The main problem with cleaning products is that there really are no rules requiring manufacturers to list the fragrances. There are laws requiring them to mention certain ‘known to be’ toxic chemicals, but that’s all.
Sometimes you can get clues from the label. “Fragrance Free” and “Unscented” may mean that there is no fragrance added, and it may not. It could be that there is no detectable fragrance odor, but they may have added a “masking fragrance”. Which, for me, is worse than a fragrance because I can’t smell the harmful part.
Other clues of things to avoid – Anything that says something like “Fresh Clean Scent” has a fragrance in it. It may not be listed, but those words are a definite sign that there’s a fragrance on board.
Products that say things like “Free of Perfumes”, “No added fragrance”, and such are your best bet. That usually means staying away from most of the “commercial” brands. They’re main concern never seems to be health or our environment, but only the almighty dollar!
One of the real quandries I’ve found is in scented automatic dishwasher detergent. A few years back, my husband and I were buying dishwasher detergent. And he asked me, “What fragrance do you want for your dishes?” My answer is NONE. At that point, I hadn’t found anything without a fragrance. So, I had some things that were not allowed in the dishwasher. Such as the lid to my travel coffee mug. I use it everyday, and since the plastic lid absorbed the fragrance, I couldn’t use it if it had been in the dishwasher. I also could only run the dishwasher when I was away from the kitchen or out of the house because the fragrance found its way throughout the room.
And that’s why one of my favorite companies is Natural Choices. I use their Oxy-Dish Automatic Dishwasher Detergent; I buy it in the 18 pound bucket. One bucket usually lasts us a year, so it’s not as expensive as it may seem. I also buy their floor cleaner – Clean & Free Floor Cleaner Concentrate.
A sometimes source for fragrance free products is your local health food store – Whole Foods, Sun Harvest, etc. But, if you’re as sensitive as I am, be careful. Some of the products have things like “Orange Oil” in them. While it is natural, it is often highly concentrated.
Someone just sent me a tip about Shaklee products. I haven’t tried them yet, but am adding them to my list.