ve had to rewash my leggings and t-shirts. They seem to smell like ammonia no matter how many times they go through the wash. After some research and investigation, I know why:

 

decoding why gym clothes smell - kaia naturals

PHOTO BY LULULEMON.

 

BACTERIA GROWS ON DIFFERENT FABRICS

In a research study conducted at Ghent University, the overall odor of different clothing from a focus group was compared after an intense one-hour spinning class. They wore t-shirts made of either cotton, polyester, or a cotton-synthetic blend. The T-shirts were collected, sealed in plastic bags, and stored at room temperature in the dark, so bacterial growth occurred.

Results from an odor panel determined that the polyester clothing smelled SIGNIFICANTLY LESS PLEASANT. It was described as more intense, musty, strong and sour.  I can’t even imagine having to be on that odor panel smelling these sweaty, musty clothes!

So the study then analysed the bacterial composition of each fabric and what they discovered was the following.

All of the shirts grew several types of bacteria, but it was found that Micrococcus (a type of odor-causing bacteria) grew on:

  • 100% of the synthetic t-shirts worn in the study
  • 82% of the cotton-synthetic blend t-shirts worn in the study
  • 0% on the cotton t-shirts worn in the study.

It was even found that that stinky Micrococci bacteria grows better on synthetic fabrics than on your underarms! This explains why gym clothes seem to smell even worse than when our bodies sweat.

 

decoding why gym clothes smell - kaia naturals

PHOTO BY FITENSITY.

 

WHAT WORKOUT CLOTHES ACTUALLY DO:

“Moisture-wicking” or “Sweat Technology” often comes to mind when we think of workout clothes. I know I definitely look for that, because who wants to feel like a sweaty mess when working out. It’s hard enough to get yourself to the gym!

However, what you may not know is “moisture-wicking” basically means the clothing is made out of synthetic fabric like polyester, designed to keep you dry while you workout.

Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic fiber and doesn’t have any natural properties which means it has very poor ADSORBING capacity. While your sweating, the moisture would evaporate THROUGH the fibres of your clothing instead of adsorbing INTO the fibres.

 

Adsorbing vs Absorbing

Adsorption = the process in which liquids from a substance adhere to a surface of the adsorbent.

Absorption = the process in which a fluid is dissolved by a liquid or a solid.

 

WHY DOES IT SMELL SO BAD?

Even though “moisture-wicking” means that fitness clothes will dry faster, the problem is bacteria from your sweat gets trapped IN BETWEEN the fibres as it passes through the garment.  

The bacteria that becomes trapped in between the fibres will create a pungent odor, we often smell in our gym bags and clothes. I think I just lost my appetite thinking about it!

 

Bacteria + Sweat = Odor

 

The more you wear the garment and sweat in it, the more bacteria and odor that will become trapped, making it even more difficult to wash out.

 

decoding why gym clothes smell - kaia naturals

PHOTO BY AMBER MARTIN.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD WEAR INSTEAD

Cotton is a natural fiber (originating from the Gossypium cotton plant) almost entirely made up of cellulose, which gives it the ability to adsorb sweat and odor RIGHT INTO the fibres. This avoids bacteria becoming trapped in between the fibres and allows for better removal from the fibres when washed.

The weird part is, depending on whether you wear synthetic fabric or cotton, your workout clothes will end up smelling differently by the time they make it to the laundry hamper.

 

decoding why gym clothes smell - kaia naturals

PHOTO BY NIKE.

 

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

If stinky gym clothes are making your whole closet smell, don’t leave them sitting for a week before they make it into the wash. Bacteria LOVES a dark, cozy place like a gym bag or laundry hamper to grow even more bacteria.

 

  • Try hanging your clothes up to dry instead of throwing them damp directly in the hamper.
  • Wash your clothes immediately after you workout if you can.
  • Swap out your synthetic garments for cotton alternatives.
  • Use a sport laundry detergent designed for this type of bacteria.

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What *Really* Happens When You Switch To Natural Deodorant

What *Really* Happens When You Switch To Natural Deodorant

 

This week, Mary decodes: The stages of detox.

I cannot count how many times people have told me, “Mary, natural deodorant just doesn’t work for me.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that your body goes through a detox phase when you swap out aluminum-laden antiperspirant for a natural deodorant. The truth is, your natural deodorant isn’t making you smell worse – the bacterial communities under your arms are changing and it doesn’t happen overnight! It can take up to 30 days for your body to fully detox from aluminum.

 

What To Expect When Switching To Natural Deodorant

A 2 to 4 week transition period can be expected when transitioning from antiperspirant to natural deodorant. Each stage of the detox may vary depending on your body chemistry.

 

stages of detox

 

WEEK 1

Antiperspirant is classified as an over-the-counter drug in both Canada and the U.S. If you have been using antiperspirant since you were a preteen, your body will definitely be dependent on it.

  • You may go a couple of days or even a week without noticing much difference between your antiperspirant and natural deodorant.
  • This is due to the fact that the aluminum compounds in antiperspirant form a gel-like plug and constrict your pores in the underarm.  This prevents you from sweating and getting wet.

 

WEEK 2

  • When you stop using antiperspirant you will experience a substantial increase in growth of odor-causing bacteria in the underarm area.
  • You may also feel additional moisture because your body is sweating, which is the body’s natural way to flush out toxins.

At the end of the study conducted at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab,  it was found that there was an initial increase of smelly bacteria (Corynebacteria) in the underarms of antiperspirant users when they stopped using it. Deodorant users did not experience the same increase in odor-causing bacteria when they stopped using underarm products. They even had fewer species of bacteria in their armpits compared to armpits of participants who use no product at all.   It is important to know that this odor-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of the detox that happens when you discontinue use.

