Clean is not a Smell!
When we think of the word “clean”, our minds go right to a smell: pine, lemon, ocean breeze, lavender, or some other fresh scent. The reason we think this way is because modern cleaning agents are filled with strong scents to help mask the smell of their harsh chemical ingredients or make them more pleasant to the end user. The fragrance in a cleaner does not contribute to its cleaning ability!
The same goes for indoor spaces. If a space smells “clean” that doesn’t mean that it is. Often, we use strong fragrances to mask odors caused by harmful bacteria and fungi without killing those pathogens.
That’s why it’s hard for some people to transition to chemical free alternatives like aqueous ozone because it has no fragrance, but just because it’s not scented, that doesn’t mean that it’s ineffective. Quite the opposite. Chemical and fragrance-free alternatives are often more effective at removing pathogens and creating healthy spaces.
The fragrances found in many commercial cleaners themselves pose health risks. While they are often meant to smell like “natural” places like the ocean or a pine forest, these fragrances are far from natural and pose their own long-term health risks. According to the American Lung Association (ALA) many fragrances found in household cleaners and air fresheners contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).1 VOCs are chemicals that vaporize at room temperature creating indoor pollutants. The effects of VOCs in an indoor space can be as immediate as an allergic reaction to as long term as cancer.2