Why Do Polyester Clothes Get So Stinky? | Textile science 101

Take me directly to the video on YouTube instead!

Do you ever have that problem where a question just worms its way into your brain and won’t let go? Because same.

I hope I am not the only one who got really curious about the answer to this question. 😅

Are you sure you want smell-o-vision for your entertainment? 💀


  • (1) Rachel H. McQueen. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rachel-Mcqueen-4 (accessed 2023-03-14).
  • (2) Withey, E. Passing the smell test. https://www.ualberta.ca/folio/2016/03/passing-the-smell-test.html (accessed 2023-03-14).
  • (3) Apocrine Sweat Gland – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/apocrine-sweat-gland (accessed 2023-03-20).
  • (4) Eccrine Gland – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/eccrine-gland (accessed 2023-03-20).
  • (5) Polyester clothes stink after exercise; cotton, not so much. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903163635.htm (accessed 2023-03-14).
  • (6) Press, R. Masks Under the Microscope. NIST 2021. https://www.nist.gov/feature-stories/masks-under-microscope
  • (7) Rayon – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/materials-science/rayon (accessed 2023-03-13).
  • (8) Rathinamoorthy, R.; Thilagavathi, G.; Brindha, S.; Gayathri, P.; Poornakala, N.; Pradeep, B. Odour Control Studies on Apparel Fabrics Finished with Methanol Extract of Terminalia Chebula. Fibers Polym. 2014, 15, 1669–1676. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12221-014-1669-7.
  • (9) Here’s why gym clothes smell so rank—and how to freshen them up. Popular Science. https://www.popsci.com/smelly-gym-clothes/ (accessed 2023-03-14).
  • (10) Providers, P. C. J. C. English:  This SEM Shows a Strain of Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteria Taken from a Vancomycin Intermediate Resistant Culture (VISA). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Staphylococcus_aureus_01.jpg (accessed 2023-03-23).
  • (11) Staphylococcus – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/staphylococcus (accessed 2023-03-23).
  • (12) Journal, I. F. Student Spotlight: Morphological structure of wool from different breeds. International Fiber Journal. https://www.fiberjournal.com/morphological-structure-of-wool-from-different-breeds/ (accessed 2023-03-23).
  • (13) McQueen, R.; Laing, R.; Delahunty, C.; Brooks, H.; Niven, B. E. Retention of Axillary Odour on Apparel Fabrics. J. Text. Inst. 2008, 99, 515–523. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405000701659774.
  • (14) Greenblatt, C.; Baum, J.; Klein, B.; Nachshon, S.; Koltunov, V.; Cano, R. Micrococcus Luteus – Survival in Amber. Microb. Ecol. 2004, 48, 120–127. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-003-2016-5.
  • (15) Micrococcus – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/micrococcus (accessed 2023-03-23).
  • (16) Callewaert, C.; De Maeseneire, E.; Kerckhof, F.-M.; Verliefde, A.; Van de Wiele, T.; Boon, N. Microbial Odor Profile of Polyester and Cotton Clothes after a Fitness Session. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 2014, 80 (21), 6611–6619. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01422-14.
  • (17) Abdul-Bari, M.; McQueen, R.; Nguyen, H.; Wismer, W.; de la Mata, A. P.; Harynuk, J. Synthetic Clothing and the Problem With Odor: Comparison of Nylon and Polyester Fabrics. Cloth. Text. Res. J. 2018, 36, 0887302X1877209. https://doi.org/10.1177/0887302X18772099.
  • (18) Mukhtar Abdul-Bari, M.; McQueen, R. H.; Paulina de la Mata, A.; Batcheller, J. C.; Harynuk, J. J. Retention and Release of Odorants in Cotton and Polyester Fabrics Following Multiple Soil/Wash Procedures. Text. Res. J. 2020, 90 (19–20), 2212–2222. https://doi.org/10.1177/0040517520914411.
  • (19) McQueen, R.; Moran, L.; Cunningham, C.; Hooper, P. Exploring the Connection between Odour and Clothing Disposal. J. Text. Inst. 2020, 112, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405000.2020.1848114.
  • (20) McQueen, R.; Kowton, J.; Degenstein, L. More than Just Appearance: Management of Clothing-Related Odor in Everyday Life. Fash. Pract. 2022, 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/17569370.2022.2062830.
  • (21) Prestinaci, F.; Pezzotti, P.; Pantosti, A. Antimicrobial Resistance: A Global Multifaceted Phenomenon. Pathog. Glob. Health 2015, 109 (7), 309–318. https://doi.org/10.1179/2047773215Y.0000000030.
  • (22) Mehboob, R. Antibiotic Resistance: An Upcoming Pandemic. Pak. J. Health Sci. 2022, 01. https://doi.org/10.54393/pjhs.v3i06.379.(23) Chin, K.; Michelle, T.; Luang-In, V.; Ma, N. L. An Overview of Antibiotic and Antibiotic Resistance. Environ. Adv. 2022, 11, 100331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envadv.2022.100331.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for a specific post? Search or check the archive.

Latest videos:

  • The As-You-Like-It Shawl
    The As-You-Like-It Shawl

    An attempt at a pattern. The As-You-Like-It shawl is a build your own adventure shawl. Where we follow a few basic rules, but end up with wildly different shawls based on the choices we make on the way. Choose between picking one pattern block and doing the whole shawl like that. Jumping between two different…

  • Never Underestimate Textile Crafts Again!
    Never Underestimate Textile Crafts Again!

    Watch it directly on YouTube! (and maybe leave a comment?) I had entirely too much fun scripting this one. I hope you have fun watching it too! Wordplays, idioms and etymology are just endlessly fascinating! Especially when it is related to textiles and textile history. Thank you again to @JillianEve for sending me some footage…

  • Making a Simple Daily Wear Blouse Feat. Smocking
    Making a Simple Daily Wear Blouse Feat. Smocking

    Link to video. Keeping some projects small and manageable, just before we head into the more cosy autumn, spooky season. It doesn’t hurt that I finally got to use this glorious fabric that has lived in my stash for years either. Projects don’t all have to be big and ambitious or even symmetrical. You can…