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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 5, 2013

Troubles with the Solution: Fabric Softeners and Odour Properties

Schwierigkeiten mit der Lösung: Weichspüler und Geruchseigenschaften
  • Kirsi Laitala , Marit Kjeldsberg and Ingun Grimstad Klepp


Fabric softeners are mainly used to reduce roughness and static electricity of textiles, as well as adding a scent to them. In this paper we study how fabric softeners are related to odour properties on clothing. We combine a Norwegian consumer survey with a sensory test on odour development on four different materials used in sports clothing. Samples went through several cycles of use with sweating, washing, and airing and the odour was evaluated at 11 stages. Washing was performed either with or without a fragrance-free domestic rinse cycle softener. Sensory test showed that use of softener increased odour on polyester garments. Survey results showed that a larger number of respondents who used softeners experienced problematic odours in laundry compared to those who did not use softeners.


Weichspüler werden hauptsächlich verwendet, um einerseits die Rauigkeit und die statische Aufladung der Textilien zu reduzieren und andererseits den Textilien einen Duft zu verleihen. Wir untersuchten hier, wie Weichspüler zum Geruch in Kleidung in Beziehung stehen. Wir kombinierten eine norwegische Verbraucherstudie mit einem sensorischen Test über die Geruchsentwicklung auf vier Materialien, die für Sportbekleidung verwendet werden. Die Proben wurden mehreren Gebrauchszyklen (Schweiß) unterworfen. Der Geruch wurde an 11 Testpunkten bestimmt. Die Wäsche wurde entweder mit einem duftstofffreien oder einem duftstoffhaltigen Haushaltsweichspüler durchgeführt. Der sensorische Test zeigt, dass bei Gebrauch von Weichspüler der Geruch in Polyesterkleidung zunahm. Die Umfrageergebnisse machten deutlich, dass eine große Anzahl der Teilnehmer, die Weichspüler einsetzten, im Vergleich zu Personen, die nie Weichspüler nutzten, problematische Gerüche in der Wäsche wahrnahmen.

Kirsi Laitala, National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO), P.O. Box 4682 Nydalen, N-0405 Oslo, Norway, Tel.: +4722043577, Fax: +4722043504, E-Mail:

Kirsi Laitala is a PhD student at Norwegian University of Science and Technology within Industrial Design Engineering. She has M.Sc. in Textile, fibre and clothing engineering from the Tampere University of Technology. At the moment she is working as Principal Engineer at the National Institute for Consumer Research in Oslo. She has researched and published on areas related to clothing quality, laundry, and size issues, and is currently working with sustainability of clothing concentrating on the use and disposal periods.

Marit Kjeldsberg is head of laboratory and quality manager at National Institute for Consumer Research in Oslo. She is chemical engineer with further education within pedagogy. She has worked earlier for many years in the laboratory of Tine, as well as a lecturer in upper secondary school.

Researcher professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp is a head of research at National Institute for Consumer Research in Oslo and leads the group Technology and environment. Her PhD was about Cultural heritage an outdoor life from University of Oslo. Her current field of research concerns clothing, laundry and leisure consumption.


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Received: 2012-01-23
Revised: 2012-05-15
Published Online: 2013-04-05
Published in Print: 2012-09-01

© 2012, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich

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