Do you have a fragrance sensitivity?

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I can’t walk down the cleaning isle in the supermarket without getting an instant headache, so I avoid that isle all together. I hold my breath in the perfume area of department stores. I offered to bring in a girlfriend’s washing to find the basket of laundry completely overpowering in residue fragrance from fabric softener. Like many, I have a sensitivity and an aversion to synthetic chemical fragrance.

Fragrance sensitivity can be defined as an irritation or an adverse reaction to chemicals in a perfume or other scented products such as air fresheners, laundry and cleaning products, scented candles, perfume, deodorants, cologne and cosmetics.

People with asthma or other respiratory illness may be more susceptible to fragrance allergies.

Common Symptoms of Fragrance Allergy

  • mild to severe headache
  • sneezing, coughing and runny nose
  • breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue
  • loss of concentration
  • skin irritation, itching, and rashes
  • muscle aches
  • watery, red, and itchy eyes
  • wheezing
  • swelling
  • nausea and vomiting
  • Strong fragrances from perfumes or colognes can even trigger a migraine

Secondhand Fragrance

In a public place people are sharing what is now being called ‘secondhand fragrance’. This is the combination of harmful chemicals being released into the public air space from air fresheners, cleaning products, scented candles, plus all the products people are wearing (hairstyling products, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, perfume etc). Everyone is involuntarily breathing contaminated air even if they choose to not wear fragranced products.

Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than humans, and the scent-processing section of their brains is larger than ours.
Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than humans, and the scent-processing section of their brains is much larger than ours. They don’t need synthetic fragrance in their environment either.

Fragrance sensitivity at the workplace

Some employers are becoming aware of this issue, and are accommodating fragrance sensitive people. Some companies have stopped using air fresheners, and use fragrance-free cleaning products in order to minimise fragrance chemicals in indoor environments.

Baking Soda is an odour neutraliser.

Synthetic Chemical Fragrance

Up to 95% of synthetic chemicals used to make fragrance recipes are derived from petrochemicals. To make matters worse for the unsuspecting public, many products labeled as ‘unscented’ are actually the fragranced product with the addition of another masking fragrance. Products with the ingredient ‘fragrance’ contain endocrine disruptors called phthalates.

If we think of natural and organic essential oils, Lavender for example, it contains a myriad of natural chemical constituents, around 100, and one of those is linalool. In the entirety of a natural and organic essential oil this constituent isn’t usually a problem. However there is also synthetic chemical linalool, an isolated man-made ingredient, which is much more likely to result in a sensitivity.

Sure makes it difficult for consumers!

Do your homework, look for certifications and ethical brands that can be trusted. An ethical brand, is also transparent with their complete ingredient list, and will assist you with any ingredient questions.

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Natural and organic essential oils of lemon and lemongrass in Sonett’s laboratory

Sonett products are free from enzymes, petrochemical surfactants, synthetic chemical fragrances, dyes and preservatives, bleaching agents, optical brighteners, genetic engineering and nanotechnology.

Sonett has a neutral range which is even free from natural and organic essential oils. There are those who are sensitive to nature’s essential oils as well.

The complete range of Sonett products has been independently certified according to the criteria of Ecogarantie, the premium label for ecological washing and cleaning products.

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Correct dosage for Laundry Liquid Lavender (using natural and essential oils only) with Sonett Measuring Ball.

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How often should you wash your sheets?

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Slipping into fresh sheets is one of life’s little pleasures!

You’re in bed for around 8 hours a night, naturally sloughing off dead skin cells, which dust mites feed on. You may perspire, there’ll be body oils as well, because one of the functions of your skin is as an elimination organ, and that phase is active during the night time.

Seven nights and you’ve clocked up 56 hours in bed!

The bottom sheet is likely to be more grubby than the top sheet, so if you don’t use fitted sheets you can wash the bottom sheet weekly, replacing the top sheet as the bottom sheet for the next week and alternating. That’s one sheet washed per bed per week instead of two.

If you have a bottom fitted sheet and a top flat sheet you can’t alternate so weekly wash is recommended.

Pillowslips should be changed daily for acne sufferers. If acne is present on chest or back, then sheets need to be changed daily as well.

