Sunday, February 26, 2012

Men Sweat, Ladies Glisten

Contributed by Gene.

Do you remember leisure suits and double knit polyester pants?  Todays hiking clothes for next to skin wear are normally polyester.

Polyester for hiking took over from polypropylene .  The British Army used polypro base layers on Her Majesty’s forces in the Falkland War.  Since it was a plastic, it melted often compounding the soldiers’ injuries.

Polypro did not fall out of favor with hikers due to melting.  It was, to use the British colloquialism, the PONG factor.  Polypro was The Pro at retaining body odors.  It seems that after a while they could not be laundered fresh as a mountain breeze.  They’d stink soon as you put them on.

So polyester, still a form of plastic as it happens, took over.  Polyester does not retain odors nearly as badly. But, make no mistake, after many wearings during sweaty hikes, it to will lose it’s ability to come clean and fresh smelling

There are, of course, quite expensive athletic wash products with enzymes and such to combat this olfactory scourge on our sensibilities.  I spent an inordinate amount of time  on internet research and it was learned the common man or woman’s polyester anti-pong recommended stategey to be:

Wash early and often, in the hottest water the care label allows.  SHOUT and other pretreatments are generally okay and can be rubbed in with the fingertips, but don’t allow pretreatments to stay on the garment longer than five minutes, according to the instructions on the container, or unspecified disaster with result.

We’ve tried various techniques to get rid of the stink including soaking in a bleach solution.  Once over the line, it’s hard to retrieve.  My favorite strategy is to buy cheap poly garments to begin with.  No $40 shirts for me.  When they stink irrevocably, replace them with new, cheap hiking clothes.  Sooo, my blue shirt got to stinky and now I have a new red one--$5 at Marshell's.
Looks great with my orange hat, don't ya think?
That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Wow! That was funny! Way more information than I thought I would ever know about stinky clothes. I just use cotton, but then I guess I just glisten! :)

  2. Target often has good deals on those t-shirts, too.

  3. great laundry lesson!..those hiking clothes kind of remind me of a hockey bag filled with really stinky hockey pads!..eww!!

  4. I've found adding 20-Mule team Borax to the wash will help keep them fresher longer; but you are correct we are in a losing battle with these items.

  5. Unfortunately, I do remember leisure suits and polyester pants. Yeegadds, they seem awful now!

  6. Your colors may not match, but at least you smell as fresh as a daisy!!!