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How To Avoid The Dangers Of Synthetic Fragrances In Your Cleaning Products (& Why It Matters)

Updated: Mar 31

Ahhh....there’s no better smell in the world than a house that’s been freshly cleaned, right? Well, before you inhale too deeply it’s probably worth knowing that those “fresh and clean” smells could be messing with your health and well-being in a massive way. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of the most popular household cleaning products only smell the way they do because they are relying on synthetic fragrances that can be hazardous and damaging. Did you know that about 95% of chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum? They include benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene, and many other known toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, and allergic name a few.

The truth is that there are no health benefits to artificial fragrances - their only purpose is to trick your brain into thinking that something is clean because of the way it smells, despite the impact on your health. Fragrances are also added to products as masking agents. A lot of the chemicals used in commercial cleaning products smell intrinsically unappealing, so synthetic fragrance needs to be added to neutralize the unpleasant odor.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative impact of artificial fragrances and synthetics, you’ve probably noticed that they feel unavoidable when you’re perusing the cleaning aisle at your local grocery store. Unfortunately, there are very few truly fragrance-free mainstream cleaning products, and the products that are fragrance-free are rarely “clean.”

But if a cleaning product has synthetic fragrance in it, you should at least be able to tell from the label if it’s harmful or unnecessary, right? Here’s where it gets a little murky. According to the FDA, under U.S. regulations, fragrance and flavor ingredients can be listed simply as “Fragrance” or “Flavor.” Here’s why: FDA requires the list of ingredients under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). This law is not allowed to be used to force a company to tell “trade secrets.” Fragrance and flavor formulas are complex mixtures of many different natural and synthetic chemical ingredients, and they are the kinds of cosmetic components that are most likely to be “trade secrets.” So anyone that is trying to avoid synthetic fragrances can check ingredient lists on cleaning products, but won’t have an easy time getting the full picture. Ingredient lists on mainstream cleaning products tend to keep artificial fragrance information ambiguous on purpose.

So, for those of us that are trying to avoid unnecessary chemicals and toxins in our everyday life, what can be done? How do we ensure that our homes are clean, without risking our health to do so? It’s time to make the switch to all-natural cleaning products. In the past, that may have felt daunting, but the options available to switch to non-toxic and highly effective cleaning products are better than ever. You don’t have to start scrubbing your bathroom with baking soda and stinky vinegar (but you can if you want to!). Instead, you can use citrus bathroom spray that’s been scented with all-natural plant-derived d-limonene and Australian tea tree essential oil. Instead of using a bleaching agent that’s scented artificially, you can look for products that contain food-grade hydrogen peroxide or castile soap. There actually are companies that create ethical cleaning products that are safe for you, your family, your pets, and the planet - and they are affordable too. You don’t have to be tied to toxicity anymore, and you can enjoy a home that smells fresh and clean and where every breath you inhale is aiding your health, rather than harming it. You deserve to feel safe in your own home, and synthetic fragrances shouldn’t force you to diminish that safety.

To shop some of Yoo Clean’s beloved, naturally-scented cleaning products, visit our shop page here. You will find a fully-transparent ingredient list, the purest essential oils (no blends here!), and full knowledge of where the plant every product is derived from originated and grew. We even offer subscriptions so you never run out of the things you depend on to keep your household clean, like laundry detergent, surface sprays, and more.


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