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Featured clothes hygiene question

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by selena, Feb 15, 2021.

  1. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a good sense of smell, so I need to settle this once and for all.

    If you wear the same of pair of pants or the same cardigan every day for a whole week, will either of them start to smell?

    I work mostly in an air conditioned office with little to no physical activity, which is why I thought I could get away with wearing the same pants AND the same cardigan every day. I mean, I did that for 2-3 years and no one looked visibly repulsed when they were around me, although I do want to add this was when most of my coworkers were also poor or working class.

    When I moved on to a fancier environment, though, there was a well-meaning lady who hinted that I should wear deodorant. Because I otherwise had my basic hygiene down (I showered every day and did my laundry every weekend), I concluded that my clothing could be emanating odor, and since then have 2-3 of the same clothing piece to rotate throughout the week. (If I'm on my third day of wearing the same thing, I try not to stand too close to anyone.)

    Still, sometimes it can feel wasteful to not re-wear the same clothes more often, so I'm wondering if, just like how underwear can only last a day, pants/outerwear really can last only a few days? I've also been noticing that some of my female coworkers smell of perfume, and it's definitely a feminine thing. So I don't know if the lady's suggestion was about basic hygiene (which I will try to adhere to) or an element of female beauty standards (which is optional only).
     
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There are people out there who try to push their own standards on others. Some that believe that smelling like perfume or scented hair products and scented clothing indicates pleasant or clean.

    They smell like the artifical perfumes that are put on everything. Many are the same people who use scented laundry detergent and perfumed laundry sheets and they spray products like febreeze on their clothing and furniture.

    Personally I use absolutely nothing with perfumed scents, I'm quite aware of the artificial scents used in most personal grooming products which often make me feel ill. But I don't work in an office with people any longer.

    It's actually really hard to know what your co-worker meant. Without asking her to be more specific. If I were you I would continue doing things the way you have, but maybe switch to scented shampoo or conditioner and deodorant or powder, if you can tolerate it.

    Pants can be worn for quite a few days, and as a rule they don't really smell unless they have food on them. Change anything that's close to your body, like a t shirt or blouse or a regular jersey and obviously underwear on a daily basis. Anything worn on top of those things should not smell.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
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  3. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Hope is faith rewarded in advance

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    Thank you for bringing this into the open, i wonder about similar things
     
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  4. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Yes, mom informs me that clothing can begin to smell, sometimes quite a lot, after a few days. Shirts especially. (and obviously, underwear). It seems that things like jeans are more durable in that sense and can be worn longer, but lighter fabrics not so much.

    One other observation. NTs tend to be obsessed with fashion etc. and if you are wearing what appears to be the same clothing for a week, even if it's a different item that just looks identical, people may assume you haven't changed your clothes even when you have.

    Since you're now in a more upscale working environment, there are going to be more expectations for you to conform, and meet the standards of this class, or caste of people than there were when you were in a more working class environment. Given how NTs are obsessed with status and all... Okay, that's two observations. ;).
     
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  5. Magna

    Magna Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's hard to say. Even though you're not doing anything strenuous you could still be producing more body odor than you realize. Even though you say you have a poor sense of smell try putting your nose right to one of your bare armpits and sniff deeply. Do you smell any body odor? I would assume that if you did have B.O. even with a poor sense of smell that you'd smell something.

    Also, even though it's not a common topic of discussion, the seat of the pants area can smell for any number of reasons. It's not common, but I have unfortunately been in a public place before where someone smelled like "butt".
     
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  6. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Or to the armpit of the shirt, that might be easier. :) Either works.
     
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  7. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think two pairs pants and two cardigans per week. One of each could smell a bit stale.
     
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  8. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member V.I.P Member

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    Also depends on the fabric. Polyester in particular is known for being more problematic.
     
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  9. WolfSpirit

    WolfSpirit Not a dictionary. Or a search engine

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    Thought of adding this earlier, but thought it was probably obvious. Weather affects such things too. You're more likely to sweat in warmer weather, air conditioning or no. Same with more humid climates or weather. Or inside with a furnace turned up. Etc.
     
  10. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    If you have sweated in a day, your clothing can begin to smell. You might not perceive you are sweating, but can be, anyway. One suggestion is to "air out" clothing in between every two wearings. Put it on a hanger and don't cram it into a crowded closet but just leave it open to the air.

    I try to limit the number of wearings in a crowded environment such as an office to two, before washing the clothing. I have a looser standard for at home. So maybe I will wear a garment to work twice - not two days in a row - and then a couple at home, then wash.

