Ahhhh, “sunshine” scented sheets? What a pleasant thought!!! But I had more questions than answers when I read the following news brief:
Coming up, scented textiles
Tuesday 6th February, 2007
Scientists are looking at ways to permanently infuse fabrics with a fragrance that can survive washings.
John Pierce, an associate professor of psychology at the Philadelphia University, and other researchers are trying to find ways to scent up textiles that could lead to perfumed blankets and sheets or hide the stink of used gym clothes, reported ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) science online.
Conventional methods rely on tiny scent-filled capsules added on top of the yarn after it is woven into a fabric. The capsules release their fragrance when they crack open during normal wear and use, the report quoted Discovery News.
The problem, said Pierce, is that the capsules frequently break before the garments are on the shelves, and then break some more before the customer can get the product home.
Pierce and his team, who are in the second year of a three-year project to assess such fabrics, have developed an alternative method that infuses scent and colour into a yarn at the time it is made.
This yarn essentially contains strands of scent and colour sheathed in an outer layer, all produced in one step.
The researchers said their fabric should retain the fragrance for up to 10-15 washes, about the same as those with microcapsules. But, they added, that theirs would be cheaper to manufacture as there are no microcapsules or microcapsule-applying machinery to buy.
For the fragrance to survive washings, the textile has to withstand the manufacturing process, the researchers said.
In spite of the opening statement about making the fragrance permanent, the scientist’s target goal is to have the scent last for 10 – 15 washings. From what I remember of a discussion had a few years ago with some folks in the RTW biz, the target for RTW durability is also 10 – 15 washings, depending on the “Durability” being tested. For shrinkage it was 3 washings. For fabric finish longevity and seam construction the target was 10-15 washes. I could be wrong in regurgitation of the standards but I remember it was dismally short.
What about possible issue of further polluntants being introduced into the ground water through laundry wastes? What about unknown and/or new allergic reactions? God-speed to the scientific development team and may they keep in mind the end-user and Mother Earth!
And who’s nose will be used to determine what a pleasant scent is? I hope it’s not the current “nose” at Febreze. I have yet to find a reason to smile like the people in the Febreze opening page when I’ve used the Febreze products: I react badly both aesthetically and physically, to everything Febreze I’ve tried so far.
And what about us online fabric purchasers? In a few years will we have “surprises” when we purchase over the internet? Will we be saying, “I don’t know why but every time I go near that new shirt I cut out I start to feel sick! Is it just a mental reaction to the FBA I know I should have done?”
ETA: for the curious, I found a site which gives information about the chemical that makes Febreze effective in scent removal here but it doesn’t give me a clue about the fragrance choices for the products. Somehow when things get this complicated I get suspicious.