But consumers are aware that current detergents are failing to effectively remove persistent activewear odors. The positive wicking properties of microfibers are the cause of the problem, making it difficult for the water – and more importantly the detergent –to penetrate the fabric during the wash cycle.
“The result is clothes that are presumed to be clean develop a smell as soon as there is any sort of moisture,” says Corey Naab, Market Segment Leader at Nutrition & Biosciences.
Conventional detergents mainly target surface stains, with powerful enzymes tackling food, oil and grease stains. but new solutions are needed to match that performance in odor removal.
The challenge is getting ‘inside’ the fibers, developing ingredients with the ability to wet these water-repellent surfaces. The wicking benefits of synthetic fibers make it more difficult to remove sweat and bacteria.
Consumers want their clothes to smell better – but this can’t compromise any of the other benefits of laundry, Naab says. “We want our customers to experience all of the sensory benefits of laundry. It’s about re-imagining clean and delivering total performance.”