    This assumes the clothing has never become damp with sweat. If that happens, it isn't going back to the office until washed.

    People begin to have more odor problems at puberty and it tapers off in late life. During the sexually capable years, your skin secretes odors in response to the hormones in your system.

    Odors can form in pubic hair, but since OP is showering every day, that should be enough, so I agree any odor problem is probably coming from clothing.
     
  11. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    I really can’t wear the same pair of pants for a week. Even though I have good personal hygiene, the crotch area of the pants will begin to smell. Not that my coworkers spend a lot of time near my crotch on a daily basis, but if I can smell it, it makes me very uncomfortable because I wonder if they can too.

    For shirts and blouses some fabrics, like the aforementioned polyester, start to smell within a day even though I wear a good deodorant. And even with other fabrics, sweat and skin cells will gather at some point, giving clothes a slightly sour or just unclean smell.

    I have a really strong sense of smell so I usually assume that if I smell my clothes and I think they’re fine, other people won’t smell anything bad about them. Still, it’s a big insecurity for me. I only shower twice a week (or more if I’ve had a particularly sweaty night/day) because I have really sensitive skin. I know this is the healthiest choice for my skin, but I still worry about being smelly.

    I do use the tiniest spritz of a light perfume before going to work or meeting with people, but that’s not to camouflage anything. It’s just my signature scent.
     
  12. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You can use panty liners if showering is a problem or just to keep pants/slacks fresher.
     
  13. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    Good advice, but don’t use panty liners if you’re prone to yeast infections. Panty liners reduce ventilation and trap moisture, creating a perfect environment for yeasts to grow.
     
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  14. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    well yeah but you can't always go 'commando' (no underwear) in work situations.
     
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  15. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all, I became so curious I started googling things. Apparently I should also consider washing by bed sheets more often, although the reason we wash our clothes so often is because all of those ads detergent companies paid for to generate profits, and gynecologists can't seem to agree whether pubic hair should be left alone or trimmed to reduce bacteria growth. Being fat and eating certain food will make it more likely for you to smell worse, although sometimes you could be doing everything right and your genes just will make you more prone to being smelly (with my luck, that's probably the case).

    As for the person who suggested the sniff test anyway, I am one of those people who can't even smell farts, which regrettably led me to believe for far too long that my deadly silent farts would go undetected by everyone around me. (This is probably why I've become overly self-conscious about not smelling bad, even though I probably just smell "natural" at worst.)

    Anyway, I'll just keep showering every day and doing laundry every week for now. Supposedly, if I'm just a human Pepe Le Pew and enough people complain, either my boss or someone from HR will do their job and talk to me.
     
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  16. Progster

    Progster Gone sideways to the sun V.I.P Member

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    I'm similar, but I can get away with it because I work remontely, online. No one can smell me down an internet connection :) Often, we don't smell things that other people can, because we become accustomed to the smell and stop noticing it. If you live with someone, it might be a good idea to ask them to check your clothes whether they smell or not.

    Edit: also, worth knowing that clothes can pick up cooking smells, especially frying.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
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  17. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I lost my sense of smell and taste for a few years ( even now, not perfect) due to coughing asthma and a delay in getting it sorted.

    So, I used logic and memory. Generally, clothes have food smells on them, so off they went to the wash, even though I could not smell them.

    I just assumed that wearing the same item for a couple of days, means it should go in the wash.
     
  18. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hair picks up a lot of odour too, like cooking smells.
     
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  19. Wolfgangus Faldestolius

    Wolfgangus Faldestolius Little notes from an armchair

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    Tips re a few items of outer clothing:

    - if you have three sets, instead of wearing one for three days running in between wash, alternate them and air them for a day between (if I get a visitor, the garments that "live" on chair backs get loosely folded somewhere for the visit) (note this means you may have two washing loads backing into each other) (if flush enough buy the extra shirt or whatever occasionally)

    - on between days, in the first evening rub collars or armpits with old fashioned soap & water then they have a day to air, that is when they don't need the full wash yet

    - trousers can come across slightly differently according whether everyone is standing or sitting (proximity to nostrils)

    - sometimes I wash a "mostly shirt load" or a "pyjamas and underwear load" or a "towel and pillowcase load" rather than "across the board loads": this will depend on your preferred load size, needed temperatures, factors of convenience etc.
     
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  20. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    Oh I’m not saying to go commando. I’m just saying to be careful with the use of panty liners if you’re prone to yeast infections. Not quite the same.
     
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