New Global Study from Dow Reveals Consumer Perceptions and Habits around Textile Odor Removal and Prevention

27 September 2018

Study Surfaces Insights into Consumer Desires for Built-in Odor Prevention – such as INTELLIFRESH™ – in the Marketplace

COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. - September 27, 2018 - Dow Microbial Control, a global business unit of DowDuPont Specialty Products Division, has unveiled new consumer research into odor control perceptions and habits across three global markets: China (including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing), the United States and Japan. International research firm Anerca examined the concept of odor control in the three countries, surveying everything from which odors people worry most about and consumers appetite for advancements in built-in odor prevention products.

For the majority of consumers – 61% – removing smells or odors is their most important laundry goal. Further, a very significant majority (82%) of people attribute these odors to “body chemistry, body oils, body odor or sweat.” The most disliked smells, including body odor or mustiness/mildew, emerge as almost universally problematic – both were identified by over 90% of consumers across all countries as a problem in their households. However, despite the attention on these issues, the majority of global consumers do not consider their current odor solutions to be very effective.

“Our research showed that removing smells or odors is one of the key primary laundry goals around the world, when in reality it is much more effective to stop these odors before they have a chance to latch onto our fabrics.”
Karel Williams, global marketing and business development director

“Once odor buildup occurs in a fabric, it’s nearly impossible to remove,” said Karel Williams, global marketing and business development director, Microbial Control. “Our research showed that removing smells or odors is one of the key primary laundry goals around the world, when in reality it is much more effective to stop these odors before they have a chance to latch onto our fabrics.”

The leader in odor prevention is INTELLIFRESH™ built-in odor protection, which allows customers – manufacturers of everything from towels, sheets and apparel to carpets, uniforms and activewear – to get ahead of odors by preventing odor-causing bacteria from forming on fabric surfaces. The protection, which is enabled by Dow Microbial Control’s Silvadur™ technology, begins by absorbing odors that may already be on the fabric and then attacking the bacteria to reduce continued odor formation or buildup. This value-added protection helps fabrics stay clean and fresh smelling longer, meaning they may not need to be washed as frequently, which saves water and energy – a benefit for you, your textiles and the environment.

Anerca’s research showed an opportunity for manufacturers to educate consumers about the need for odor prevention at the source. The study found “very/extremely” high levels of interest in built-in protection against odors and an overwhelming willingness to pay a premium for pre-treated clothing, footwear and home fabrics. According to the research, 75% of consumers would pay more for clothing or footwear treated with INTELLIFRESH™ odor protection, and 79% would pay more for pre-treated home fabrics. They would be willing to spend 27% more for clothing and 22% more for home fabrics that are treated.

Another significant area of the research centered on water temperatures in residential laundry. Consumers do laundry frequently (on average 17 times per month across the three countries), but they tend to avoid using hot water on a regular basis. Over 4 in ten typically wash clothes and home fabrics in cold water, about 30% in warm water and only 5-10% in hot water. Despite these numbers, consumers do believe that hot water is best for removing odors.

“There’s a gap between the belief that hot water is most effective in removing stains and the fact that consumers still largely don’t use hot water,” said Ellen Karp, Founder at Anerca International Inc. “As researchers, we see an opportunity there for manufacturers to assure consumers that they don’t need to change their behaviors on water temperatures – they can simply rely on purchasing items built with INTELLIFRESH™ odor prevention treatments.”

Mr. Williams will share more findings from the extensive study at series of conference appearances this fall, including the Intertextile Shanghai Apparel Fabrics on September 27-29.


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