The Science Behind Odor Elimination

January 29, 2015
Your locker room smells. Of course it smells, it's a hockey locker room. No big deal, right? Wrong! There is science, nasty science, behind that odor in your room and in your gear. Players come off the ice, sit down on the benches dripping sweat everywhere they go. Then they hang up all their wet gear. The equipment needs to dry quickly before their next game or practice. To dry the equipment some equipment managers turn the heat way up in the locker room and use fans to disperse the air. This warm, wet environment is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. The sweat contains proteins they need to thrive on and this causes the odor you smell. The fans in the room are now spreading these bacterial odors around to be shared by everyone. Eliminate the bacteria, mold, and mildew, and the odors will be eliminated as well.
There are products out there you can use, but what do they really do? Are they just "deodorizing" (masking the smell) only for it to come back again? Do they really work? Do you use "deodorant" or "anti-perspirant"? If the answer is "anti-perspirant," odds are, you use it because you want to prevent underarm odor, not just "de-odorize" it.


Test plates showing actual bacterial growth on surfaces in a hockey locker room.

It's the same concept with "deodorizing sprays." Some cover up odors and others "encapsulate" the odor-causing bacteria, providing initial satisfaction to your nose, but it's not killing the microbes, and eventually the wall that "encapsulates" the odor wears down and the odor returns.

Other "odor neutralizing" products contain hydrogen peroxide, which will kill the germs, but can discolor or eat-away at fabrics and other surfaces it is used on. Others use alcohol, which will kill germs, however, if you've ever read the labels of these types of products, you will see the surface sprayed must be wet and in contact with the chemical for 5-10 minutes to perform the "kill." And alcohol it isn't kind to fabrics.

So you think you finally find the right product, you spray and wipe down every surface; nice and clean! Until...the next player comes in from the weight room, sits down, and re-contaminates the area you just decontaminated. I mean, I get the "your mother isn't here to clean up after you" thing, but "microbes happen"! And on and on ... it's a vicious cycle.

What about an "antimicrobial"? It KILLS the microbial source of the odor and it should last longer, so that solves all of these issues. Well, then there's the "leaching" issue. No, not your bud who never has enough Chipotle money, but the leaching (falling off) of the chemical particles, such as silver, that are often in the "antimicrobial" products. Where'd those chemicals go?

A group of Swiss scientists tested how well silver nanoparticles stayed in treated fabrics under conditions similar to a washing machine. They considered mechanical stress and chemical factors such as bleaches, pH and surfactants. This study shows that nanoparticles do not always stay put on fabrics. Silver nanoparticles used as antimicrobials in fabric can leach out of clothes as they are being washed. One brand lost over half of its silver content from the fabric with just two washings. Silver migrates from treated fabrics. Jan 07, 2010 by Geranio, L, M Heuberger, and B Nowack. 2009. The behavior of silver nanotextiles during washing. Environmental Science and Technology 43(21):8113-8118.

Other antimicrobials are a quaternary ammonium. When you spray the Quat, it leaves behind small swords that sit on the surface. As germs get attracted to these swords they "lyse" (penetrate and kill) the organism's cell membrane on contact, thus killing the organism. Yes, that's where they came up with the name Lysol®.

These swords leave longer protection after you've cleaned, but they also wear off of the surfaces they are applied to.

SportSense can take care of all these issues. It is the "antiperspirant" of odor prevention solutions. One thorough treatment on new or pre-cleaned surfaces, gear, apparel, towels, etc. will continuously inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew. If your gear isn't so "clean" ... it contains just enough alcohol to "knock down" the offending odor right away, but not enough to kill your gear. And SportSense doesn't contain dangerous methanol because it is extracted out of the quaternary silane chemistry during the manufacturing process, making it safer for you and your athletes, when spraying equipment and other surfaces.

SportSense patented bonding technology bonds the swords to surfaces for a better adhesion and longer lasting protection. You can wipe down the area time after time and you'll clean off the dead germ cells the swords left behind, but you won't wash away the swords. They will be cleaned and standing at attention to attack the next microbial threat.

SportSense can be used just about anywhere; hard surfaces, fabrics, and even in the laundry to provide all your gear, performance wear, and towels with an advanced antimicrobial technology that prevents the growth of odor causing bacteria caused by sweat. One thorough application will prevent odor causing bacteria growth and protect gear and apparel from staining, discoloration and odor.


SEARCH for Products
SEARCH for Vendors

Lockers That Work

Looking for lockers for your team rooms? All-Star sport lockers from List Industries have raised the bar with their quality, functionality, and durability. All-Star locker feature List’s exclusive Hollow-T framing system that has ½” 13-gauge flattened expanded metal sides for maximum ventilation, safety, and rigidity. Plus, interlocking body components create a sturdy sports locker that … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Moving Up to the Pros

After years of success serving the college athletic market, G2L Window Systems got the call up to the pros. A G2L system was installed in one of the suites at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. G2L Window Systems feature frameless, open-air design that allows fans to enjoy the sounds and smells of … CLICK TO READ MORE...

Record Boards Suited for the Diamond

Baseball and softball season is just around the corner, so this a perfect time to think about the best way celebrate the accomplishments of these teams. Austin Plastics & Supply offers a large variety of record display boards designed specifically for baseball and softball. Most focus on individual season and career records for pitching and … CLICK TO READ MORE...