While sweat is mandatory with every workout, it doesn’t have to stink out your gym bag, washing basket or, worse, your fave after-gym breakfast spot.
Unfortunately, that pungent B.O tends to linger as it sticks to the fibres and saturates them over the clothes’ lifespan, eventually rendering them unwearable.
Natural vs synthetic
Monica Ebert from athleisure brand Core Merino says that natural fibres like wool and cotton absorb moisture, including the compounds produced by bacteria, which get trapped inside the fibres.
Synthetic fibres on the other hand, do not absorb moisture which means the smell is that much more prevalent.
“Perspiration doesn’t necessarily have an odour, but when we sweat the bacteria that resides on our skin feeds on it in places like the groin and under the arms, which results in the smell,” says Ebert.
Pull the wool over the problem
Ebert says that wool is an unknown solution to this problem. “Wool is soft, it doesn’t itch, it retains warmth when wet, is natural and breathable and doesn’t smell, even after a very sweaty workout.”
Wool needs less washing due to its natural odour- and stain-resistant properties and can easily refresh itself by being hung in the fresh air. Hanging out an outfit overnight means that it’s odour free and ready-to-wear again the next morning.
Having to wash wool garments less often reduces environmental impacts by saving water, washing detergents and energy.
A durable fibre
In addition, wool garments last longer than others due to the quality and strength of the fibre. Research has shown that the average wool t-shirt lasts 6 years compared to 3.8 years of a comparable cotton t-shirt.
“As a lifestyle and exercise fibre, wool offers many benefits that can’t be matched with other synthetic fabrics – but remaining stench-free is a definite motivator for regular exercisers,” says Ebert.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.