While you’re laying in your bedding around 56 hours each week, you don’t want unnecessary conventional laundry optical brighteners or any other residues on sheets and pillowslips either.

Stay well aware from using products that use synthetic chemical fragrances, as many people are sensitive to them, resulting in mild to severe headaches, sneezing etc.

For washing bedding our favourite is Laundry Liquid Lavender alternatively if you wish to be completely free from even natural and organic essential oil aromas then useLaundry Liquid neutral. Of course there’s Laundry Powder as well.

TIP: Use a small squeeze of Liquid Gall Soap in your wash for an extra cleaning boost, particularly where body oils are present.

You’ll find you don’t need a conventional fabric softener with Sonett Laundry products, however, we do have Laundry Rinse which you add to the final rinsing water.

Laundry Rinse helps to rinse out any laundry liquid or powder residue and neutralises the rinsing water which is important for allergy-prone people. It also brightens up colours, smoothes fibres and softens fabrics.

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Dust Mites

House dust mites are present in most human environments, thriving in warm moist places such as mattresses, bedding and carpets, and feeding mainly on flaked-off dead skin. They are sensitive to dry conditions,
changes in temperature, and ultra-violet light. House mite faeces, get into the air easily and can provoke a strong allergic response when inhaled.

Up to 85% of people with asthma are affected by the faeces of house dust mites. Those with the most common form of eczema – atopic eczema which is closely linked to asthma – are also affected by dust mites.

Low-temperature cycles in washing machines don’t get rid of dust mites, say scientists, 30 or 40°C washes only killed 6% of house dust mites compared with 100% at 60°C, Korean researchers found.

Allergy UK agreed with these latest findings presented at an American Thoracic Society conference. They advise allergy sufferers use 60°C washes.

Hot tumble drying items for half an hour after drying outside in UV light also kills dust mites.

There is a close link between asthma and allergies, around 40% of Australians have some form of allergy, more than 80% of people who have asthma also have an allergy.
Source: Asthma Australia

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You may find our Are Your Laundry Products Safe? blog of interest.

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7 Simple Cleaning Resolutions

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1) Small jobs done regularly

Cut cleaning down to small jobs you can squeeze in here and there. These changes to your routine will keep help to keep your home clean and orderly throughout the year.
For example you’re spraying and wiping for after dinner clean up anyway, so also pop into the bathroom, spray, walk away, then come back and wipe down surfaces (with your bathroom cloth) for a cleaner start to the morning.

2) Make beds every single morning

A made bed instantly makes a bedroom look tidy, and much nicer to sleep in that night. Lavender Laundry Liquid is perfect for bed linen.

3) Let your cleaning products do the work

Choose your cleaning products wisely. If you have a big job that involves cleaning grease, oil, soap fat in the shower – then use Orange Power Cleaner undiluted to take away the elbow grease or scrubbing.

4) Clean the bathroom weekly

Cleaning the bathroom weekly is much better than letting it become a daunting job. Regular cleaning means mould, bacteria, soap residue is kept under control.

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5) Spray, walk away then wipe

Some products need a little time to do their work for you, check instructions, and when you use them this way, you’ll find them more economical also. Bathroom Cleaner needs a little time, walk away for a bit, then come back to wiping.

Toilet Cleaner, with cedar and citronella, is particularly good at adhering to the loo bowl. Squeeze it under the rim and leave overnight. Then just a quick scrub in the morning is all that’s required.

Use Multi-Surface and Glass Cleaner, with lavender and lemongrass or diluted Orange Power Cleaner or diluted All Purpose Cleanser in a trigger bottle for a quick after dinner clean, remember to spray, walk away then come back and wipe, because you’re letting your products do the work.

6) Cleaning products you actually like to use

Cleaning is much more enjoyable when you use products that smell lovely when you’re using them and leave a fresh scent behind as well, such is the nature of natural essential oils, as opposed to synthetic chemical fragrances, which are just pollutants.

7) Begin the New Year organised

This is a great time of year to tackle rooms, one by one, and clear the clutter, which means it’s quicker and easier to clean during the year. Put your favourite music on and if there’s kids about get them involved too. Have 3 drop off points: rubbish, recycle, donate. It feels so good to begin the New Year clutter free and feeling highly organised.

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