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The low-down on Polygiene™

By Alpkit
03, Nov, 2017

A treatment for your clothes that means they don’t get smelly when you’re working hard, surely there’s a catch? We grilled our design team to get the low-down.

© Alpkit

It almost goes without saying, but none of us want to be smelly – even when we’re out on an adventure!

We don’t want to harm our skin by lathering ourselves in products to keep the smells at bay either, nor do we want to harm the environment by washing our active clothes every time we’ve been out and about. But surely the only solution isn’t just to don our stinky clothes every morning on a multi-day trip or when we’re heading out to the fells. We know the sheep don’t mind how we smell (well, we don’t think they do…) but still...

Fortunately, Polygiene™ have come up with a solution. We’ve taken that solution and applied it to our clothing, so that we can wear them more and wash them less without causing a stink. Hooray!

Polygiene™ is a permanent treatment which is applied to clothes as they’re being made. The treatment uses silver salt (AKA silver chloride) to prevent your clothing from absorbing the odour producing microbes, such as bacteria, fungus and mildew. The idea is that your clothes spend less time in the washing basket and more time on you, and you spend less time washing your clothes and more time off doing ace stuff: everyone’s a winner. Less washing also means less water waste and your clothes last longer, so the environment wins too.

A woman in the Polygiene Koulin trail Tee and Tights

Getting out and about shouldn't leave us with a huge pile of washing when we get home...

That all sounds excellent so far, but a treatment for your clothes that means they don’t get smelly when you’re working hard, surely there’s a catch? We’ve been grilling our design team to find out (spoiler, we haven’t found a catch yet).

“Aren’t ‘odour control’ treatments bad for the environment?”

It’s good to be cautious about ‘odour control’ and ‘anti-odour’ treatments on your clothes, sometimes they simply don’t work, and other times they come at a cost. Nano-silver has had a lot of press lately as the tiny particles of silver have been known to slough off in the wash and expose you to higher levels of metal if overused. Polygiene™ doesn’t use nano-silver, its silver chloride particles are larger and bound to the fabric, meaning that they don’t come out in the wash and into your skin. The silver used is natural and recycled, so you can rest easy on that one too.

Polygiene™ is also applied with other treatment during finishing stages of production, so adding Polygiene™ into the mix doesn’t mean wasting a load more water on extra washes.

Finally, Polygiene™ is bluesign® approved, which means that the treatment has met the most vigourous environmental standards of textiles.

“Okay, so how is Polygiene™ better for the environment?”

Most of us wash our clothes as soon as they start to smell and if you lead an active lifestyle that makes a lot of washing! The less our clothes smell, the less we wash them and the less water we use. This also means that your clothes last longer as the fibres don’t break down as quickly without all that excessive washing and bacteria.

With our more hygienic and long lasting clothing, we can get by with less and travel lighter; whether we’re bikepacking, backpacking, or canoe camping that can only be a good thing as far as we’re concerned! 

Pete from Adventure Pedlars wearing the koulin trail tee and trail tights

After all that running, Pete could confirm that his Polygiene Koulin tee still smelled fresh as a daisy 

“Do we have to re-Polygiene™ our clothes like we reproof our waterproofs?”

No! One of our favourite things about Polygiene™ is that it’s permanent – it lasts the lifetime of your product – which means you’ll never need to re-Polygiene™ your gear!

“Won’t extra treatments irritate my skin?”

We design our clothes to deliver great next-to-skin comfort; so we didn’t want to then add a treatment that would undo all our hard work! Polygiene™ started in the healthcare industry, this not only means that its founders have a good understanding of issues around skin sensitivity, but it had high standards to meet! As a result, the Polygiene™ treatment has undergone extensive skin sensitivity testing and doesn’t interfere with natural bacteria in your skin.

In fact, the treatment doesn’t really interact with your skin at all. Polygiene™ particles are only active on the fabric surface; you still sweat but your clothes don’t absorb the odour producing microbes. The result is no irritation, even when used for long periods of time.

Jaffa Orange women's Koulin Trail Tee

Polygiene doesn't interfere with your skin's bacteria flora, which makes it excellent for next-to-skin garments like the Koulin range

“Surely there are loads of treatments like this? Why did you choose Polygiene™?”

We’re committed to producing high quality products. We do as much as we can here at AKHQ to make sure it meets our standards, and when we can’t do stuff in house, we work only with companies that we have confidence in.

That’s where Polygiene™ comes in. Polygiene™ is the most eminent in the field of, well, stopping things from smelling; they have excellent green credentials (including bluesign® approval), and a lot of well-respected outdoor brands work with them (ahem, now including Alpkit).

“That all sounds great, but we’ve heard about ‘odour-free’ clothes before, does it actually work?”

Yes! Polygiene™ works best if you air your clothes after you’ve worn them, but even when scrunched in the bottom of a gym bag we’ve smelled results (although that’s no way to treat your outdoor kit!) Customer Service Hero Jamie has been wearing the same pair of Polygiene™ socks all week, and we’ve not had any complaints so far!

"Okay, we're convinced... Which products will Polygiene™ treatment be applied to?"

All of our Koulin range has been treated with Polygiene™, meaning that you won't have to wash them after every workout. As for the other ranges, well we can't give away all our secrets!

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