Does clean have a scent? Products advertise "lemon fresh" or "lavender clean" but I've heard those products leave behind harmful chemicals. How does 7th Generation differ from other products out there with their scents? Or do they scent their items at all?
In your home, "clean" does not need to smell like anything. Many cleaning products contain fragrance to mask offensive odors or provide a lingering scent for the pleasure of the consumer. Functionally, fragrances do not improve the performance of a cleaning product, meaning they do not "clean" anything. Conventional scented products typically include synthetic fragrance additives labeled as "parfum", "fragrance" or "fragrance oils".
In the U.S., manufacturers of consumer products are not required to disclose ingredient constituents or define the term "fragrance", so there may be no knowing exactly which chemicals you are being exposed to in each scent. Many studies have investigated the composition of conventional fragrances and found that synthetic fragrances contain up to hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which are irritants, allergens, skin sensitizers or can trigger the production of secondary air pollutants, like formaldehyde and smog. Fragrance has become a major concern for human health and has been linked to various conditions such as asthma, dermatitis, and various respiratory disorders.
Seventh Generation differs because we offer the consumer a choice between fragranced and non-fragranced products. Our scented products are fragranced with 100% whole essential oils or botanical extracts, not synthetic chemicals. We use fragrances that come from sustainable or organic plant-based resources using environmentally friendly extraction processes.
Seventh Generation does not allow VOCs in our products, so in order to reduce the concentration of the essential oil volatiles we add the least amount possible. However, it is important to understand that some natural essential oils are classified as allergens. People with known sensitivities to natural allergens, such as lavender, should avoid using products which contain lavender oil.
Seventh Generation limits the concentration of known allergens to less than 0.01% for rinse-off products and 0.001% for leave-on products. Seventh Generation fully discloses all ingredients on our website and product labels.
Seventh Generation also understands that the smell of clean is no smell at all. For people who prefer a scentless clean, we offer a complete line of Free & Clear cleaning products. Our Free & Clear products are specifically formulated to have no fumes, VOCs or fragrances. If you are concerned about the health effects of fragrance, use our Free & Clear products and clean your home without the added smell or harmful chemicals.
- Bridges, B. (2002). Fragrance: emerging health and environmental concerns. Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 17(5), 361-371.
- Lassen, C., Havelund, S., Mikkelson, S., Bondgaard, I., & Silberschmidt, M. (2008). Survey and health assessment of chemical substances in essential oils and fragrance oils: Danish Ministry of the Environment.
- Rastogi, S. C. (2002). Contents of selected fragrance materials in cleaning products and other consumer products. Denmark: National Environmental Research Institute and Danish Environmental Protection Agency.
- Steinemann, A. C. (2008). Fragranced consumer products and undisclosed ingredients. Environmental Impact Assessment Review.
How can I clean neck tie without sending it to the drycleaner, where they use not very green or safe cleaning processes?
Dear Green One: Conventional dry cleaners use the chemical perchloroethylene, also called "perc", which is a probable human carcinogen, hazardous air pollutant, water pollutant, and must be disposed of as hazardous waste [1-3].
In response to efforts to eliminate perc exposure and pollution, several alternative dry cleaning options are now available:
- Carbon Dioxide Cleaning: This process uses captured carbon dioxide from the production of other industrial chemicals, as well as natural sources, to clean clothes in high-pressure machines. Because the process does not produce any new CO2 it does not contribute to global climate change. This process is considered environmentally preferable to perc by the EPA. Consumer Reports tested carbon dioxide-based cleaning systems in 2003 and found that carbon dioxide cleaning is actually more effective than traditional dry-cleaning with perc. Find a carbon dioxide cleaner near you.
- Professional Wet Cleaning: This process uses water as a solvent in special machines, along with specially-formulated detergents and additives that are typically biodegradable. This process is considered environmentally preferable to perc by the EPA. Find a professional wet cleaner near you.
If neither option is available in your area, or if you want to take a more do-it-yourself route you can try these options:
- Dryer Steam Cleaning: If your dryer has a steam cleaning option follow the manufacturer’s directions. If not, dry your tie with a damp, colorfast towel to steam clean.
- Hand Wash + Professional Pressing: You always have the option to hand wash your garment and line dry. Follow that up with a professional pressing from the local dry cleaner for that crisp look.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer. (2006) IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Complete list of agents evaluated and their classification.
- Michael Moran. Contamination of Ground Water by PCE – A National Perspective. U.S. Geological Survey.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological profile for tetrachloroethylene.