Some of my first forays into the world of fragrance came through an interest in aromatherapy. I loved the idea that fragrance could be a source of healing as well as pleasure, and was enthralled with the concept of capturing some 'essence' of a plant or flower through distillation, for use in beauty, healing or massage.
I have therefore been delighted to see so many new natural and 'eco-friendly' cleaning product companies using essential oils to scent their products. It seems like a natural complement — many oils have disinfecting and antibacterial properties, as well as alleged psychological benefits, so why not combine them and be kind to the environment as well? Recently, the products have been getting increasingly sophisticated as well, with Seventh Generation coming up with rather delightful blends.
All of which is to say that I do not understand why Mrs Meyers took the concept of a lavender essential oil dish soap, promisingly combined with orange essential oil, and then added 'fragrance' to it. I squirted a good amount of the Clean Day Lavender Dish Soap into the sink and filled it with steaming water, and immediately a wonderful herbaceous lavender filled the room, followed hot on its heels by a scent that reminded me of a cross between pumpkin air freshener and an orange-scented holiday candle from a drugstore. It's too bad, because as eco-friendly cleaning liquids go, this is one of the stronger formulas, and it creates lots and lots of lovely suds. Had they limited the fragrancing to the lavender and orange, it would have been an easy pleasure — my hands were so clean that they squeaked, never mind the dishes! I also appreciate that the company is cruelty-free and does not test on animals. But I can't escape the impact of this strange fruity gourmand scent, which I find all the stranger because the marketing of the product emphasizes the soothing and relaxing properties of lavender. I have worked with lavender for years, and it can be soothing, but in this case it is overrun by other, not so soothing notes — in fact, I found myself developing a headache.
A quick perusal of the reviews at drugstore.com showed that others have had similar experiences, although some users do seem to have enjoyed the fragrance. I also noticed that the ingredients listed on drugstore.com (water, plant derived surfactants, ethanol, lavender and orange essential oils, preservative and color) are a missing the key ingredient listed on my bottle as 'fragrance'. Maybe they have changed the formula, which might account for the mixed reviews — please do comment if you know more! But for now, I will stick with Seventh Generation as my 'therapeutic' dishwashing liquid of choice.
Mrs Meyers Clean Day Lavender Dish Soap is available at drugstore.com, and is $5.19 for 16 oz.