October 25, 2003
The scent of clean

This week, we switched dishwashing liquids. Our usual brand was out of stock and Tod picked up an American brand that smelled like flower-scented petrochemicals. I’d forgotten that “fresh plastic” smell that so many American cleaning products have. Just thinking about it makes my nose twitch.

We replaced the “Ivory Ultra” with our regular brand the next day.

This got me thinking about all the chemicals in our life, in general, and the smell of cleaning products in particular. Japanese cleaners and soaps often smell like citrus. Underneath, I’m sure the chemical composition is just as harsh and manufactured, but it certainly smells better.

I went around the house sniffing soaps and potions. As I expected, a lot of them smelled like a fantasia of orange and tangerine - sort of like baby aspirin. I was a little bit surprised to see how many different products I have for such a small household.

Brand Mfg Use Scent
Joy P&G Dish detergent Orange
Grease Cut Magic Clean P&G Kitchen cleaner Citrus-y plastic
Glass Use Savings Glass cleaner Flowers
Sink Mawari Cleaner P&G Steel sink cleaner Orange
Attack P&G Laundry soap Orange
Muse P&G Anti-bacterial hand soap Orange with nutmeg
MyPet P&G All-purpose cleaner Plastic
Ofuro Clean Lion Bathroom cleaner Orange
Ofuro Polishing Clean Lion Tub cleaner Orange
Toilet Magic Clean P&G Toilet cleaner Minty
Kabi Killer P&G Mold/mildew remover Bleach

Why is it that Japanese society equates clean with citrus and American culture thinks plastics smell clean?

Posted by kuri at October 25, 2003 10:20 AM

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