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Investigating odour management in textiles

Perspiration is an unavoidable part of many sporting, working and everyday situations.

28th July 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Bönnigheim

Clothing/​Footwear, Medical/Hygiene

Hohenstein Institute has put together consumer guidelines with behaviour and protection measures, as well as recommendations for clothing that also take physiological findings from “body mapping” into account.

There is also the question of whether textiles convince consumers in terms of safety (skin compatibility) and performance (odour management). Hohenstein has been investigating questions regarding clothing that is worn close to the body: How skin-friendly are the textiles? And: To what extent do the textiles reduce sweat odour?

Test series

Certified test series offer textile manufacturers the opportunity to test the skin compatibility and odour management of textiles from the development phase onwards. The skin compatibility test uses laboratory conditions to test live cells and record adverse effects of toxins that could be released from the sample material by sweat. The method allows evaluation of the danger that could be posed by damage to the skin cells.

The test is particularly suitable for: body-contact clothing, e.g. sports clothing, underwear, fitness and functional textiles; textiles for sensitive persons such as those with allergies, small children, invalids and elderly persons; and reclaimed textiles.

Trusted advertising

If this test is passed in conjunction with the Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex product test, the textile is awarded the Hohenstein Quality Label “Skin Friendly”. Textile manufacturers receive an established label that can be used effectively for supporting advertising and attests to independent checks and trade safety for the consumer.

To what extent do modern textiles reduce sweat odour?

When a person starts to perspire, this leads to the production of sweat to eliminate excess heat and regulate the body’s temperature. Textile manufacturers are working on optimising the performance of their products. As sweat is diffused through the textile, the interaction of bacteria, fluid transport and the adherence and release of odour molecules all affect the level of sweat odour in the textile. All of these areas must be taken into account to achieve optimum results in odour management.

“As the only institute able to investigate all of these aspects, Hohenstein provides a three-stage check procedure to determine the reduction properties for sweat odour,” the institute explains.

  • How well, or how poorly, do odour-producing dermal germs multiply on the textile, measured during an application period of four hours, to get results as close to reality as possible?
  • What percentage of sweat odour molecules adhere to the textile and therefore cannot be smelled?
  • How strongly does the textile actually smell of sweat? In this practical experiment, test subjects wear sample textiles, which are then evaluated for the strength of sweat odour by odour testers.

Labelled “All Day Fresh”

“The test procedure described above allows Hohenstein to thoroughly investigate the topic of odour management in textiles. This involves testing materials in conditions that mirror reality, and the results help textile manufacturers to optimise their products,” the institute says.

Products that can prove their contribution to reducing sweat odour are awarded the Hohenstein Quality Label “All Day Fresh”.

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