Why Add Anything?

Contributing Writer: Misako Lauritzen

The question has been on my mind lately. It started out with my newly acquired allergy with men's cologne. Several months ago I started to have difficulties with breathing whenever I am in the vicinity of men wearing a cologne. I would feel as if I had swallowed particles of a scent and would start to get chocked. Women's perfumes are yet to affect me till this day, but I live in the constant fear of ending up in an elevator with a well-groomed man or of meeting one in a business setting.

And I began to notice that it might not be just cologne. I would get affected by a certain type of shower cleaners, the kind that you spray on the walls after taking a shower. I am "semi-conscious" about health and environment, so I make a point of purchasing "natural" "ecology-minded" national brands whenever I could. My shower cleaner was the product of one of those major brands, but still I would cough and choke every time I sprayed the product.

I was clearly developing sensitivity to a scent, chemical components of a scent, to be exact. Once I became aware of it, I began to think about them rather obsessively. I began to wonder why add anything to begin with. What is with our collective misconception with "clean scents."

When you clean, you are getting rid of dirt, gunk, dust, slime, or any other offending substances. If you are getting rid of them, the end result should be back to the square one, zero. And yet, we add this "clean scents." We have been conditioned to think cleanliness should smell a certain way. When we do not smell anything, we feel like we haven't done a sufficient job; the product has not done a sufficient job. I don't even like the smell of Pine-Sol, but making sure that the whole room smells like one has always given me assurance that now my living space is germ free.

Then my friend and owner of Freshique, Jill Sarmiento, the aromatherapist extraordinaire, enlightened me on the issue. She told me natural scents do not linger. If a smell stays longer than a few minutes, you can be certain that it is because it contains some kind of chemical enhancements to keep the smell.

Somehow that made sense to me. And she gave me the cleaners that she has been developing to try. I did and loved it. It has "natural scent," which means you may get a whiff of a faint scent but it does not linger. Contrary to the popular belief, it cleans perfectly well. I have tried her All Purpose Cleaner and Heavy Duty Cleaner. With Heavy Duty Cleaner, you can clean oven-tops. I am no longer afraid to spray sparingly. I am no longer having to hold my breath when I clean.

Thank God. It is fun to clean again.

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