The ONE Body Odor Problem That Is Always Overlooked

The ONE Body Odor Problem That Is Always Overlooked


This week, Mary decodes: Fabrics that can produce body odor.


With the holidays coming up, tis the season for parties! If you’re planning on dancing into the night, pick your party dress carefully as some fabrics will hold bacteria from your sweat. If you are going to be in a crowded room with plenty of cocktails, things could get a little warm, so a moist body covered in a fabric that does not breath is a magnet for bacteria!


The Research: The Clothing + Sweat Study


Sweating in Cotton vs Synthetic Fabrics

In a study conducted at Ghent University, the overall odor of different clothing was compared by researchers when 13 men and 13 women participated in an intense one-hour spinning class. They wore t-shirts made of either cotton, polyester, or a cotton-synthetic blend.

The Results

It was determined that synthetic clothing caused a significantly worse smell than cotton fabrics. The odor panel described the scent as, “more intense, more musty, more ammonia-like, and more sour.”


clothes hangar - fabrics that can produce body odor - photo by



What Happens When You Sweat While Wearing SYNTHETIC Fabrics:


Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic fabric made with no natural fibres.

The nutrients in natural fibres have the ability to adsorb sweat components, which means the sweat adheres to the surface of the fabric. Synthetic fibres traps sweat and bacteria in the spaces between the fibres. Therefore, synthetic fibres are not able to breakdown bacteria and this traps sweat and bacteria together inside the clothing, a combination that results in odor.


Adsorption vs. Absorption

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 You Should Wear Natural Fibres Instead

Opt for clothing made out of a natural fibres like cotton, bamboo, wool and linen. These fibres are able to adsorb moisture itself and don’t trap the smelly bacteria in the fabrics like synthetics do.

As natural fibres are much more breathable, both sweat and bacteria can evaporate easier from the fibres.


cotton fields - fabrics that can produce body odor - photo by



The Solution

If there’s a dress or shirt that will rock your holiday party but it’s synthetic? Not to worry! Try wearing a fitted 100% natural cotton t-shirt or bodysuit underneath to help absorb the sweat and bacteria.  You can also use a natural antibacterial soap and cleanse the 6 areas of your body that hides the most bacteria before heading to your party.


Have you experienced body odor issues from fabrics or certain pieces of clothing? We want to know! Please comment below.



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