Is It OK to Smell Good? | Seventh Generation
Skip to Content
  • Pin It

Is It OK to Smell Good?

Author: RealMomofNJ

One of the first things I learned when I was starting to go green was that added fragrances were often viewed as a no-no in the natural world. It made perfect sense -- fragrances did seem like a pleasant, but unnecessary, addition to things, and some people are sensitive to them -- so I got right on board with going scent-free. Over time, I replaced my scented cleaners, detergents, and hand soaps with fragrance-free varieties. Many of my scented products were conventional formulas that used synthetic fragrances to achieve their flowery perfumes, and the day I completed the transition to my new unscented life was a proud one for me. I had eliminated unnecessary odors from my home! My air would be perfumed by petroleum-derived fragrances no more!

After a few weeks, however, I started to feel like something was missing in my house. I just couldn't put my finger on what it was, though. Then one day, I was at my mom's, helping her fold laundry, and suddenly I knew. Her clothes smelled like lavender, and it was wonderful. Her kitchen smelled lemony clean, and I wanted to spend the day there. (In my house, everything now smelled like nothing. Except the dogs. They still smelled like dogs.) I realized that I missed having that extra little something in my life, that sense of well-being you get from a clean you can smell.

So to the store I went, and I treated myself to Seventh Generation's Natural Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender Concentrated Laundry Detergent instead of going with my usual, the Free & Clear. I decided that it is OK to smell good. I decided to allow some fragranced products into my home, as long as the fragrances started as real plants, not petroleum. It has been a week since I started using my new scented product, and I love it. The fragrance is present, but in a low-key way that lets me smell the clean without being overwhelmed.

Do you prefer scented or unscented products?


