Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you get a whiff of something, or even a really strong, nasty smell for a minute or two, does that mean you are then going to smell like that?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42454points) August 23rd, 2016

When you get a whiff of something outside, does that mean you’re going to smell like that for a while? Like, getting a whiff of new mown grass, or the first rain on a hot sidewalk. Or what about running over a freshly killed skunk on the road, and the car just FILLS with the smell? Even after rolling down the window, it still takes several minutes for the air to clear. Does this mean you and your clothes are going to smell like skunk until you shower and change?

Again, this is outside. If a skunk let off in your house, and there was very little way to dissipate it then yeah, you and your house and everything you own is going to stink for weeks.
But just catching the smell outside?

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7 Answers

jca's avatar

I think it depends on what it is. Cigarette smoke, if you’re walking past smokers or in a room with it, even for a very brief time, yes. Sometimes the bathroom at work smells like shit and I won’t go in it because I don’t want that smell on my clothes. Sometimes at work my boss puts fish in the microwave, and then he sprays this weird smelling room spray to try to get the smell out of the room the microwave is in. I won’t go in there because I don’t want my clothes to smell like either the fish or the room spray.

There’s probably a scientific reason why some aromas will permeate and linger and stick to clothes and hair, and others, not so much. I don’t think freshly cut grass will. I read somewhere that coroners have the smell of death on them when they go home. I know people who cook will have the smell of the food in their clothes and hair. My grandmother used to cook a lot and she’d ask me to smell her hair, to see if it needed to be washed (in the days when people didn’t always take showers every day), and the cooking smells would make her hair smell.

BellaB's avatar

Some things absolutely have that effect. I don’t know what the chemistry of it is, but some odors/scents stick to people / clothing with a vengeance. I find non-natural odors (such as perfume/cigarettes) the absolute worst. And of course, perfume-wearers and smokers have singed the receptors in their nostrils or something and can’t tell how bad the lingering scent is.

I remember getting my scent receptors back after I quit smoking and thinking, oh, man, could everyone smell that ?

@jca mentions fish. I’ve twice worked at places where people were not allowed to heat up/cook fish in the microwave and fish meals had to be eaten in the kitchenettes – not allowed into the work spaces – because of all the complaints.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What if these things were outside? Someone having a fish fry outside? Or wearing heavy perfume, but outside? Would it really cling to you if you just walked past them and smelled it?

That is the reason that the examples I gave were outside examples. (I should have included that in the details.) I mean, sure. Inside things are going to linger because they have no place else to go, and settle on your skin and clothes.

Zaku's avatar

I think it depends both on the thing, and on what you’re wearing, and possibly a bit on the weather conditions.

Perfume I don’t think will stick much without touching.

Smoke will. So yes to the smoke from a fish fry, but much less, I’d expect, for just sitting next to someone with a plate of fish, unless maybe it was still steaming and the steam was wafting onto you.

Different fabrics also catch stuff in the air more or less.

BellaB's avatar

Oh gawd, fish fries. That smell lasts in your clothes. I never bring clothes I’ve worn to a fish fry inside until it’s been hung up to air out for a while – and then wash asap.

jca's avatar

I find that being in certain restaurants, the smells will cling. For example, Indian food. Very pungent, very clingy.

Some people have a certain smell, and I suspect it’s something about their houses. Maybe from their pets, I’m not sure. It’s not a detergent smell, it’s not a body smell, it’s more like a house smell that sticks to them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, indoors the odors are trapped. Outside, not so much, unless you’re standing right in front of the grill for a while, like cooking, or in front of the fire with smoke blowing on you.

I don’t think catching a whiff of the nasty from time to time is going to contaminate your clothes.

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