While the reason behind the “distinct” aroma isn’t the most surprising thing in the world, it also isn’t something you think about when you’re buying the clothing. The truth is, these places and clothes smell so funky because of human fluids. That’s right, what you’re smelling when picking up that old top is years and years of sweat, urine and insensible water loss that have amalgamated to make that famous pong.
Simon Harrop, founder of Aromaco, a company who specialise in creating aromas for businesses, says that the clothing is reflective of “the body odours of those that wore them, including insensible water loss”.
“The average human loses about one litre of water per day through the skin and respiration. This is on top of any other water loss through sweat and urine. Much of this moisture will find its way onto our clothes.”
So, now we know that we’re essentially wearing other people’s sweat, what do we do to get rid of that smell? Jolie Kerr, a cleaning expert has a few tips for us.
“In the case of garments that are launderable, the solution to the problem is a pretty easy one: Wash the thing. Maybe add in a half cup of an odor eliminating laundry booster like white vinegar, Borax, or baking soda if the smell is especially pronounced.”