msk picture
msk I too, have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)and even organic essential oils can make me ill for days. I do miss scents, but even if I were healed completely of MCS I wouldn't use scented products because of all the other people who suffer with this condition. There are a few oils I can tolerate if used very lightly, but so many products that use essential oils are so fragranced it's just as bad as the chemical scents to we with MCS.
grampysgurl picture
I'm a Blue Eucalyptus & Lavender girl tough I am excited to try the new Geranium Blossoms & Vanilla scent. I have done away with petroleum based products in my home and have come to really enjoy the natural scents. I hang all of our clothes outside so any scent is really blown away with the breezes... it's a mental thing though.
jennvice picture
I wish that all natural people would remember that opening the windows isn't an option for everyone. It's a great choice for some but not everyone. I have horrible allergies to most pollens, mold, dust, etc. My ragweed is so bad I avoid chamomile tea. Fresh cut grass sends me running to my neti pot followed by my nasal spray and inhaler (yes all three to keep me from running to the Advil.) Since I started keeping my windows closed, I've cut my sinus infections down greatly and almost never use pain killers! I too have to go more natural with my products because that still makes a difference as well. Therefore I love adding lavender, tea tree oil, and orange oil to my products. Seventh Gen products and companies like them are great options even the ones that aren't clear of scent. I too like to have some scent in my house since the "great outdoors" makes me cringe.
coalmiba picture
Also, at Modkat: You can always shop online if the fragrance aisle is too overwhelming (thats what I do). Some websites that are lifesavers: (no tax or shipping if you spend over $50 and they have plenty of earth friendly and fragrance free options including Seventh Gen) (A full line of personal care and home products. A little bit more expensive but they use ONLY real ingredients and all ingredients are listed. NOTHING is fragranced artificially, the only smell comes from plants) (also a little pricier but they offer Seventh Gen and other great products) I also do not know where you live but a lot of grocery stores have delivery options, Stop N Shop has peapod for example.
coalmiba picture
Essential Oils can go a long way. I do not know if Seventh Gen makes any (not to my knowledge) but you can get amazing pure organic essential oils at Adding a few drops to your laundry, bath, cleaning products, etc is amazing. You can also use lavender bags from Trader Joes in the dryer with your clothes. And you can get naturally made perfumes and air freshener at Also check your local farmers market for pillows and other items made with herbs and essential oils. You can smell good and still have a chemical free lifestyle! Good Luck!
Lisa Padula picture
Lisa Padula
We are all unique in our feelings towards scents and fragrance. What works for me may not work for you, and we all need to swing on our own branch.However, if you enjoy a little light fragrance I may have a good idea for you. As a "cat Mom" and a allergy sensitive human I have to be very careful of the products I use.I adore the 7th Gen.products but have missed scents that often made me sneeze.I started using extracts that are used for cooking. A few drops of peppermint, coconut, orange, almond or strawberry on a gauze pad in the dryer.Or a few drops mixed in with my unscented detergent, dishwashing liquid or floor cleaner gives me a safe alternative for the humans, and the felines in the household.The cats enjoy laying in wait to ambush a freshly washed floor, and I never have to worry about them licking their paws afterwards.Try It!
modkat picture
If you had any clue how difficult it was for folks with MCS/Environmental Illness you would not consider scented products. Just for a moment walk in our shoes. Walk into a store and stop and notice all the fragrance. Its overwhelming and 'just a little' can completely ruin our day, leave us sick and unable to function. Then add those that feel they have to bathe in scents, its almost impossible to leave my home these days. There are many more fragrance free products out there, so I can be safe inside my home. But why they have to be on the same isle as the fragranced products I have no clue. Please can't someone realize there needs to be a fragrance free section to shop from! While I understand all of you that like natural scents, even those can make us very sick. Be kind and think of others, please go fragrance free. katmodgal
mlhsoap picture
You can still enjoy the wonderful scents in a natural way! Essential oils are the only thing we use anymore to scent our home and it helps lighten our mood too. Lavender, Orange, Eucalyptus, Patchouli(if you like it), Peppermint are just some of the natural scents that you can use. Put a few drops in an oil burner, or in a spray bottle with water...You can even use them to clean! My favorite kitchen cleaner is Lemon and Lavender in a spray bottle. Of coarse you need to read up on them first, but once you start you won't be able to stop. I can not live without them anymore!
redahi picture
Lavender, eucalyptus, and pine scents can harm so many people, especially children and even more so, infants. Everyone needs to take a step back and put themselves in those people’s shoes. People with MCS, EI, Asthma, Emphysema, COPD, and other respiratory disabilities can be harmed irreparably by just one whiff of these whether they are essential oils, organic, synthetic or any combination. Why would anyone want to inflict their “scent” onto these disabled people and possibly send them to the hospital or worse? Please, think before you stink!
avullo22 picture
I hate perfume! I enjoy light essential oils. It makes me nauseous when I smell petroleum based fragrances. I must have some kind of chemical sensitivity. Or maybe I just know too much. I imagine all the toxic chemicals and phthalates I am breathing in with every breath I take and it drives me crazy. The hardest part is I don't feel like I can express this hatred without people taking it the wrong way. There is no way to explain it all in a few sentences. Some people are so oblivious to these things and even explaining isn't going to change their ways... Oh what to do... Does anyone know about essentail oils and cats? I have read that cats cannot metabolize them like we do. I have 2 cats and I am really careful about where I spray essential oils and I rarely use an oil burner. I wish I could use them more. Any suggestions? Thanks, Seventh Generation, for the great products!
mummsy picture
I, too, have chemical sensitivity, and walking in a house with plug in scents or otherwise, can make me turn around and walk out!!! Unfortunately, I work in an office that does not have the greatest air circulation. There are some people I will not sit with at lunch and try not be close to because their clothes, perfume, cologne etc. make me sick. Many people do not realize that the laundry detergent/fabric softener they use, build up in the clothes, and it is extremely hard to get rid of. The more it's used, the stronger the smell. Why do many women feel that EVERYONE has to smell their perfume? I do not!!!
heuchera picture
I am in agreement with those who miss the fragrances. I quit cold turkey on all synthetic scents including my perfumes. Most of the time when someone passes me wearing synthetic perfumes, it makes me sick, but on occasion, if they are wearing an expensive one, I realize how much I miss fragrances. I did start adding essential oils to my cleaners, whether they are already packaged ones or the kind I make. I use rosemary and thyme for my kitchen and bath as is smells amazingly clean and kills germs. I use lemon oil in my furniture cleaner and lavender in my laundry. I also add the rosemary and thyme to my auto. dishwashing liquid instead of buying the kind with bleach in it. I love the day I clean my house. Smells amazing. But unfortunately, essential oil scents do not last as long as the synthetic ones. I guess that is the price you pay to be healthy. And luckily, I did find an organic spray perfume that I love the smell of so I can smell good too.