 

underarms-by-Alexandra Nataf-for-unconditionalmag-cropped
PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA NATAF.

WEEK 3

  • Bacteria levels may begin to subside. The culture of bacteria is able to re-balance and stop over-producing odor-causing bacteria. What this means is that you will likely notice any odor issues starting to decrease.
  • Underarm moisture levels will also normalize. It will take some time to get used to sweating under your arms,  (powder in natural deodorant can help absorb that moisture) natural fibres like cotton, bamboo and linen are your new best friends. As natural fibres are much more breathable, both sweat and bacteria can evaporate easier from the fibres.

 

WEEK 4

  • Your body should have fully adjusted to natural deodorant. It can take up to 30 days for your body to regulate itself, though for some people the detox stage is shorter. You can now continue using natural deodorant every day to neutralize the smell of daily body odor.

 

underarms-by-Alexandra Nataf-for-mateauswimwear-cropped

PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA NATAF.

 

For some people, the stages of detox may seem too scary to embark on, but it is so worth it when you realize that then for the rest of your life, you will have the security of knowing you are making a healthier life choice every single day. Thankfully, there are also a few things you can do to to help you get through the detox.

 

PHOTO BY NEAVE BOZORGI.

 

Tips to Help You Get Through the Detox

1. Eliminate odor-causing bacteria in the shower with a natural antibacterial soap. Sweat + bacteria = odor. If you remove the extra bacteria that your body temporarily develops during the detox, it will significantly improve issues with feeling stinky.

2. Carry a travel-sized deodorant with you on the go to freshen up throughout the day while you detox.

3. Take hot baths to help open your pores and encourage sweating to help to flush out toxins.

4. Apply a natural starch powder, such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch, to the underarms after applying your deodorant. The starch will help absorb some of the excess moisture you may experience as your body flushes out all of the toxins trapped inside.

 

Have you switched to natural deodorant already or have tried to? What was your detox experience like? We want to know! Please leave your comments below.

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At kaia naturals, the charcoal detox deodorants are 99% natural, aluminum-free and cruelty-free. Give them a try and USE CODE: TAKESUMI for 15% off your first order.

(Offer valid for new customers only; limit one per customer. Can’t be combined with other offers.)

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This Everyday Product Is Actually A Drug

This Everyday Product Is Actually A Drug

 

This week, Mary decodes: Aluminum compounds in antiperspirant.

 

Did you know? Antiperspirant is classified as an over-the-counter drug in both Canada and the U.S. Most of us grew up being told to start using antiperspirant at a young age to prevent body odor, but if our teachers and parents were aware that the product was classified as a drug, I am not so sure they would have been quick to suggest it.

 

antiperspirant in retail - by castig.org

PHOTO BY CASTIG.ORG.

 

What Is Aluminum Chloride?

Aluminum is a heavy metal that most of us are exposed to on a daily basis. It is a naturally occurring element from the earth and is used in the manufacturing of paints, cars, propellant, fuel additives, over the counter medications (like antacids), soda cans, aluminum foil, and antiperspirants.

Aluminum chloride compounds, such as aluminum chlorohydrates and aluminiumzirconium tetrachlorohydrex are the most effective antiperspirant agents you’ll find in conventional antiperspirants today.

 

PHOTO BY MARIE CLAIRE AUSTRALIA.

 

How Does It Work?

Aluminum compounds in antiperspirants combine with sweat to form a gel-like plug, which prevents and constricts the sweat gland duct to perspire.

This is what keeps your underarms dry.

While this may sound like a good thing, preventing your body from sweating traps toxins in your body. Sweating also play a vital role in regulating your body’s temperature.

 

Long-term Use Effects

Long-term usage of antiperspirant actually creates more bacteria on your armpits once you stop using them, causing increased breakthrough odor in the beginning.

Long-term usage has also shown to form increased levels of aluminum compounds in the body, known as “body burden”. The body burden of aluminum in humans is similar to how fish become laden with mercury over time.

There is a reason why antiperspirants are classified as an over-the-counter drug — your body becomes dependent on it!

 

Why Should I Be Worried?

Unfortunately, aluminum compounds have been found to be able migrate into your bloodstream, as confirmed by blood tests. Women who shave their underarms then apply antiperspirant are more at risk for aluminum compounds to enter the body. Shaving creates micro-abrasions, causing pores to be more susceptible to absorption of chemicals.  

Over the past decade, the FDA issued warnings on antiperspirant labels for individuals with weakened kidneys to be aware. You’ll often find the warning that reads, “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.”

 

PHOTO BY NUTRITIONFACTS.ORG.

 

Remember, what you put ON your body is as important as what you put IN your body.

 

Why is Aluminum In Antiperspirant So Controversial?

The topic of aluminum in cosmetic products is a controversial one. While there are little scientific evidence that links antiperspirants to breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, these chemicals are still being applied directly on the skin every day. The long-term health effects from the body burden of aluminum are essentially unknown. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of a harmful effect.

In my opinion, why run the risk? It is always better to practice PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE.  It is up to you as a consumer to make the decision if this is a risk to your health.

If you are an antiperspirant user making the switch to natural deodorant, it is important to know that this odor-causing bacteria won’t last forever, it is just a part of The Stages of Detox that happens when you discontinue use. This is one easy lifestyle change you won’t regret making.

 


 

At kaia naturals, our charcoal detox deodorants are 99% natural, aluminum-free and cruelty-free. If you want to give ours a try, USE CODE: TAKESUMI for 15% off your first order.

(Offer valid for new customers only; limit one per customer. Can’t be combined with other offers.)

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