cleaning organically since 2006



What does clean really smell like? Many conventional cleaning products that are laden with chemicals come in a variety of appealing scents. However, what does that prove? If your home smells of mountain “fresh” air, fields of daisies, fresh baked apple pie, or vanilla does that mean it is clean? Consumers have equated the smell of their cleaning products with their efficacy and ultimately that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, consumer focus groups conducted by The Haystack Group identified smell as an important criteria cleaning service customers use in evaluating the quality of the cleaning. One focus group participant summed it up in a nutshell, stating “When I walk through the front door, I smell that smell and I know that Maid Brigade has been here and my home is clean.” We have been programmed by cleaning companies and product manufacturers of cleaning agents to believe that if your house doesn’t smell a certain way, then it isn’t thoroughly cleaned.

The sad truth is that these common cleaners, such as bleach, contain ingredients which can actually be harmful to our health especially if inhaled. The fragrances themselves can actually be harmful. Many of the fragrances are artificial and these perfumes and scents can cause some people to have allergic reactions and can even trigger asthma. Could your cleaning products be contributing to your sinus, allergy, or asthma problems?

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are common in conventional household cleaners. These compounds are incredibly dangerous because they are manufactured to remain in the air for long periods of time- think air fresheners. According to the EPA, VOCs are emitted as gases and include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.  VOCs commonly used in cleaning and fragrance products include propane, butane, ethanol, and phthalates. Propane is a suspected neurotoxin and respiratory toxicant. Butane is a neurotoxicant. Ethanol has been reported to be a carcinogen as well as an endocrine toxicant, liver toxicant, neurotoxicant, and reproductive toxicant.

Although the Federal Hazardous Substances Act requires cautionary labels for hazardous household products, manufacturers are not required to list all ingredients. The ingredients in household cleaners are considered proprietary information, or trade secrets, and as such the government does not require their disclosure at this time. This means you have absolutely no idea what your family is inhaling daily when you break out your favorite air freshener or cleaning product.

Ultimately we all want to do what is best for our family, but we have been tricked by slick marketing into believing certain cleaning products are a must for a germ-free home. The truth is that these products are simply chemical cocktails that kill germs, but also harm your body in the process.  Medical evidence shows that these chemicals have a cumulative effect in the body and once in your body they are very difficult to get out of the body. This means once the lingering scent is gone from your home, your body is still battling those toxins in your body that you inhaled. Exposure to fragrance chemicals adds to the ‘total body load’ of synthetic chemicals, which can greatly increase the chance of developing health problems.

So if artificial scent or the smell of chemical cleaners doesn’t equate to a clean home, what does? What should a clean home smell like? The answer is simple- it should smell like nothing at all. A clean home is one free of scent.

As people we love pleasing scents, so what can you do if you prefer a smell to the smell of clean? Using essential oils or fresh flowers is the best way to get a beautiful and natural scent in your home. All cleaning products used at Envivia clean with scent are from natural or organic fragrance.

Where you under the misconception that clean had a scent?

Comments are closed.