Question about vintage… odor

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by BigBrother, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. BigBrother

    BigBrother One of the Regulars

    So this is a strange one! I’ve been collecting militaria for about three months now and something weird has been observed…

    I can deal with the expected odor of just old/in storage/naphthalene. What’s been baffling to me has been the BO.

    First of all I’m just surprised that it would last this long. But the real, truly confusing part is just how consistent and homogenous the smell is. Like anyone, I’ve smelled my fair share of funky men, and much like with other bodily functions, there is, shall we say, a breadth to the bouquets.

    But not so with all of these vintage uniforms (I mean the ones that smell like this. Many of them are fine!) They all have the same, identical variety of BO smell (the sort of cumin-like one). I just don’t get it. It’s also always extremely overpowering and gets much worse if you wear the garment (it gets everywhere and should you perspire, gives off like a glade plug-in.)

    I just find it impossible to believe that all of these men had the same exact body chemistry. This leads me to a few theories:

    1. What I’m smelling is not actually BO but rather, like naphthalene, something that just has a very specific and piquant odor. Flaws: it tends to be most concentrated in the armpits, and has never, ever shown up in any trousers!

    2. This gets a little gross (I know what you’re thinking, we’re not there already? :)), but I’ve always been surprised by sewage: there are many different fecal odors and yet somehow sewage always homogenizes to the exact same smell. Funny, no? I wonder if somehow the multitude of BOs out there all basically denature into the same variety over enough time.

    It really is shocking, now that I type this and think about it, but I have never smelled anything but this one specific smell with anything that has a “BO” stink.

    Thoughts? Experiences? And, ultimately, let’s face it: solutions? :)
  2. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    South of Nashville
    Solution? I would buy an ozone generator. Put the uniforms in a small room, and treat for 20 minutes, or so, depending on the strength of the generator. May take several treatments. I haven't used mine on BO but have been successful in removing smoke odors, and pet odors.

    Tip: After the generator has stopped, let the room rest for an hour. Then open the door and leave the immediate area. Turn on the fan for the Heat/Air unit and let the room air out for a while before returning to the room. You don't want to open the door just after treatment and get a face full of ozone.

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