Welcome to another post about ADULTING 101 a.k.a. How To Live Your Life Independently. This week, we got our hands full of laundry and a few tips on how to keep our clothes fresh all day in preparation for the coming Ber month celebrations. It’s easy to wash our clothes nowadays with more and more laundry shops popping out of every nook and cranny of the city; however, there’s one thing they don’t teach us aside from the sort-rinse-dry process is how our clothes still catch a musty malodor even though we dried it properly and we don’t have body odor. Now, that’s scarier than any Halloween celebration today so let’s get to the root of all this. Fun fact: No, it’s not from indoor drying.
The root cause is millions of germs (pretty disgusting if you think about how you wear those millions). As a generally hygiene-conscious culture, Filipinos are particular about keeping clothes clean from bacteria secreted by our own skin and dirt coming from the environment. The distinct musty malodor is actually caused by germ growth, which may start as early as after washing the clothes, regardless of the laundry means – and not directly because clothes are dried indoors.
For longer lasting freshness, Downy has listed down three freshness tips on keeping clothes germ-free and malodor-free.
Freshness Tip No. 1: Watch out for high-risk laundry and wash them ASAP
The longer clothes remain damp with sweat and other bodily dirt, the more germs will grow. If the items you are washing are susceptible to more germ infestation, they should be washed as soon as possible, and with more attention too. Soiled gym clothes, your child’s PE uniform, shared towels, lampins, clothes used in food preparation, clothing worn over a wound, and healthcare worker’s uniforms are just some of the high-risk items that one should watch out for. These should be washed separately from other items. Homemakers can protect themselves from infection by wearing gloves when handling high-risk laundry.
Freshness Tip No. 2: Stop Staphylococcus!
Staphylococcus what!? A study showed that several malodor-causing germs are found to grow in different type of fabrics, including our clothes. Many healthy people normally have staph (short for staphylococcus) on their skin, in their noses, or other body areas. Most of the time, the germ does not cause an infection or symptoms, but when they do, it can make them or others sick. To avoid staph infection: keep your hands clean by thorough handwashing with soap and water; keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered until they heal; and do not share personal items such as towels, underwears or cosmetics.
Freshness Tip No. 3: Detergent is not enough
Various global research shows that the use of water with temperature of 60 degrees Celsius or higher in laundering can be effective in killing possibly pathogenic bacteria. For the lucky ones who dry their clothes in the sunshine, they are actually killing germs as well. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible for many of us to hang clothes outside due to space limitations and the season’s weather conditions. But there can be a solution that is more accessible and controllable, like use of an ingredient known as Didecyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride, found in Downy AntiBac. This ingredient ruptures the bacterial cell wall, thereby preventing germ growth and minimizing bacteria population that can contribute to musty-smelling clothes.
“To beat the enemy, we have to know the enemy. We need to be particular in treating the root cause of musty malodor to achieve long lasting freshness, not just during the rainy season, but throughout the all-year humid conditions,” states Downy Philippines Country Marketing Manager Cedric Le Goff. “This can only be accomplished by the exhaustive prevention of germ growth in all the clothes that we wear – be it pambahay or panlakad. With Downy AntiBac, we can eliminate the germs that cause malodor in our clothes and provide long-lasting freshness.”
 Callewaert, C., Maeseneire, E. D., Kerckhof, F., Verliefde, A., Wiele, T. V., & Boon, N. (2014). Microbial Odor Profile of Polyester and Cotton Clothes after a Fitness Session. Applied and Environmental Microbiology,80(21), 6611-6619. doi:10.1128/aem.01422-14