Would you splash out on bacteria-busting sprays for your clothes

Would you splash out on bacteria-busting sprays for your clothes


The latest fad is to be green and clean. But would you splash out on bacteria-busting sprays, a mini-jet wash for your clothes, not to mention… The £250 underarm odour eater!

  • Research has found only 90 per cent of our laundry actually needs a full wash 
  • Load done at 60 c, dried in a combined washer-dryer is a 7.2 lb carbon footprint 
  • Tanith Carey tested new products designed to revolutionise cleaning clothes 

While it’s tempting to clean clothes as soon as they smell slightly, research has found only 90 per cent of our laundry actually needs a full wash.

Thankfully, for our ever-growing piles of laundry as well as the environment, there is now a new range of products that aims to revolutionise the way we clean clothes — by using no, or hardly any, water.

After all, doing the washing is hard work and the planet pays a high price: a single load done at 60 c, dried in a combined washer-dryer, results in a 7.2 lb carbon footprint.

So is it really possible to smell fresh this summer without wasting water? I collected a week’s worth of sweaty running shirts from my husband Anthony and put the latest products to the test . . .

Tanith Carey and husband Anthony put the latest products designed for cleaning clothes to the test. Pictured: Tanith with the Bosch FreshUp


Bosch FreshUp, £249.99 (bosch-home.co.uk)

On a sticky day in summer, who hasn’t turned up at work or at an event worried they don’t smell as fresh as they would like — even if they’ve piled on the deodorant?

Enter the Bosch FreshUp, a 16 cm handheld electronic device you can pass over your clothes, even while you are still wearing them, to get rid of smells.

It uses plasma — freely roaming negatively and positively charged particles.

When the device, which is charged like a phone, is turned on and passed over the fabric, it dispenses an invisible gas cloud of these plasma particles.

Makers Bosch say the device is calibrated to use just the right amount of energy to clear smells without harming the fabric.

VERDICT: It’s a hot day, so I try it on the underarms of the dress I’m wearing. It silently glows white, then purple to show the plasma is ‘active’ as I pass it over the fabric like a lint roller. Yet as I use the FreshUp I notice not sweat, but a plasticky, synthetic waft.

I am told this is the plasma breaking up the original odour, and will quickly fade. When I really put it to the test on my husband’s sweaty T-shirt, it takes about two minutes to cover the whole garment.

Then I turn it inside out to zap the odour molecules inside.

While it still looks a bit worse for wear, the smell has faded. Despite the price, there’s no doubt this would be useful on days when deodorant isn’t quite enough.8/10


W’Air Complete Clothing Care System, £199 (selfridges.com)

Tanith said W’Air Complete Clothing Care System (pictured) could lengthen time between washes and be useful spot-stain removal 

Washing and drying a load every two days creates around 440 kg of carbon dioxide each year, which is about the same as flying from London to Glasgow and back with 15-mile taxi rides to and from the airports.

It also accounts for a third of clothing’s carbon footprint, according to research.

This portable, plug-in unit aims to take a more targeted, sustainable approach by using 90 per cent less water.

An adjustable nozzle sends a blast of water, air and detergent to ‘actively collide’ with dirt and odour, blitzing them out of the fabric to spot-clean stains, deep-clean delicates and refresh murky smelling items.

VERDICT: After filling the small tank with water and the detergent provided, I lay a dirty T-shirt flat on the mat provided and put the nozzle as close to the fabric as possible. It feels like I am giving his top a mini jet-wash.

As well as deodorising, I try to blast a few stains, too. At first, it’s slow-going. But the secret seems to be getting the angle right — holding the nozzle at 45 degrees is better for making marks fade.

This ‘refresh’ setting moistens rather than soaks and, thankfully, the detergent doesn’t need rinsing. Ten minutes later, it’s air dry, less smelly but with a faint whiff remaining.

It could never replace my washing machine but I can see how it could lengthen time between washes and be useful for spot-stain removal. 7/10


Philips Steam&Go Plus, £64.99 (johnlewis.com)

Tanith said Philips Steam&Go Plus (pictured) removed wrinkles but left her husband’s sweaty t-shirt still whiffy 

Philips says this steam cleaner kills 99.9 per cent of common bacteria found on your garments.

