It’s time that we talk about the funky little problem that happens when you regularly wear black leggings, otherwise known as the mysterious ~crotch funk~. It isn’t like we don’t regularly wash our leggings, but there’s something about our fave “pants” (the jury is still out on this one. Pants, or not pants? We’ll never know.) that leaves us straight up smelly.
In an interview with Refinery29, Rachel McQueen, a professor at the University of Alberta, talked about this strange odor. “There is so little known about the science of it,” McQueen said. “The mechanism of odor from humans is so complex. There might be research going on in-house (at textile manufacturers), but it’s all quite confidential.”
While there is no definite answer for why our leggings always have such an unpleasant (to say the least) scent, there are a few ways McQueen suggests that we can avoid the stench.
Here’s how you can avoid the legging funk:
1. Play around with fabrics.
If it’s our vaginas causing this smell, getting rid of the scent is going to be highly individualized. Figure out what works for you by trying different fabrics. Give wool a shot, see how rayon feels, and see how good ol’ cotton stands up to the test. Different levels of crotch humidity (science is so yummy, guys) are going to create different environments for bacteria, and so you’ve got to play the field a bit to figure out which leggings are right for your vag.
2. Kill the stink naturally.
Whether with tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, or another anti-bacterial, try going beyond your regular laundry detergent to see if its possible to scrub the smell from your leggings.
3. Wear other colors.
For whatever reason, whether coincidence or otherwise, black leggings seem to cause the most stress when it comes to the smelly issue. “Maybe it’s something in the dye,” McQueen says. Go for gray, or another neutral color, or maybe go bright and printed.
4. Or, hey, rock your crotch “stink” with pride.
We’re taught to freak out about how our vaginas look and smell pretty much 24/7. Unless you have symptoms that suggest a yeast infection (pain or burning when you urinate or have sex, intense fishy smell, or cottage cheese-like discharge), learn to be comfortable with your crotch. Plus, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else is noticing how you smell.