Jeannie Marie picture
Jeannie Marie
As someone who suffers from chemical allergies, I am definitely in the "no scent" camp. The cleaning product aisle a the grocery store is particularly difficult for me, but really anywhere in public is unpleasant. Most people don't even realize how many of the products that they use are scented. They also don't realize how debilitating having an allergy to fragrances can be. I can't even visit my brother because they use large amounts of heavily scented air freshener in their home. Although most of my allergies are to chemical based fragrances, I do have some problems with natural scents as well such as certain flowers and even oranges! So, be kind to your fellow man, not to mention the planet and try going scent free whenever possible.
seventhgenerationforus picture
I hate to be negative, but I too feel that I miss the fragrances in our home. Unfortunately, I don't feel that seventh generation fragrances make it past the bottle. I cannot smell them at all on our clothing. For the price they cost I would like to have more essential oils or whatever it is that makes it smell nice. Also, I would love some more warm smells, eg. sandalwood. Furthermore, why does "free and clear" cost more than the the scented ones?
bbhd picture
why why why why why why why why???? why does anything need to have scents added!?? it is totally unnecesary in the home and on a business level, just adds expense. also remember folks ... there are lots of people with allergies or who simply find scents offensive and overbearing (patchouli or essential oils anyone!?). if you need a scent, buy some flowers. s
Vespasia picture
I have a friend who has multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and even "natural" scents can upset her, to go into a store that sells perfume or anything scented at all she has to wear a mask many other products that off gas can effect her too. I myself sing in a choir and we have an absolute ban on any kind of scent because many people are allergic or sensitive and scents also close up your throat, not good if you are a singer! So no scent is definitely my preference, clean should not smell in any way and I guarantee that once you get used to it, you will prefer it. Try walking up the cleaning product aisle and breathing deeply and see how it makes you feel, commercial products rely on chemicals for all these perfumes and they are toxic!
DotC picture
I have a super human sense of smell as well as allergies to strong scents. Add to that, anything that smells nice at first, when used to clean cat pee, will eventually be associated with cat pee so I have to change what I use regularly. Here in AZ, we can open the windows for at least Fall, Winter and Spring but in Summer, no way. To get rid of bathroom odors, human or cat, I am a big fan of candles. I am, as you would guess, very particular about the fragrance. No rose (or most flowers), peach or other super sweet smell. I got over citrus long ago. But my long term favorites are any pear or apple. Cedar wood is nice too if it isnt too strong. Dill is another smell that is clean for me. Clean can have a smell is clean water. Creosote, a desert bush that when it rains, smells like water to a sensitive nose. If someone could make a fragrance from creosote, I would buy it in a heart beat.
thedebaterness picture
I grew up with the smell of tide but have been so happy since I have gone "Scent free". I didn't really even notice it until I was in a house with some essential oils and it was overwhelming compared to what I'm used to now.
Diana2 picture
I'm just learning about 7th Generation products. The more I learn the more I'm anxious to try everything. I'm only familiar with the dish detergent and I've been recommending it to others. I'm sure I'll equally like the other products as I have the opportunity to try them. Thank you 7th Generation.
CatWoman57 picture
Some people don't realize that even "natural" scents can be problematic for people with Environmental Illness (i.e., Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). I have pretty severe MCS and cannot tolerate any of those things. Essential oils especially can be extremely strong and make me just as ill, if not more so, than other fragranced products. While I find many of those things smell very pleasant, they still affect me badly. Personally I find no smell is the best smell. But if I want to have something in my home, I will simmer some spices on the stove for a while.
marycarrie picture
Things that smell nice are essential to me. It's absolutely the only way I'm going to continue with this lifestyle. I think it's awesome that 7Gen makes products with fragrance that is not petroleum-based. Obviously, I'd love to bake fresh cookies everyday or open a window, but those are not even remotely possible options.
japan92254 picture
myvoodoo - you said that right. If I want fresh lemon smell , well I use fresh lemon. "just a little" sends many of us into a downhill spiral of sickness. "just a tiny bit" ruins many of us for days. Add a nice bouquet of flowers, or makes some spice tea on the stove. Bake cookies. Too many natural, excellent "good smells" to rely on something in a box, bottle, gel,etc.
amanda77kr picture
I like the house to smell like one scent, so I use mostly unscented cleaners and then burn a candle. I do love eucalyptus and lavender and orange and buy cleaners with those scents. But the bestest scent of them all is outside...I can't wait to have open windows all day!! It's a mix of grass and trees and wind and fresh laundry and heat. Perfect scent.
Anngrace picture
I love Seventh Generation's Eucalyptus and Lavender products. I also mix some of my own air fresheners and cleaning products using real essential oils (not fragrance oils). I have a book on using essential oils, but many times just put a little water, drops of essential oil, such as lavender, lemon, rose (very expensive though) and some vodka for the alcohol, in a small spray bottle and I have a safe air freshener. Also, many people may not realize that products such as dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent can do double duty; mix some product with water in a spray bottle and use to clean sinks and tubs and other cleaning jobs around the house.
myvoodoo picture
Honey, clean has no "smell". Give your dogs regular baths, clean your house,open the windows and you won't need a "smell" to cover it up!
PierinaM picture
I burn essential organic non-chemical, safe oils when I clean to give it that FRESH feel! Depending on my mood I burn: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Orange, and Geranium.. All have amazing aromatherapy qualities. It def. helps my mood and makes the entire house smell clean, NATURALLY! :)
Heidi Louvier picture
Heidi Louvier
For me, when I smell the scent of French lavender I am immediately sent into a more relaxed and calmer state. I used to use Method brand's French lavender dish soap. Loved washing dishes with that. When they discontinued that scent, dish washing has not been the same for me. Seventh Generation does have a lavender-scented dish soap, but it is mixed with other scents and does not have the same effect Method had for me. Alas. I have been using Seventh Generation's eucalyptus and lavender scented liquid laundry detergent and liquid fabric softener for years. Despite the eucalyptus, the scent makes doing the laundry more pleasant for me. The laundry, itself, does not smell of the scent when it comes out of the dryer; there's almost no smell at all, which should be a sign of clean clothes. So, if a product smells good and consequently makes the task go easier, I say "smell" is good.