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Strange smell in Paramo jacket

This is a weird one to say the least. I have a Paramo Cascada jacket that's about 3 years old. It's hardly worn and basically like new. I've never got it dirty inside or out, it's well looked after. It's been stored in my wardrobe along with my other Paramo clothing in a dry normal house environment. I have not pets or children so nothing has ever been spilt on it. However.......I cannot wear it....it has a very strange odour that appears to be coming from the lining. I've washed this jacket 3 times with the Nikwax techwash and have even resorted to regular washing methods (on Paramo's advice). The smell disappears totally when wet but returns with a vengeance once dry.  It then builds up slowly getting worse over a few days. I can't describe the smell....it's a strange sour odour and isn't pleasant at all. Its almost like a perfume that's gone off....In fact at times particularly when coming out of the rain and into a dry building it's an overpowering offensive smell. Does anyone know what this is....I can only think it's the smell of the fabric....very strange! I have 3 pairs of Cascada trousers made of exactly the same fabric and they do not smell like this. I cannot understand it.

I've had a couple items start to smell. To me it was like spoiled milk. Never figured out what or why but guessed the inside waterproofing was breaking down. Sunshine and washing only helped temporarily.

Keith, this sounds like a good mystery indeed. My initial suggestion is to hit it with one of those UV wands, in an effort to sterilize it. A seldom-used wardrobe along an outside wall could be subject to the kind of drafts that might, over time, lead to a kind of bacterial growth.

Good luck, and keep us updated.

Hi thanks for your replies "Old Guide" I think you've described the smell perfectly, it is a bit like spoiled milk. The only thing I can think that could create it would be sour body sprays and deodorants. But I've never overdosed my self with these when wearing any outdoor garment as I don't like to smell like a perfumery when outdoors. I've never had an issue with ANY OTHER Paramo jackets I've owned so my mind boggles as to why I'm getting this problem now. The only logical explanation is that it's the smell of the fabric as the coating issue doesn't stand up with these garments because as you're aware Paramo don't use coatings.  Which leads to a possibility that it's a bad batch of tech wash, but I've ruled that out as I've used the same bottles on my other Paramo clothing with no problems. And thanks "pillowthread" it does seem like a "bacterial growth" issue. However that jacket is stored with my other Paramo clothing in the same dry environment. My thoughts at the moment are "fabric batch" ....I'm wondering whether a dry clean would help ? Thanks again

IMHE I think dry cleaning will lead to another temporary solution and then the smell will return but it only hurts the wallet to be sure.

Hi Thanks I agree. Paramo offered to do just that for me at a charge. I think that the smell will return. I'm convinced it's the material that the lining is made from.

Hurrah......think I've solved it !..........after the discussion on here and a little research I discovered that apparently a normal 40° wash may not be enough to kill certain bacteria (I never knew that), out of ignorance I thought a wash was a wash. I found a bottle of "Dettol antibacterial laundry cleanser" in the cupboard so thought I'd give it a go. This stuff boasts 5 star reviews and apparently removes 99.9% of odour causing bacteria even at 20°. (I don't work for the manufacturer and am only quoting what I've read). I gave my jacket another 40° wash on a long cycle using regular washing detergent and 2 capfulls of this liquid. After the initial wash I repeated the "Tech wash and TX direct" washes as normal and let the jacket air dry naturally. It appears to have worked which seems to suggest that the lining was retaining bacteria (apparently polyester is notorious for this) which in turn left an unpleasant odour. Obviously you can't wash most clothes at 60° (the temperature required to kill bacteria) without wrecking them so this liquid is a practical solution to the problem. Thanks all for your help. I can now wear my Paramo jacket again. 

Keith, that's cool. Let us know if it works long term.

Hurrah......think I've solved it !..........after the discussion on here and a little research I discovered that apparently a normal 40° wash may not be enough to kill certain bacteria (I never knew that), out of ignorance I thought a wash was a wash. I found a bottle of "Dettol antibacterial laundry cleanser" in the cupboard so thought I'd give it a go. This stuff boasts 5 star reviews and apparently removes 99.9% of odour causing bacteria even at 20°. (I don't work for the manufacturer and am only quoting what I've read). I gave my jacket another 40° wash on a long cycle using regular washing detergent and 2 capfulls of this liquid. After the initial wash I repeated the "Tech wash and TX direct" washes as normal and let the jacket air dry naturally. It appears to have worked which seems to suggest that the lining was retaining bacteria (apparently polyester is notorious for this) which in turn left an unpleasant odour. Obviously you can't wash most clothes at 60° (the temperature required to kill bacteria) without wrecking them so this liquid is a practical solution to the problem. Thanks all for your help. I can now wear my Paramo jacket again. 

Hi Thanks "Old Guide" it's been cupboard dry for 24 hours now and have tested it in different environments, in the house, outside wet, outside dry and when stepping inside out of the rain there is no suggestion of any odour at all. All of these conditions revealed the issue previously so I think it's safe to say its solved. I never realised that polyester behaved in this way, so knowing that and moving forward if the bacteria builds up again I shall repeat the procedure. Cheers.

Oh dear....went out today and the dreaded smell has returned with a vengeance, it's worse than ever when coming in out of the rain. I think it's time for me to concede defeat and donate this to the local charity shop....sadly it's a non wearable £280 jacket....what a shame.

I kind of thought that would happen...sad to say.

Send it to Paramor and see what they say.

Hi "Old Guide" I phoned them and all they've offered to do is dry clean it for me then reproof it. Sadly I bought this jacket on holiday a few years ago and misplaced the receipt etc (stupid I know and totally my fault) but the upshot is the warranty was unfortunately never registered. In all honesty I never imagined I'd have a problem like this as I've got loads of Paramo clothing and have never had an issue with any of it. I may take advantage of the Paramo "trade in" recycling scheme.

Last ditch efforts: 

First try: Place clothing item in a large stock pot of near boiling water with an 8oz cup of Oxi Clean added.  Let pickle for a day.  Place in washer on a rinse spin cycle.  Follow up with another near boil soaking, this time adding about 2 cups of 409 cleaning solution and pickle another day.  Rinse spin, then dry as directed.  

Last resort:  You can try pickling the article in a bar rinse sanitizing solution, available through a vendor that serves the hospitality industry.  Mix with water, per instructions. Rinse and spin, then dry afterwards.

Ed

Hi "whomeworry" will any of that damage the fabric?  I know the maximum wash temp is 40°. I don't know what the odour is.....a complete mystery ? I don't have pets, children or a poor hygiene problem but this smell just won't shift ! 

The fabrics should be fine.  I haven't experienced any issues with nylon, cotton, Dacron, or synthetic fills.  In any case does it matter, given the alternative?

Ed

Another option is a Mirazyme bath. Just a dip and a dry and it's ready. 

Thanks all for the advice. I conceded defeat in the end and recycled the jacket with Paramo's recycling scheme. Hopefully they may be able to do something with it or else reclaim some components of the garment for re use. A very sad outcome but unfortunately my only realistic option. I now have a brand new smock so I'm happy. 

Before the smell went off, how did you like the jacket?  I was in a Paramo shop in London a few years ago and nearly re-outfitted myself top to bottom in their gear.  Very compelling arguments for winter kit.  Not so certain I would use it during non-winter months, but for winter treks the kit looked perfect.

October 21, 2020
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