The Pink Elephant Lady
How the type of fabric you wear impacts B.O.
What's that smell?? Is it your shirt? Maybe.
Synthetic fabrics hold more stench-producing bacteria than their natural fabric counterparts. Synthetic fabrics are constructed of man-made fibers rather than natural fibers. Polyester and nylon are examples of synthetic fabrics; cotton and wool are examples of natural fabrics. Synthetic fabrics tend to trap odors more than natural fabrics. While synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from the skin and dry quickly, the way these fabrics are constructed can leave you ripe! As sweat collects in the nooks and crannies of the fabric on its way to freedom, it is devoured by bacteria that have made themselves at home in the same recesses. This traps body odor within the fabric. This is why specialized work out gear can be so hard to de-stink.
Some synthetic fabrics have added antimicrobial ingredients, such as silver nanoparticles. Some fabrics are even infused with molecules of volanic ash! The ash molecules act as an odor-inhibiting agent. So, unless your synthetic fabric has these improvements, it could be a culprit in your B.O.
Furthermore, there is growing concern over the impact of synthetic microfibers on the environment, especially marine life (yes, here is yet another thing you should worry about). Check it out here:
What you want to look for are fabrics that are considered “breathable.” By definition, breathable fabrics are those that are composed of fibers able to transport moisture from one side to the other. So, as the body sweats, the fabrics allow the moisture to move outside the garment. In essence, the fabric breathes. 100% cotton, pima cotton, seersucker, linen, 100% wool, merino, and cashmere are all good choices, depending on the season. When purchasing a sweater, unless you want to be hot and miserable, read the label and steer clear of nylon, rayon, and polyester, and instead opt for cotton. Cashmere, merino, and 100% are also better options than synthetics.
There are, however, some natural fabrics that area a bad idea for people who sweat a lot. Corduroy and flannel don't "breathe" very well, and silk, while considered breathable, can't withstand excessive moisture (bad news for people who sweat a lot; you'd be wringing out your shirt all day!)
So, when thinking about switching from a conventional to a more natural deodorant, be sure to think about fabrics, too!