When you sweat, Sloan explains, you don’t actually smell until the perspiration interacts with bacteria on your skin and clothes. Athletic apparel companies are particularly interested in controlling these odors.
Sloan’s contributions in textile-odor control earned her a research service award from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists in May. The group sets standards for testing fibers and fabrics for odor control, color fastness and other metrics.
“I was not expecting to be recognized in any way,” says Sloan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Western Carolina University. “It’s all because of smelling armpits and stinky socks.”