Do you need to certify detergent effectiveness for malodour reduction or the competitive performance of your detergent? Sensory and molecular methods are applied effectively with standard washing cycles, with volunteers providing real body odours.

The challenge

  • A client needed to test 3 different detergents on their efficacy in removing body odours.

Our strategy

  • Collection of “sweaty” shirts: shirts wore by people during an intense work-out session
  • For testing each detergent, a specific number of dirty shirts were weighed. Each shirt was numbered and cut in two halves, to create two batches of equivalent initial odour:

Images of the sampling

  • Each of the batch was washed and dry in a laundry machine, either with water only or with the detergent in question.
  • Then, each piece of clothing was placed in a glass jar, which was closed overnight before evaluation by panellists
  • Molecular analysis: measurement of the Volatile Organic Compounds (before and after washing)
    Sensory analysis: evaluation of the sweat odour intensity and odour character of each jar by 12 calibrated and trained panellists.


  • From a sensory point of view, all 3 detergents were proved significantly effective in reducing sweat odour intensity. One of the three detergents showed a significantly lower efficacy when compared to the two others.
  • Molecular analysis showed that acetic and pentanoic acid (compounds with olfactory notes like pungent, sweat, cheesy and putric) were identified only in the batches before washing. After washing, the batch from the detergent with the lower efficacy also showed a lower concentration of VOCs responsible for grass, citrus, fatty, orange peel and floral notes.
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