Textile materials are ubiquitous in our surroundings. In the private sphere, this primarily includes fabrics for clothing, furniture and other home applications. There is a high consumer demand on the performance of such materials, especially in clothing. Wearable textiles should theoretically impart a positive feeling upon the wearer, particularly in the way it feels against skin.
Working against the positive aspects of fabrics is the fact that they easily adsorb odors and release them slowly. Unfortunately, this mainly happens with unpleasant odors. After visiting a pub, for instance, one may notice the smell of cigarette smoke released from his or her clothing. In this same way, curtains, upholstered car seats and other textiles are able to store unpleasant odors for long periods of time. Most commonly, airing or cleaning of these textiles removes “bad” odors. Spraying the material with fragrances can mask “off” odors for some time, but this strategy is ultimately ineffective.
The microbiological decomposition of the organic substances contained in perspiration is responsible for the development of malodor of sweated sportswear or leisurewear. The same process for the formation of body odor takes place in all textiles upon physical contact with flesh; only the amount of odor substances formed is different. To take hide the smell of body odor, many people spray the affected textile with perfumed products before (or after) use, or employ antiperspirants. Because the components of perfumes are volatile, nearly all the fragrances applied to fabrics fade away fairly quickly. This process is accelerated by the body heat.