The Smell of the Stuff That Hides The Smell

I can't help but to notice lately that the "fragrance" industry is quite the booming business.  I'm not just talking about beauty products, and perfumes, but household fragrances, as well.  Products that are becoming necessary to freshen up our homes, and every other aspect of our lives.

There's the stuff you spray to mask the odors, the stuff you spray to neutralize the odor, the fabric sprays, the stuff you sprinkle on the carpet and then vacuum up the odors, incense for burning, fragrance oil for burning, fragrance oil that climbs up bamboo sticks, wax candles, wax melts, pot pourri that you simmer, and pot pourri that you set in a dish in the room, scented crystals that you set in a dish in the room, scented wax that you warm by plugging into the wall, scented oils that you warm by plugging into the wall, the room freshener that looks like art that you set on a shelf with your nicknacks, stand alone and plug in fresheners with a fan to blow freshness, or a motion sensor that detects your presence and assumes that you need some freshening.

Let's talk about Febreeze.  It started out as a fabric freshener, to remove odors in the upholstery and draperies.  You could spray it on the rugs, the bedspreads, and even in the shoes.  A handy little product for any home with a smoker, a pet, some kids, or a working man.  There's quite the assortment of scents available now, too, for the distinguishing stinker.  Now Febreeze is in our laundry detergent, our liquid dish soap, our multipurpose cleaners, and even the candles!

Do we really stink that bad?  I mean, haven't we come a long way since the 16 century?  We learned how to not stink so much when we discovered the benefits of bathing and cleaning.  When did we decide that not stinking just isn't good enough?  When did we decide that we need to constantly smell something artificial to be happy?  There was once a time, if you wanted your home to smell like fresh linen... you did a load of laundry.  If you want your home to smell like apples and cinnamon... you baked a pie.

Are we lazy?  Are we spoiled?  We don't actually want to bake or clean, we just want people to think that we did.  We'll close our windows when there's a fresh summer breeze, and then spray a can of fresh summer breeze!  We complain about the rain, but then we long for that clean scent of earth after a spring shower.

Now, some of it makes total sense to me.  My meditation and yoga are enhanced by the scent of bamboo and lemon grass.  A pine spray "spruces" up my plastic holiday tree (yes, pun intended).  And when I can't take any more of these long snowy winters, I light the wick on a jar of Ocean Breeze.  Although realistically, the breeze that blows across most populated beaches reeks of coconut oil and dead fish.  I guess we're not really into realism.

Okay, I admit it.  I'm a consumer of these products, too.  I have an enormous selection of candles, in all shapes, sizes, and scents.  Mostly because I enjoy living life by candlelight.  But I also have scented detergents, generic fabric fresheners, and there's Febreeze in my household cleaner.  I'd give it all up in a minute, if Febreeze would only take on the kitty litter industry!  Whew!  What's that smell?    


  1. Love the line about closing our windows and spritzing the room with "summer breeze!" Esp. true in this climate where the one time of year this spring we can open up our windows, the pine trees are choking us to death! Great take on our sceneted society! Yes, smells enhance and nothing makes me happier than a lavender salted bath. Memory is created with all senses and smells esp. can trigger events from our past. So, we're just making new ones with our heavily purfumed homes.

  2. Living out in the country, I am proud to say that in my home we dont use too many scented things. I have the candles and the oil you warm, and even some really nice tangerine scented bath foam, but I also have NO A/C in the majority of the house. So when we have a summer breeze, you can bet that all of our windows and doors are wide open. And we dont have to worry about bad smells from OUTSIDE, because unless an animal died somewhere upwind, we get a very refreshing scent wafting throughout the house.

    The only exception, and the reason I am SO glad that so many different types of artificial scents have been created, is when a few weeks ago I had a mouse die somewhere in my car. I still have yet to find it, but thanks to the wonderful invention of the French Vanilla car freshener, I can now drive to town comfortably.

    I would also like to make a shout-out to the person who invented scented trash bags. Helps a lot when the majority of the trash is dirty diapers!


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