Retention and release of odorants in cotton and polyester fabrics following multiple soil/wash procedures

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  • Odorous clothing can be an annoying and unpleasant problem particularly when odorants are not effectively removed via laundering. Cotton and polyester knit fabrics were soiled with three selected odorants, representing different polarities and lipophilicities (i.e. octanoic acid, 2-nonenal, dodecane). Fabrics were subjected to 1, 5 and 10 soil/wash cycles using a regular liquid detergent (Tide® Free and Gentle) or a sport liquid detergent (Tide® Plus Febreze Sport). Odorants released into the headspace were collected using solid phase micro-extraction (SPME), and odorants retained within the fabric were collected using solvent extraction. Analysis of odorant peaks was carried out using gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID). Prior to laundering, higher amounts of all odorants were released into the headspace above polyester fabrics than above cotton fabrics. Cotton fabrics retained more octanoic acid within the fabric and lower amounts of 2-nonenal than polyester. Laundering was more effective at removing odorants from cotton than from polyester, and the polar octanoic acid was more readily removed than the two nonpolar odorants from both fabrics. Accumulation of odorants occurred as soil/wash cycles increased from 1 to 5 cycles. However, between 5 and 10 soil/wash cycles the amounts of compounds did not significantly increase, with significantly lower amounts of octanoic acid extracted from cotton at 10 cycles compared to 5 cycles. The results from this study indicate that incomplete removal of odorants during washing, especially from oleophilic polyester fabrics, is a cause for odor build-up in clothing.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International