Does Fragrance Equal to Clean Air

If I asked what does a clean room look like?

Most people would say it “smells good”. However, when you think for a moment, a clean room doesn’t necessarily have a smell at all!

If it’s clean, it’s supposed not to have any dirt, bad odour or any potentially unhealthy substance. Clean doesn not mean fragrant smell

But manufacturers of cleaning products have been promoting the message for decades that a clean space should have a “good smell”; be it lavender, pine, lemon or myriad others. The downside of this is that the scents they add typically come from petroleum-based fragrances. These substances are likely to cause hormone disruption and allergic reactions.

What fragrances are made of

Fragrances are made up of synthetic substances, including

  1. Allergens
  2. Phthalates
  3. Sensitizers


According to a study, fragrances are collectively considered among the top 5 allergens in the world. Also, researchers at the Universities of Washington and West Georgia surveyed the experiences of people with fragranced cleaning supplies and found that nearly one in five suffered headaches, breathing difficulties or other problems when exposed to air fresheners.

But consumers have developed the need to have a scent in their cleaning products. So that’s what manufacturers focus on during production. They create these fragrances that appeal to people’s new sense of cleanliness.

Read more about allergies.


Phthalates are known as “endocrine disruptors” and have been linked to health issues like reproductive problems, breast cancer, infertility, and birth defects. Most scented products contain phthalates and some phthalates were even banned in Europe.


Sensitizers are chemicals that cause some repeatedly exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue. Respiratory sensitizers can first cause symptoms similar to a cold or mild hay fever. Eventually, severe asthmatic symptoms such as chest tightness, difficulty in breathing and/or coughing can be developed. A severe attack can even cause death.

The troubling part is that there is no required ingredient disclosure for cleaning products. “Fragrance” is considered proprietary information. It is a blend of chemicals that could contain pretty much anything.

Read more about air fresheners.


The impact of fragrances on clean air

The fragrances added to these products are designed to be airborne. So once they are applied, every person in the room will be absorbing those substances into their lungs. Your space might be clean of dirt and germs now, but full of chemicals floating around.

In an attempt to raise awareness on this issue, the Environmental Working Group, an independent consumer advocacy group in United States, gives “Fragrance” very high hazard ratings of 8 and 10. They focus on personal care products, but their overview of “fragrance” applies to house cleaning products as well.

What clean air smells like

Think for a moment of what fresh air smells like in nature. Just you on the top of a mountain taking a deep breath of a pleasant breeze. What would you smell? Well, nothing! The fact is that clean air does not have a particular smell and cannot be bottled up into cleaning products at all.

The shocking truth is that there are many natural homemade cleaning recipes that are safer, but they don’t appeal to people as much because of the lack of scent.


Our aim is to help you become an informed consumer and help you protect your health. Although ingredient disclosure is not required for cleaning products, bear in mind that if a product has a smell, then it has a fragrance – unless they contain essential oils. However, manufacturers don’t add essential oils to these products because that would increase the price substantially.

Purlife offers a solution that cleans the air effectively and does not involve hazardous fragrances. With our air purifier at home, you can remove up to 99.97% of pollutants and allergens, and have a real smell of cleanliness – no smell.