I'm sharing a little about my life, "going fragrance-free and loving it."
Introduction: My alter ego, Alecka Zamm's goal is "no more freakin' fragrance." Unfortunately she only watches over my desk. I wish she could watch over us all. In my alter ego's post "I'll Take the Laughs But Not the Fragrance," Alecka Zamm explains a bit about chemical sensitivity. This is why I must go without fragrance and avoid scents at all cost.
I hate the laundromat. Yes, I appreciate using a washer and dryer instead of hand washing—which I've been doing a lot of lately. As an apartment dweller in the past and as a traveler who frequently stays in vacation rentals I've found the need to visit the laundromat. I tie my hair up in a knot because my hair is like a giant Swiffer absorbing all the allergens and scents in the air. Then I put on a mask. Yes, people stare at me. Probably wondering if I'm sick, as in contagious, or perhaps leaning toward germaphobic like Howie Mandel. Germs aside, I'm wearing the mask to protect my lungs. Let's be clear that the mask only takes the edge off. I will need to recuperate for days thanks to the abundance of fragrance-laden products used by other patrons. I also very strongly dislike having to give up days of my life recovering because most people choose products with fragrance.
"The fragrance trail is like a boat's wake, only you can't see the waves of scented particles on their way to cling to anyone downwind."
Most people are unaware that scent hurts some people causing skin irritation and also can trigger asthma. Fragrance leaves a scent trail behind in the air and anywhere it contacts sticks, trespassing into the personal space of others. Forest fires are in the news and the air in my area currently. Smoke is easy to see and feel. Many people react negatively to thick, choking smoke. That's pretty much how being around others wearing fragrance is for people with multiple chemical sensitivities. The scented particles in the air cling to the hair and clothing, so showering is mandatory after exposure.
Fragrance also creates autistic-like reactions for me. It's a sensory overload and the easiest way for me to describe it is that synaptic connections in my brain short circuit. I get foggy, disoriented, and angry. Normally I'm a rather happy and enthusiastic person, but not when the perfume cloud settles on me... Since this toxic perfume soup is a trigger, I wonder if autism, perhaps, could be another complication?
Take a break and breathe freely.
Try my go-to fragrance-free laundry products!
Spot treatments for stains and/or odors: Vital Oxide (spray, rub, wash, don't let dry; note: no added fragrance, but has slight chalky-mint smell), Grandma's Lye Soap (prewash spot to remove stain), BabyGanics Stain Eraser (pretreat then wash), Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Oil (add to wash cycle to freshen)
Laundry soaps: Allersearch Allergen Wash (all-purpose, my first choice, even for delicates), Tide Free & Gentle (occasionally when I need a petroleum-based surfactant cleaner; ingredient list)
Whitening and brightening: Chlorine-Free bleach (any brand), Clorox (regular, not splash-less)
Softening and anti-static: Vinegar (petroleum- or grain-based), PurEcoSheet Reusable Chemical-free Dryer Sheets
Note: some of these products should not be mixed, for example Vital Oxide and Chlorine Bleach. Also, any acidic product will neutralize Vital Oxide.
My one deviation, as far as scent is concerned, is tea tree oil. Thursday Plantation is the only brand I've had success with meaning no side effects. It's really an antiseptic. I can add a drop to anything previously not scented.
"That's the plus when using unscented products. If you are partial to scents you can control how you 'aromify' by selecting fragrance-free products as your base."
Tip: Borax and baking soda pre-wash soak to remove/lessen scent and manufacturing chemicals and residue. My latest purchase of Gap jeans (which I love) made the water almost muddy, a dark brown-gray color. Multiple rinses and soaks were needed until I could even get to the wash-before-wearing stage.
"Maybe you'll try a fragrance-free product or two and prevent the fragrance trail?"
I’ve found that squeaky clean feels good, fragrance hurts. Clean is better for my skin, eyes, nose, brain, and lungs. Perhaps yours, too.
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your fragrance-free stories.
For more on fragrance-free products and my personal journey, check out: