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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Myth Part 1: What is “body soil” and why should I be concerned?

By Dr. Laundry September 11, 2006

If you are just about to sit down for a meal, I would highly suggest you stop reading. The subject of today’s entry just may kill your appetite… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Body soil is composed of body oils, dead skin flakes and sweat. As gross as it is, everyday the average person loses one liter of sweat, eliminate one billion dead skin cells, and oozes out 10 grams of sebum or body oils. Even grosser, it’s estimated that the average person excretes up to 50 grams of body soil per day. Think how much higher these amounts could be if you are an active person or a teenager going through puberty! Wait, there is more: this doesn’t count the millions of germs and bacteria that are also along for the journey or the extra particulate/dirt that has landed on your skin and gotten mixed into all of this stuff.

Body soil is transferred from you to anything that you come in contact with. Think about how much stuff this includes:
All your clothing is directly in the line of fire, like undergarments, socks, shirts/blouses, even pants and jeans.
Then there is bedding like sheets and pillowcases.
Finally, towels and wash clothes that help remove it, and now it resides in a new home.

This stuff really gets spread around and then gets absorbed or embedded onto individual fibers.

Now let’s consider some of the “side effects”. Our explanation so far should help you better understand why there is:
· “Ring around the collar”
· Yellowing in old t-shirts when you pull them from the drawer
· The rancid smell from stored items
· Great lunch or late night dinner for bacteria and dust mites
· Weakening or wears down fibers

Check back later this week for Part 2