Tide: The History of the Smell of Clean in North America


When I first began researching this topic I did what most people do and looked up the definition of the word “clean.” What I found surprised me. I was sure I would find some sort of reference to scent, smell or fragrance. Yet, when you look up the definition of clean on the internet, the first entry you’ll find is “free from dirt, marks or stains,” the second is “morally uncontaminated, pure, innocent” and the third is “free from irregularities, having a smooth edge or surface.” Nowhere do you see any mention of scent or fragrance. However, scents are added to almost everything we use today, from personal care products to candles, cleaning products, laundry detergents and soaps. Even cars have that “new car” scent.

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