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Axillary odour build-up in knit fabrics following multiple use cycles

Rachel H. McQueen (Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
James J. Harynuk (Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Wendy V. Wismer (Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Monika Keelan (Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Yin Xu (Department of Human Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
A. Paulina de la Mata (Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology

ISSN: 0955-6222

Article publication date: 29 July 2014

547

Abstract

Purpose

Fibre content can influence the intensity of odour that develops within clothing fabrics. However, little is known about how effective laundering is at removing malodours in clothing which differ by fibre type. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether a selected cotton fabric differed in odour intensity following multiple wear and wash cycles compared to a polyester fabric.

Design/methodology/approach

Eight (male and female) participants wore bisymmetrical cotton/polyester t-shirts during 20 exercise sessions over a ten-week trial period. Odour was evaluated via a sensory panel, bacterial populations were counted and selected odorous volatile organic compounds were measured with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography and time-of-flight mass spectrometry detection. Analysis occurred both before and after the final (20th) wash cycle.

Findings

Findings showed that laundering was effective in reducing overall odour intensity (p0.001) and bacterial populations (p0.001) in both cotton and polyester fabrics. Odour was most intense on polyester fabrics following wear, not just before, but also after washing (p0.001); although, no differences in bacterial counts were found between fibre types (p>0.05). Chemical analysis found C4-C8 chained carboxylic acids on both types of unwashed fabrics, although they were more prevalent on polyester.

Originality/value

The findings suggest that the build-up of odour in polyester fabrics may be cumulative as important odorants such as the carboxylic acids were not as effectively removed from polyester compared to cotton.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Megan Burlet, Shyue Shyang Ng, Sylvia van Keulen and Rocio Togni for assistance with the experimental work; as well as all participants who partook in the research study. The authors also thank Cotton Incorporated for the financial support in order to conduct this study. The authors also acknowledge the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Leco Canada and the Government of Alberta for funding the Pegasus 4D system, as well as Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures for financial support in J.J. Harynuk's Laboratory.

Citation

H. McQueen, R., J. Harynuk, J., V. Wismer, W., Keelan, M., Xu, Y. and Paulina de la Mata, A. (2014), "Axillary odour build-up in knit fabrics following multiple use cycles", International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, Vol. 26 No. 4, pp. 274-290. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCST-05-2013-0064

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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