The Activewear Challenge

Meeting Future-Fit Hygiene Needs

Activewear has never been more popular with consumers – but even after repeated washes garments can still smell. Finding a solution to ‘Permastink’ is one of the biggest challenges facing the laundry detergent industry according to Corey Naab, Market Segment Leader at IFF.

Science of Smell

Consumers are buying more sportswear than ever before, with the market growing at over 6% every year, according to Allied Market Research. By 2024, the global sportwear industry is expected to be worth $546bn. That equates to a lot of clothes – and a lot of laundry.

There’s no single solution that’s good for all forms of bacteria and all types of fabrics.

But consumers are aware that current detergents are failing to effectively remove persistent activewear odors. The positive wicking properties of microfibers are the cause of the problem, making it difficult for the water – and more importantly the detergent –to penetrate the fabric during the wash cycle.

“The result is clothes that are presumed to be clean develop a smell as soon as there is any sort of moisture,” says Corey Naab, Market Segment Leader at IFF.

Sensory Benefits

Conventional detergents mainly target surface stains, with powerful enzymes tackling food, oil and grease stains. but new solutions are needed to match that performance in odor removal.

Finding a Solution

The challenge is getting ‘inside’ the fibers, developing ingredients with the ability to wet these water-repellent surfaces. The wicking benefits of synthetic fibers make it more difficult to remove sweat and bacteria.

No Compromises

Consumers want their clothes to smell better – but this can’t compromise any of the other benefits of laundry, Naab says. “We want our customers to experience all of the sensory benefits of laundry. It’s about re-imagining clean and delivering total performance.”

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