Stinky flower
August 25, 2010 1:05 PM   Subscribe

SmellFilter: How can I wear stuff that is a cotton/poly blend without getting armpit stink? Or is it only me who can smell it?

I have some dresses and shirts that are dressy that I freaking love. But if i wear them, i inevitably end up with armpit smell.

but can others smell it? i don't think it's very strong.

i normally use the arm&hammer or adidas cottontech deodorant, i do not use antiperspirants and haven't for years.

is there a way i can minimize the smell? or a different deodorant to try?

most nice women's dress clothes are cotton/poly blends so i'm finding hard to both dress in a way i want and not have a bit of smell.
posted by sio42 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Spray the armpits of the clothes with the liquid crystal deodorant found in health food stores. You can do this as stuff comes out of the dryer and it's all ready to go when you want to wear it.
posted by corey flood at 1:10 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

omg that's an amazing idea!

you've done this? it works?
posted by sio42 at 1:12 PM on August 25, 2010

I don't use antiperspirant either and have the same problem. I've tried a variation of what corey flood recommends in that I just run my usual deodorant over the inside of the armpit area of the clothes, as well as on my actual armpit. I can't tell if it's really doing anything, however, because by mid-afternoon...unpleasant, smelly things have happened. It really irks me! Hopefully someone here will come along with a magical solution.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 1:28 PM on August 25, 2010

I'd love to see a solution to this one, too. I keep meaning to order some dress shields from Vermont Country Store - kind of like a pantiliner for the armpit? - but, as I am not 90, have been vaguely ashamed to do so.
posted by julthumbscrew at 1:37 PM on August 25, 2010

Oh, and for what it's worth, I use Tom's of Maine (calendula) and Alba Clear Enzyme (tea tree) somewhat interchangeably, and it seems* that the Alba works a little better. It goes on drier for one thing. That seems to help.

*No scientifically rigorous experiments were harmed in the making of this statement.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 1:39 PM on August 25, 2010

I have a friend who uses no deodorant or anti-perspirant. She says that sweat smells after it dries, so whenever she goes to the bathroom she wipes her armpits down with alcohol to clean them and then applies the fragrant medicinal oil of her choice. So on hot/humid days, she has to do this 4 or 6 times a day, but it seems to work -- I knew her for years and always commented on how good she smelled before I learned of her secret.

Also, you can look into special laundry Sports Wash to get the smell out of the plastic/poly blend clothes.
posted by MeiraV at 1:40 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dress shields really do work! It's what people did before the invention of ant-persperant. In fact, you can combine them with the crystal deoderant spray and really be protected.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 2:10 PM on August 25, 2010

I didn't use deodorant at all for awhile because I couldn't find one I didn't have an allergic reaction to. I could smell myself by the late afternoon of most days, and couldn't wear a shirt two days in a row, but my partner said (multiple times because I asked him multiple times) that he couldn't smell me unless he was cuddled right up under my arm.
posted by not that girl at 2:16 PM on August 25, 2010

Are these dresses and shirts that you've worn a lot? Or is the stinky smell a problem on all your clothes, even ones that you've recently purchased? The reason I ask is because some fabrics has a tendency to absorb bad odors. Over time my t-shirts, especially the ones with polyester, get stinky in the pit area. Even when I launder them, the smell reappears on the fabric after about an hour of wear, even if I'm freshly showered and my actual pits don't smell. There's just something about polyester that holds onto B.O. like that.

I've found that pre-soaking the fabric in a mixture of borax and water works wonders. You don't need to do it with every laundry cycle, just when the fabric starts to smell when it shouldn't.
posted by Ortho at 2:21 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

This happens to some of my shirts too. I second the borax pre-soak idea. Also, I never, ever put them in the dryer, because it seems as though the heat reactivates the stink. (Same goes for my husband's gym shorts, aka "the asspants.")

Also, I find if I hang them up when I'm done wearing them and spritz them with Febreeze and let them air out before putting them back in the drawer/closet, this helps too.
posted by cowboy_sally at 2:28 PM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, I've done the crystal-deodorant-on-the-shirt trick and it absolutely works. Note, though, that it will only work as a preventative. If your clothes have already picked up a smell it won't address that.
posted by corey flood at 2:41 PM on August 25, 2010

FWIW, a friend of mine who worked in a hippy grocery store said that people who bought crystal deoderants invariably (1) showed incredible enthusiasm about the product and (2) smelled terrible. I've never tried them myself though, and it doesn't hurt to try.
posted by Michael M. Tripp at 4:07 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I should clarify that using the crystal on your clothes will not work if it's your sole source of stink-control. Mine worked in conjunction with antiperspirant.

And definitely use the liquid. You need to make the fabric actually look wet. (It's fine if it dries before you wear it.) I don't think you get enough on there by rubbing a solid crystal on it.
posted by corey flood at 4:14 PM on August 25, 2010

this is all very interesting.

a) glad it's not just me
b) it's on new stuff as well. Plain otton gets little to no smell. The smell on poly isn't awful awful but I notice it.
c)will purchase liquid crystal and spray on clothing

I will report back once I've experimented enough.
posted by sio42 at 7:32 PM on August 25, 2010

Dress shields really are great. They also hide wet pit stains. I prefer the sew-in ones to the stick-on ones; sew them in by hand with a few stitches at the corners and ends, or use teeny safety pins. They can go through the wash but not the dryer or drycleaner's- heat or chemicals will make the plastic part get all wrinkly and deformed.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 7:56 PM on August 25, 2010

Haven't they decided that antiperspirants are safe? Even those containing aluminum? I thought both the connection to Alzheimer's and breast cancer have been de-bunked.
posted by Carbolic at 9:13 PM on August 25, 2010

i've noticed that when i use antiperspirants, i actually end up smelling worse and sweating more over time.

since i've stopped use the antip's my BO is less BO-y
posted by sio42 at 5:21 AM on August 26, 2010

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