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Is “Unscented” Really Fragrance-Free?

But chemicals aren’t the only culprits. Even strong natural smells -- such as aromatic flowers, for example -- can trigger migraine headaches or asthma attacks in some people. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as looking for a product that is labeled as fragrance-free.

Unscented or fragrance-free products still may contain a small amount of added fragrance to cover up unpleasant smells, but not enough to have a strong scent.

Some Smell Solutions

So what if you want to avoid problems from synthetic or other strong fragrance? There are several ways to eliminate smells in a healthier fashion. You may want to start with some products that can be heavily scented, like laundry detergents and air fresheners. Here are some more natural, possibly less-irritating methods to rid the air of unwanted odors:

Baking soda. You can place a box in your fridge and freezer to soak up nasty smells. But this standby deodorizer -- which chemically neutralizes odors instead of covering them up -- can also be put to work in litter boxes, garbage cans, kitchen and bathroom drains, smelly sneakers, musty cars, and carpets to absorb smells before you vacuum.

White distilled vinegar. The smell may be strong the first few moments you apply it, but it quickly dissipates. The uses for this all-natural product range from cleaning bathrooms and kitchens to washing windows and hardwood floors. Just dilute it and use as you would a typical household cleanser. You can also put a bowl on your counter to eliminate smells, such as when you’ve burned something in the kitchen.

Citrus. When there’s something stinky in your sink, cut up a lemon or orange -- or simply toss the rinds down the drain -- and turn on the garbage disposal. For odors elsewhere, slice up a few lemons and place them in a bowl in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. The citrus smell will help freshen the room and cover unpleasant odors.

Coffee grounds. Put a bowl of dried coffee grounds in your refrigerator or freezer or set them on your kitchen sink to absorb distasteful smells. Make a sachet with coffee grounds in some nylons or cheesecloth and hang it in your closet or other musty places.

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