Odor in textiles: A review of evaluation methods, fabric characteristics, and odor control technologies

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  • During use, textile items can develop unpleasant odors that arise from many different sources, both internal and external to the human body. Laundering is not always effective at removing odors, with odor potentially building up over time, due to incomplete removal of soils and odorous compounds, and/or malodors transferred during the laundering process. Textile odor can lead to consumer dissatisfaction, particularly as there are high expectations that clothing and textile products meet multiple aesthetic and functional needs. The problem of odor in textiles is complex and multi-faceted, with odorous volatile compounds, microorganisms, and precursors to odor, such as sweat, being transferred to and retained by fabrics. This article reviews the literature that specifically relates to odor within textiles. Methods for evaluating odor in textiles, including methods for collecting odor on textile substrates, as well as sensory and instrumental methods of odor detection, were reviewed. Literature that examined differences among fabrics that varied by fabric properties were reviewed. As well, the effectiveness of specific odor controlling finishing technologies to control malodor within textiles was also examined.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International