Air-fresheners, scent-sprayers, None. (No aerosols, no fragrances due to inhaled salicylates; use vanilla flavoured water in a spray bottle)

Fragrances, perfumes, aromas, scents, essential oils, pot pourri, strong smelling herbs, plants and flowers, fragranced cosmetics, toiletries, washing powders and cleaning products, air fresheners, scent sprayers, toilet deodorisers. None (high in inhaled salicylates). Use fragrance free products instead or diluted vanilla essence in water in a spray bottle. See Guidelines on the Use of Perfumes and Scented Products from Toronto University in Canada (Canada is leading the world in this area, many hospitals and educational institutions have low perfume policies)

Hair care, no perfumed products or aerosols (one teenager used beaten eggwhite for shaping his Mohawk instead of hair gel or spray), see also Shampoo section.

Washing powders & other laundry items

No perfumed products, enzymes or aerosols (no enzymes even if in unscented products; no ironing sprays, soakers, fabric softeners or conditioners)

  • fabric softeners, none - alternative: 1/2 cup soda bicarb dissolved in water
  • ironing sprays, none - alternative: 1 tbsp cornflour (corn starch) stirred into 2 cups of cold water until well mixed; pour into empty, clean plastic spray bottle and shake the spray bottle well before each use
  • OMO Sensitive powder or liquid for top loaders (in NZ the same product is called Persil Sensitive) – thanks to Jenny H. UPDATE: Omo Sensitive: We strongly advise those sensitive to fragrances to smell it every time they purchase the product - “The sensitive/non-fragranced range has had a fragrance in all sizes. THIS IS NOT THE SENSITIVE RANGE THAT IS LIGHTLY FRAGRANCED (down on the bottom of the bottle in in white/pink).  We have the same products here at home in different size bottles and they have very different smells. It could be the reason some people react to it and others don’t” – thanks Melissa. (Sue comment: when I had severe fragrance sensitivity, I could not tolerate the Omo sensitive (non-fragranced) at all. Eventually I learned to do the washing in water only, no added detergents. If the clothes were too dirty, I soaked them in soda bicarb solution before washing).
  • AWARE (Planet Ark) Sensitive laundry powder – thanks to Meg
  • Amway washing powders are failsafe – thanks to Gail
  • Homemade washing powder for top loading washing machines: Use 1/2 scoop Omo sensitive concentrate and 2 tbsp pure soap flakes dissolved in hot water - thanks to Elly
  • Soapnuts (or berries) billed as economical, allergy friendly and environmentally friendly, these nuts from an Indian tree (sapindus mukorossi) contain saponin, a natural soap. Just pop 6-8 shells into a cotton bag (provided) and place in your washing machine. They clean effectively however will not fragrance your laundry. thanks to Sue H.
  • Soapberries (or nuts) as an alternative to laundry soaps. Talia from ThatRedHouse demonstrated her organic  hypo-allergenic soapberries product in Adelaide. These can be used for laundry, shampoo and household cleaning. They’re the seed of a tree that ends up in your compost after cleaning your clothes. So far I’ve only tried them in the washing machine, and I love them! - Sue

  • Soapnuts also available from - thanks Jody

  • Kylie at SoapNuts Australia and would love all Australians to use SoapNuts instead of the chemical cleaners that are damaging our waterways, soils and health. Her website has lots of information about how to get the most out of SoapNuts.

Household cleaners

Use only household cleaners that are free of fragrance, aroma, perfume, essential oils , herbs , strong flour or plant smells, air fresheners, scent sprayers, toilet deodorisers and disinfectants, anything in an aerosol pack, spot cleaners, carpet cleaners, (see Factsheet on fumes and perfumes).e.g.

• Air fresheners, none (No aerosols, no scent sprayers)

• Air freshener and toilet spray home recipe: Mix vanilla essence and water in a spray bottle as an air freshener – thanks to Kyria

• McLintocks Vanilla Fresh Fridge wipe & deodoriser: ingredients: ethyl alcohol, water, ethyl vanillin, vanillin - thanks to Jessica

Baking soda, Soda bicarbonate, e.g. McKenzies, use as a natural cleaner, see directions on pack

Dishwashing liquids

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Unscented Dishwashing Liquid

Reader hint: Hard to get a hold of, but absolutely fantastic, it is the only truly smell-free liquid and it works brilliantly. Bi-Lo and Woolies are both stocking limited ranges of the cleaning and washing products from Seventh Generation - it would be great if we could get them to stock the dishwashing liquid’. – thanks to Anna

Earth’s Choice lemon (low perfume) – thanks to Robin

other low perfume brands if you can find one

Dishwasher powders

• eg Squeek Auto Dishwash Concentrate is phosphate free and not harmful to the environment, Australian owned and made, available in Woolworths,

Reader review: When I use Finish we can all smell it right through the house but we can't smell Squeek at all. - thanks to Debbie.

• Herbon Dishwashing Machine powder from health food stores

Reader review: Herbon is well tolerated by some exquisitely sensitive kids – thanks to Susie from the failsafe baby group

• Finish Dishwasher Power Powder, from supermarkets

Reader review 1: Finish Dishwashing Powder (not tablet) is next best tolerated by some exquisitely sensitive kids after Herbon dishwashing powder– thanks to Susie from the failsafe baby group

Reader review 2: We recently got a new dishwasher. I made the mistake of using the free Finish powerball tablet that came with it. It stank the whole house out for days, I don't know how anyone can use that stuff.- thanks to Anna

• Ecostore Auto Dishwash Powder

Reader review: has a mild citrus smell but is bearable – thanks to Anna.

Vinegar,e.g. Coles Smart Buy white vinegar, Vin-a-Clean Cleaning Vinegar

Reader review: Vinegar makes a great rinse aid but mind and avoid the smell if you are salicylate intolerant - I find it makes me feel quite ill.- thanks to Anna

Microfibre cloths, e.g. Enjo, many brands from supermarkets

Reader review: . Enjo cleaning products just use the cloth and water - no chemicals whatsoever.– thanks to Susie

Steam cleaners (no smelly chemicals)

          Toilet cleaners (no perfume) e.g.

• Vinegar, good ventilation and a toilet brush

Harpic White and Shine Bleach Gel with baking soda if first toilet suggestion isn’t enough. Use with good ventilation or if asthmatic get someone else to do it for you – thanks to Donna

Failsafe furniture polish

• Linseed oil

Reader review: Linseed oil rubbed onto furniture or 1/4 cup vinegar with a couple of drops of linseed oil – the vinegar pulls out the dirt from the wood and the oil lubricates the wood so it doesn't dry out. The vinegar should be white distilled vinegar as others could stain furniture. The linseed oil should always be food grade as the oil you buy at hardware stores has synthetic chemicals in it that could stain furniture - thanks to Debbie


update January 2019


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