Later lemon. Forget fresh. Today’s dish soaps deliver a heady, aromatic blend of invigorating green herbs, sugar, crisp citrus and earthy woods. Notes of incense, moss and bergamot are blended into liquid laundry detergent.
And, with the simple spritz of an air spray, homeowners change the mood in their home office with a fragrance featuring mandarin, amber and the scent of lava.
While “fragrance-free” remains a popular request in personal care, scented products remain prolific in home care.
In fact , according to Morgan Eberhard, Febreze senior scientist at P& G, in the US market, scented products represent 89% of laundry, 79% of surface cleaning plus 99% of dish washing product sales, even when unscented options are available.
“Scent is critical to P& G Fabric and Home Care products and the people who use them, ” Eberhard told Happi. “That’s because fragrance provides more than just a pleasant scent. In fact , new research published in the scientific journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, shows how the functional, emotional and in-use benefits of fragrance in household products contribute to overall wellbeing, memory, motivated behavior and social behavior, ” Eberhard said.
Scent has been used in household products for decades. As experts attest, the category tends to witness evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes. But the pandemic was a timestamp.
“When the pandemic hit, consumers’ biggest concerns were for home products to be effective and clean, killing germs and keeping individuals safe. At the same time, to relieve stress and anxiety, consumers were incorporating well-being and self-care into their spaces with the use of candles plus home fragrance. Consumers are upgrading their home care routines to promote health and well-being, ” said Amy Marks-McGee, founder of Trendincite LLC and a creative marketing professional with more than 25 years of experience in the fragrance industry.
Marks-McGee contends the term “household” is evolving into “home treatment, ” with a blurring of the lines between cleaning and home fragrance.
“Cleaning products are getting a makeover, being elevated plus inspired by beauty products, ” she said. “Like other categories, consumers are demanding better-for-you and better-for-the-planet formulas and sustainable packaging. Brands are using plant-based formulas in place of harsh chemicals and many of the fragrances are using essential oils plus natural extracts such as citrus fruit, florals, lavender and woods. ”
According to Eberhard, scent has the power to improve mood and increase pleasure and confidence, but also to evoke feelings associated with nostalgia. This is why P& G takes “a balanced approach to designing new scents to keep things fresh and exciting, while maintaining our iconic scents in products that have been around for decades and have strong memory associations of those who came generations before, ” she said.
Eberhard continued, “At Febreze, we know that powerful odor-fighting technology paired with a great scent is the winning combination that people crave. That’s why we’ve been focused for the past several years on designing fragrances for the people who would like to be using an air flow or fabric freshening product but don’t feel that there’s the right scent for them in the market today. ”
The effort has included “new scent camps, different scent intensities, increasing the longevity of scent through innovative technologies and leaning more into luxury fragrances, ” said Eberhard. As example, she cited Febreze’s Origins collection and its inaugural fragrance of the year fragrance—Febreze Ember—which rolled out last year.
Febreze’s scent from the year for 2023 will be expected out sometime this month, according to officials.
Elsewhere in household care, P& G rolled out Gain Power Blast Dish Spray. According to experts, on average, people spend almost a half hour a day hand-washing dishes. In a Gain-commissioned survey of 1, 700 people, 37% of Gain users are more likely to say good smelling dish soap aids in boosting their mood. And while cleaning dishes is the second most hated household chore, next to cleaning the toilet, Gain customers are almost twice as likely to find dishwashing very enjoyable compared to non-Gain users, according to the data.
P& G says Gain Power Blast Dish Spray has Aroma Boost technology which allows the scent to “bloom” throughout the kitchen and linger long after the dishes are done.
P& G’s expertise in scent development is robust; according to Eberhard, P& G is among the top fragrance houses in the world.
“Fragrance development is a highly technical combination of art and science. Our perfume experts need to not only understand how fragrance notes smell together, but also how they will work within our products and how they will fit within a certain product category, ” she said.
Efficacy is the best factor for most consumers when it comes to cleaning products. “But the feeling and experience of what clean means differs from one person to the next, especially when it comes to fragrance, ” noted Alison Gutterman, CEO and president of Jelmar, the company behind workhorse cleaning brand CLR .
Jelmar recently added the lavender scent to its CLR Brilliant Bath item, a multipurpose, multi-surface bathroom cleaner with EPA Safer Choice certification. The foam spray, which was formulated to cut through dirt, calcium, lime, hard water deposits and soap scum, had been available in fresh scent.
