We all know that one of the goals of cleaning is to make our environment more pleasant to be in.

Manufacturers spend a lot of time, effort & money to give their products a pleasing, long-lasting & effective odor. With the right smell, the cleaning products we use can be made to seem however the producer wants them to be perceived by the end-user (stronger, milder, disinfectant, fresh, etc.).

We thought it would be valuable to our audience to get a better understanding of what to look for & how to evaluate the various scents out in the marketplace. After all, we all want the world to be a sweeter smelling place.

What are fragrances?

Basically, scents are derived from essential oils – either natural or synthetic. The more expensive natural oils are distilled from various plants such as rose, jasmine or lavender. Less pricey synthetic oils, also called fragrance oils, are typically found in cleaning products. Very cheap, low quality synthetics tend to have a sharp & unpleasant odor.

Scent families

The main categories of fragrances are the following: floral, citrus or fruit, oriental & herbal. Cleaning products can have any or a combination of the above. However, most cleaning products usually are either herbal (pine) or citrus (lemon).

Odor Counteractants , Deodorizers & Disinfectants

It is important to recognize the different ways used to control odors. Odor counteractants (also known as malodorants) are products that actually destroy the odor itself. They employ technology that actually changes the odor on a molecular level thus making it undetectable by our noses. Malodorants also will have a scent of their own to help with the process. These products are mostly used by professionals & are found at janitorial supply stores.

In contrast, deodorizers are strictly a cover up to mask offensive odors. Their effectiveness can vary according to the extent of the problem. Through trial & error and many years of experience, manufacturers have become very adept at developing scents that overpower and neutralize bad smells. However, once the deodorizing scent has dissipated the unpleasant odor will return.

Disinfectants are a whole other class of products. They eliminate odors by attacking their source. Using germ & bacteria killing chemicals, disinfectants (or germicides) clean surfaces of odor producing mold, mildew & other nasty bugs. While this class of products will have a scent of their own their value is derived from their ability to kill the actual odor source.

What to do?

Here is a general guide for what fragrances help best for various odors.

Best suited fragrance
Bathroom odors grapefruit or orange
Kitchen odors lemon
Smoke odors hibiscus & other floral scents
Animal odors potpourri, oriental
Garbage odors tropical & botanical (i.e. chamomile) scents
Musty & Mildew odors fresh scents (sea breeze, jungle rain, etc.)
Perspiration & other Human odors pine, baby powder & perfume scents

We hope this helps you a little to unravel the world of fragrances used in the never-ending cleaning battle we all must wage. However, as we leap into the 21st. century the latest trend for cleaning products is to have no scent at all. It remains to be seen if our world can be made clean enough so that indeed we will no longer need artificial scents to make it a pleasant place to live in.

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