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Are men who use most detergents unmanly wimps?
dennis Wyatt web
Dennis Wyatt

Laundry is gender specific?

That's what the folks - excuse me, men - at Hero Clean think.

It's why the firm's founder Mike Eaton has rolled out a detergent designed especially for men.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Eaton as saying "I don't use women's deodorant, soap or shampoo, but I have to throw my clothes in detergent that's been formulated and marketed to women."

So does Eaton think I'm a wimp because I use Tide with a touch of Downy that supposed smells "April Fresh"? To be honest I use a tad less than recommended. I'm more interested in my clothes being clean than "smelling clean." Clean is clean, period.

Then there's Frey detergent. Brothers Erin and Leif Frey were a bit taken aback by the fact detergents were virtually all spiked with feminine fragrances.

So they came up with a "manly" scent combining oak, musk, leather, bergamot, sandalwood, and frankincense.

No snickers please about their "manly" first names. All kidding aside, why do I want my clothes to smell like furniture, trees or a foo-foo fruit such as bergamot that's a fragrant orange with the coloring of a lemon? It doesn't sound like a "manly" orange to me.

Backers call the Freys' creation "real laundry detergent for the modern man" as well as "mantergent."

I call it a nightmare for the metrosexual who has to figure what type of body spray and cologne to wear with his shirt washed in Frey's male foo foo detergent.

I've got to be honest. I do not use after shave lotion. My shaving cream is the $1.50 can that has aloe. I use the $1.69 shampoo that is supposed to smell like the ocean breeze. I use original scent Irish Spring soap. I do not wear cologne although women occasionally ask me what I'm wearing. I tell them it's probably my deodorant as I use Arid XX Ultra Fresh which is the closest I can find to unscented.
I'm more concerned about whether the stuff works than its scent.

While I realize there are guys out there in their 20s who have more body sprays and colognes than Imelda Marcos had shoes, I just don't see much of a market for detergent specifically scented for men.

According to research by Whirlpool, I'm a typical guy when it comes to doing the laundry. I do not separate by colors. The only white I wear are socks. I separate by wear - underwear and exercise wear in one load and all my other clothes in the other load. Every other week I do a third load of primarily towels although occasionally I'll toss in a hooded sweatshirt or a pair of old cross-training shoes.

I use nothing but cold water, use the normal cycle virtually every time, and rarely pretreat.

The only thing I fold are towels. Socks and briefs just get tossed into place.

Where I part ways with the Whirlpool profile of men that do laundry is I hang all shirts - including T-shirts - to dry. So the Frey brothers and Hero Clean can forget about trying to come up with "manly" scents to compete with Bounce dryer sheets.

Upstart firms such as Hero Clean and cloud funded basement operations such as the Frey brothers aren't the only ones trying to convince men that they need their own detergent just like Virginia Slims tried to convince women they needed their own cigarette.

Proctor & Gamble has rolled out Tide Plus Febreze Sport detergent. I tried it once. I thought it might be even more neutral than Tide spiked with Downy. I got it a second time by mistake. The smell reminded me of my old high school gym bag after I left it in my PE locker over Easter break - you can tell how old I am as it wasn't called spring break - with my sneakers and gym attire after the last time I worked in them on a 90-degree day. If that is detergent manufactures' idea of a "manly" smell, I'll stick with the so-called feminine secrets that Leif and Erin eschew.

What has gotten the detergent giants in a tizzy and cloud funded upstarts smelling blood in the washing machine rinse cycle are consumer surveys such as the one by Mintel. Back in 2013, 44 percent of the men between 18 and 34 were mainly responsible for laundry compared to 67 percent today. At the same time 60 percent of men between 35 and 54 are doing the laundry while 35 percent of them men 55 and older - my demographic - are shoving clothes into the washer and dryer.

I can assure you that my fellow fogeys and I are sure enough of our masculinity we don't spend too much time worrying about the scent of our laundry detergent.

Maybe the makers of Persil and Spee detergents are onto something.

The detergent producer aired their first Super Bowl commercial this year featuring a James Bond-style spokesman designed to resonate with both men and women.

The firm believes laundry habits are driven by what parents select to best address needs of their children.

That might explain why I use Tide and why I don't view the smell of Downy as unmanly.

Perhaps real men don't need gender specific detergent scents.

This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.