“For some, the idea of thoroughly clean has a scent to it, ” added Gutterman. “We chose to expand the range and introduce lavender to provide a fresh alternative to our loyal users, but additionally to broaden the appeal to new customers who are discerning about both the product effectiveness plus scent choices they make for their home.
“Lavender is such a classically pleasant scent. It’s a soft, floral aroma that doesn’t overpower, but easily makes its presence known, ” said Gutterman.
Adding the lavender variant was a “decision made with the long game in mind, ” based on the CEO. “We want it to stick around long term rather than follow short-term fragrance trends. It’s an offering our consumers can rely on including in their cleaning routine always. ”
According to Gutterman, Jelmar released its “first notably scented products” in 2021 with CLR Active Clear and CLR Everyday Clean in 2021. CLR Active Clear comes in Herbal Field, Lemon Mist and Morning Dew, while CLR Everyday Clean comes in Lavender, Clean Lemon and Fresh Rain.
“Adding scented cleaning products is usually resonating with our consumers because of the elevated experience a scent can provide. Scent can ignite a feeling, a memory. In cleaning, it can be a signal of accomplishment. It’s a special component that can really improve the sometimes tiring, or repetitive task of cleaning, ” she stated.
Lavender is also available at Kris Jenner’s Safely home care line. The new Calm variant—which is available exclusively at Walmart stores plus online at Walmart. com—has top notes of lavender, coconut milk and lime; middle notes of tonka, heliotrope and rose, as well as the base contains vanilla.
There is another celebrity brand in home care, Homecourt, which was created by actress Courtney Cox . The brand’s meal soap, surface cleaner and hand wash are available in several scents such as Cece (notes of cedarwood smoke, sweet cardamom and white leather), Steeped Rose, Neroli Leaf (a white floral) plus Cipres Mint (a heady, aromatic blend of green herbs, steeped with sugar and a touch of crisp lemon or lime and earthy woods).
Arbour is another new-to-market home care line.
“Our first goal when creating Arbour was to be safe for families to use around children and pets. We quickly realized that most fragrances on today’s market are harmful due to their chemical/synthetic makeup and how they interact with surfactants that make up the various product formulations used around a typical house, ” co-founder Carol Mehas told Happi.
But that doesn’t mean Arbour eschews scent.
“Of course we were able to offer ‘fragrance free’ versions, but honestly, that’s just no fun at all! ” Mehas said. “Since we have been conditioned to know when things ‘smell clean, ’ scent is an important part of the product experience. So we dug deeper and discovered that there are natural essential oils that are both secure and don’t affect the performance of the product. ”
Arbour’s activewear detergent has an essential oil blend that smells like fresh cotton sheets, thanks to a sandalwood oil base that is “safe plus makes the whole experience interesting for the user, ” according to Mehas.
“We liked the idea that we could have a blend that is not for masking, or for the purpose of impregnating fabrics so the scent lingers on the clothing, ” she continued. “By using safe important oils, our proprietary blend is an ingenious way that the entire experience can be non-toxic. ”
Arbour plans to roll out a new scented range of Everyday Essentials, including scented hand soap and dish soap this particular spring.
“We know how much scent is really a key part of the customer encounter, ” said Mehas.
“The household market has become more interesting than ever, with innovation, ingredients and lifestyle trends really influencing NPD, ” said Selena Wagstaff, UK marketing manager, CPL Aromas . “We find the big companies and also small, brand new companies launching interesting items to engage consumers. ”
At Indigo Wild , maker of Zum detergents, new scents are vetted at the Zum Lab and are accessible to consumers online.
“When a customer purchases from the Zum Lab we ask for their opinions about the Zum Lab products post-purchase to help us tweak Zum into the best product it can be. When products or scents are a hit in the Zu dem Lab, they are launched into the full Zum Family obtainable in other online channels plus in-store, ” explained Rowan Page-Brennan, who works within Indigo Wild’s marketing department.
“Scent is very important in the home care/laundry care world. People want their homes and their clothes in order to smell good and Zum is here to create blends to pique their interest. ”
Recent “graduates” of the Zum Lab are usually amber and geranium-patchouli.
Amber—a base associated with vetiver and patchouli with lavender, cedar and bergamot providing a warm finish—quickly rose in ranks to become a brand new Zum favorite. But the company’s most popular scent is Frankincense & Myrrh, according to Page-Brennan.
“Our scent is core to that we are and what Zum is known for. We believe in smelling good and feeling good about the products you are putting on your body or using in your home. We take pride in our unique aromatic essential oil blends all of us create here at the Zum Factory in Kansas City, ” said Page-Brennan.
