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Cotton or Polyester? What Type of Shirt You Should Be Wearing to the Gym If You Want Your Laundry to Smell Less

"Afraid of what people might think of their smell."

Does your laundry bin smell particularly bad the day after you tossed your workout clothes into it. A new study found that it's not just your own stench that's to blame but the type of shirt your chose to wear could play a role as well.

Your gym clothes might smell particularly bad if you've been wearing more polyester than cotton, a new study found. (Photo credit: Shutterstock) Your gym clothes might smell particularly bad if you've been wearing more polyester than cotton, a new study found. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

A study published in the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology details how scientists found polyester clothes will smell worse than cotton because that fabric seems to allow odor-causing bacteria to grow better.

"The micrococci are able to grow better on polyester," Chris Callewaert with Ghent University in Belgium said in a statement.

The scientists collected the shirts of 26 people after they spent an hour in a spinning class. The shirts were incubated for 28 hours and then analyzed for odor and microbial life.

While Callewaert, who runs the website Dr. Armpit and consults with more than 200 patients with bad body odor, said fresh sweat had little odor itself, given time, bacteria break down certain compounds, which along with hormones and sulfur, can create a foul smell.

"BO is taboo, and its prevalence is greatly underestimated," he said. "There is little these people can do to help themselves. Some of them are too psychologically distressed to talk to strangers, or even to leave the house, afraid of what people might think of their smell."

For now, wearing more cotton apparel could help these those who suffer from bad BO, Callewaert said.

Researchers are still unsure what exactly about polyester fosters this bacterial growth, but they're working on figuring it out.

(H/T: Science Magazine via Reddit)

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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