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Patagonia and HeiQ Are Making Minty Fresh Fabrics

HeiQ and Patagonia are taking their long-standing research collaboration to the next level with the introduction of a jointly developed odor control technology for textiles called HeiQ Fresh MNT.

HeiQ co-founder and CEO Carlo Centonze told Sourcing Journal it took two years to develop HeiQ Fresh MNT, which he said is created from renewably sourced mint oil-derived textile technology to control how odors develop on textiles.

Inspired by Patagonia’s determination to continuously improve the chemistry it uses, Centonze said the two innovative companies share a similar environmental and social philosophy that inspired their seven-year partnership. Patagonia gives the ideas and sets the principles, and HeiQ uses its expertise in specialty chemical formulation and application to textiles to create finishings that stand out for their sustainability and functionality.

“Most of textiles [are] made out of polyester, almost 70 percent, and polyester has a big downside–it starts smelling very quickly when you wear it,” Centonze said. “When it starts to smell, studies have shown that consumers will wash it. If we can delay the smell perception consumers have of textiles, we can delay the washing decision.”

He noted that washing uses electricity, which causes CO2 emissions, and laundered clothing leeches microfibers that infiltrate waterways and are “killing the ocean.” Washing also degrades textiles over ti e, “so if you wash less, your textile lasts longer,” Centonze said.

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“So add it all up, if we can control the odors, we can improve the life cycle assessment of a textile and we can lower the environmental footprint,” he said.

Centonze noted that HeiQ Fresh MNT is the latest addition to the HeiQ Fresh family of sustainable odor management technologies, complementing the company’s mineral-based HeiQ Fresh HAX and the bio-based HeiQ Fresh FFL. HeiQ Fresh MNT uses a renewable and responsibly sourced mint oil-based textile technology to provide fabrics with a long-lasting odor control capability that keeps garments smelling fresh and wearers feeling clean and comfortable all day long.

“Our partnership with Patagonia has always been productive as they constantly stretch our innovative capabilities,” Centonze said. “It therefore comes as no surprise that we were able to discover the powerful properties of mint as an active ingredient for our next generation odor control technology. HeiQ Fresh MNT is further confirmation of our dedication to enhance people’s lives with sustainable innovation. With odor control you need to wash less, saving water, detergent, energy, microfiber and prolong[ing] the life of garments.”

Patagonia, as the development partner, is the first to commit to the technology and will start to upgrade its products in the near future, but Centonze said HeiQ Fresh MNT will be made available to the overall market after some pilot testing, likely by the end of the year.

“HeiQ is a valuable innovation partner and we’re really excited about this technology,” Laura Hoch, material innovation engineer at Patagonia, said. “Not only does HeiQ Fresh MNT keep garments fresh in a sustainable way, it performs even better than what we currently use. We have been relentlessly testing this technology and lining up the supply chain to bring products enhanced with HeiQ Fresh MNT to the market as quickly as possible.”

Centonze said HeiQ Fresh MNT is derived from a combination of mint oils. Several companies have adopted mint as a key anti-odor ingredient of late. Last year, Polartec said it was switching from metal-based odor-fighting agents to peppermint oil. The move marks an evolution away from common additives to a renewable and biodegradable solution.

Partnering with Life Natural, Burlington incorporated its proprietary odor control technology, Odorblock, into the bacteria-fighting power of plants to control perspiration odors and preserve fabric freshness. Life Natural is a bio-based odor control technology that uses peppermint oil as the key active ingredient. The essential oil of peppermint is extracted using steaming, excluding any use of solvents or other chemicals.

Active in multiple markets, including textiles, carpets, antimicrobial plastics, conductive coatings, medical devices, probiotic household cleaners, personal care and hospital hygiene, HeiQ is an innovation partner for more than 300 global brands.