Indies like Zu dem and others are pushing the particular boundaries of scent in home care.
Dirty Labs , for example , expanded its laundry lineup and entered the machine dishwash space. Its new Bio Enzyme Dishwasher Detergent is a 2-in-1 soap plus booster that comes in Aestival (yuzu, geranium and lemon balm). Dirty Lab’s Murasaki Bio Enzyme Laundry Detergent has notes of jasmine, matcha and vetiver. The company’s fragrances are made of natural and synthetic ingredients selected from the IFRA Transparency List.
As brands work to be a lot more sustainable, eco solutions from suppliers are critical. CPL Aromas rolled out an upgrade to its AromaCore fragrance encapsulation technology, which makes it biodegradable. The sustainable patented technology, called AromaCore Bio, delivers longer-lasting fragrance overall performance for laundry and fabric care applications. The vegan-friendly technology encapsulates the perfumes within a biodegradable capsule wall, which can survive water plus heat, but which breaks when dry. When the washed and dried garments are used, friction causes the capsules to open, enabling fragrance in order to burst out, continuing to give a long-lasting scent, according to the company.
Developing scents is a critical component of NPD within home treatment. When it comes to forecasting new trends, perfumers turn to a number of different industries for inspiration.
“Often, we see trends start to arise first in food and drinks, whereas other times it might be the beauty industry leading the way. All of these can serve as inspiration for what types of fragrances people might desire in their household products, ” said Eberhard of Febreze.
Seasonality can also be a big part of the fragrance sector, and experts say it is wise to leverage this in the household care market.
“Seasonal scents and limited-edition scents enable brands to experiment with new fragrances. Manufacturers should explore developing seasonal scents with spring plus fall/holiday being popular seasons, ” suggested Marks-McGee.
Still, tried and true periodic scents can ebb and flow, too.
“Believe it or not, we saw that this beloved pumpkin spice scent fell a bit out of favor this year for more novel fragrances like roasted marshmallow, ” said Eberhard. “
Fragrance is typically influenced by the world of as well as flavor, too.
Firmenich named dragon fruit as its 2023 flavor of the year. Citing Mintel GNPD data, the annual rate associated with food and beverage launches along with dragon fruit flavor callouts has doubled since 2017. This exotic fruit has been incorporated into Live Bold beau de parfum, Fimenich’s riff on Pantone’s 2023 color of the year, Viva Magenta.
Experts Happi spoke with also noted the blurring between household care and home scent. For instance, Diptypque, known for its candles, launched La Drouguerie, a range that includes household cleaning products like dish cleaning soap, surface cleaner, an anti-odor candle and leather and wood care lotion. Archipelago has cleaning products made with plant-based ingredients and natural fragrances. Products include glass cleaner with citrus fragrance from pure essential oils, as well as grapefruit, lavender plus mint and Charcoal Rose laundry detergent.
This past Fall, P& Gary the gadget guy teamed up with actress and home décor designer Garcelle Beauvais to show consumers how to “scent style” using the 30-plus fragrance options in the Febreze Air line. Eberhard pointed to customization as rising in importance in atmosphere care– with people indicating they prefer choosing different scents for different rooms and occasions to create a holistic ambiance plus scent blueprint of their self-identity.
“Consumers are prioritizing their overall well-being. Mood-boosting fragrances and claims can enhance positive emotions or provide a sense of calm and improve overall well-being, ” noted Kelli Heinz, VP-marketing at Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Inc.
Mrs. Meyers , for example , rolled out a limited edition Compassion Flower range that incorporated mood and emotion into the fragrance, based on Heinz. The fragrance—with notes of fresh lemon, sheer violet and pansy—is described as uplifting, floral and fairly sweet.
Therapy Clean , an indie cleaning products company based in New Hampshire, last year introduced “everyday wellness-inspired cleaners that have mood-enhancing fragrances. Scents include Juniper & Lemon Zest (Energize & Invigorate), Sea Salt & Eucalyptus (Calm & Soothe), and New Herbs & Melon (Uplift and Brighten). Therapy Clean products include all-purpose cleaner, window and glass solution, and dish soap.
According to Marks-McGee, customers seek “better-for-you and better-for-the-planet” products across all markets, home care included—and that is influencing fragrance. She told Happi, “Household fragrances continue to be more sophisticated and experiential. Consumers are focusing on health and wellness with a holistic approach. They are integrating this lifestyle into their cleansing rituals. It is an opportunity to create fragrances that promote wellbeing and self-care. ”