Odor-control additives block or prevent the growth of odor-causing microbes.
When we sweat, our dirt and body oils create an ideal growth environment for odor-causing bacteria and fungi to thrive. While sweat itself is odorless, these microbes can convert it into something quite smelly. Odor-control additives are incorporated into textiles to inhibit or prevent the growth of these odor-causing microbes, so you can wear garments more and need to wash them less. This reduces the overall environmental impact of the garment.
The goal of an anti-odor treatment is to keep a garment smelling fresh, enabling multiple wears between washes and preventing the buildup of persistent odor over time, making sure the garment has a long life. Increasing the number of wears between washes and increasing the overall lifetime of the garment has substantial energy and water benefits. From a lifecycle perspective, garment production is the most energy intensive―which is why we encourage keeping things in use for a long time. The second most impactful process is laundering, so anything to reduce the number of washes can save a lot of water and energy.
Where We Are
Patagonia currently uses HeiQ® Fresh durable odor control additive on select styles (e.g., baselayers and other next-to-skin applications). HeiQ® Fresh is a silver-ion-based odor-control additive. While some silver-containing technologies can have adverse environmental impacts, we have carefully chosen this technology because it is able to provide good performance with minimal environmental impact.
We are always evaluating and field testing new anti-odor technologies to find the best performing treatment with the lowest environmental impact that can still keep your shirt smelling fresher for longer.