This helps because it’s not actually your perspiration which smells — the odour is a by-product of the bacteria clinging to the sweat.When these are killed off by the heat of the steam, there’s less smell.

VERDICT: I plug in the gadget, shaped like a blunt axe, and fill the small water chamber in the handle.

Within seconds, it emits a stream of steam, albeit with quite a lot of spluttering, which is frustrating as I would like a steady flow. I hang the sweaty T-shirt on a hanger and pass the head up and down it, and am pleased to see the wrinkles fall out.

However, after two minutes, the T-shirt is still whiffy.

I put on the heat-proof glove it comes with, so I can steam the shirt from the inside without burning myself.

The result is better but not great. Anthony could probably wear this to the pub without offending anyone, but I am dying to stick it in a 40c wash as soon as I get the chance.5/10


Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaning Starter Kit With Bag, Breeze Clean Scent, £18.99 (amazon.co.uk)

Tanith said Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaning Starter Kit (pictured) left her daughter’s jeans soft and crease-free 

Dry-cleaning can clear out our wallets along with our wardrobes, costing the average family £320 a year.

This leaves many items in limbo as we wait for it to be ‘worth’ dry-cleaning them. But this kit claims to be a viable alternative.

You put your clothes in the zip-up bag provided, along with a special dry-cleaning cloth, and throw it in the tumble dryer. The heat inside is supposed to produce ‘a vapour of patented cleaning agents which gently removes odours and body soils from the clothes’. For extra oomph, there’s a stain-removing pen and a wrinkle-relaxing spray.

VERDICT: I put the T-shirt in the bag with four other items, including a velvet cushion cover and a pair of my daughter’s crumpled jeans, and put it in my tumble dryer set to medium for 20 minutes.

When I took out the shirt, it was fluffed up but still very smelly.

Where this kit did excel was on denim. When I return my daughter’s rumpled jeans to her within half an hour, soft and crease-free, she is amazed.

Yet this clearly isn’t great for the planet — tumble dryers are very energy-hungry, and my cushion cover certainly didn’t have that freshly dry-cleaned feel.3/10


Fabulosa Spray & Wear, £1.15 (myfabulosa.co.uk)

Tanith said Fabulosa Spray & Wear (pictured) is a value-for-money option at just £1.15 and up to 400 applications per bottle

A range of spray-and-wear products have hit the market to refresh the garment between washes.

This product comes with a wrinkle releaser — a chemical that relaxes the fabric so the creases fall out.

To kill the bacteria that make the smells in the first place, it also contains a fabric- friendly disinfectant.

VERDICT: I spray the T-shirt from 20 cm in a sweeping motion as recommended — and use enough to make it slightly damp.

While it’s supposed to kill the bacteria spawning the bad smell, most of all, I suspect, it overpowers them with the strong bubblegum-like scents, like Hula Honolulu and Miami Sun, which are far from subtle. At just £1.15 and up to 400 applications per bottle, this is a value-for- money option.

And if you are not going anywhere this summer, the exotic scents will transport you to tropical islands anyway.4/10


Black Pepper And Ginger Essential Drops, £18 (essentialdrops.co.uk)

Tanith said Black Pepper And Ginger Essential Drops (pictured) left her husband’s trainers smelling of ginger and black pepper 

It’s not just clothes that smell during the summer.

Feet and their 250,000 sweat glands are targeted by bacteria such as Kyetococcus sedentarius, which particularly like dark, damp environments like shoes where they can feast on dead skin cells.

They form volatile sulphur compounds, which give feet their characteristic smell.

This essential oil combination has a very small molecular structure that seals in moisture to prevent bad smells escaping, as well as an antibacterial to kill germs in the first place.

VERDICT: When I put a few drops in my husband’s trainers overnight, the effect is startling.

I am not sure if the original smell has been obliterated or masked. However, when I eventually plucked up the courage to sniff, all I got was a powerful scent of ginger and black pepper — much preferable to mouldy cheddar.6/10

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