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  1. #1

    Default Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Here in Sweden I've been noticing a trend lately where people, mostly women, buy scents that just smell like soap or laundry or warm cotton - things like that.

    The CLEAN brand of fragrances are the top sellers, most notably one called "warm cotton" and another called "fresh laundry". I own both after getting them as gifts, and sure, they smell good and exactly like what their names suggest.

    But why do women want to smell like laundry? Isn't it enough that your laundry smells like laundry? What is the appeal?

    Are people attracted to simple, clean scents? Laundry smells good, yes, but it's not something I personally consider particularly alluring or sexy. And I would find it weird to smell something that smells like laundry detergent on a person's skin.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do you like soapy/clean/detergent-y frags? And if so/if not - why?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    I used to be really into smelling like laundry detergent...or fabric softner? lol! It wasn't to smell alluring or sexy per se, it was more for the associations I had with the smell of fresh clean laundry. It's nostalgic. It's comforting. It makes me feel good and I liked the idea of being able to amplify that feeling whenever I wanted to so I bought the perfume. I didn't wear it much though and ended up using it mostly to spray my sheets. Go figure. I found the Clean line to smell too synthetic and it gave me a headache. I still love the way fresh laundry smells, just not as a perfume! I'll get my fix from sniffin' actual laundry and that's enough for me. Also I wore Clean when it first came out and I was in my late teens/ early twenties. I think it appeals more to a younger crowd.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Here in the US, my guess is that the initial interest in soap was the conjunction of the sanitized three-showers-a-day ideal (which gave us frags that smell like hospital cleaners) and the apologetic no-perfume perfumes (from Bulgari the vert on). That the ideal had been there much longer is exemplified by the older White Linen, which suggests laundry but doesn't smell like it (and, indeed, would be considered very "perfumey" now).

    Conveniently, the ideal fits well with the shrinking budget for the materials, as laundry frags don't even have to pretend to have better materials than the household products they mimic.

    I'm with you that there's no point in smelling like laundry. Some white musks can indeed give a very good smell. I'm not a fan, but $$$ Kurkdjian's Aqua Universalis does smell good. But still I prefer to use the (superexpensive) Aqua Universalis detergent. But the Clean brand, here I disagree with you, is just vile.

    However, the trend is already over in the US. There's still the occasional laundry detergent scent around, but the current mainstream for women is peony & syrup. For men, it's the hospital cleaners. Is that so also in Sweden?

    cacio

  4. #4

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    I think its a classic case of social conditioning over time.

    * sprays cacio with the animalic skankiest musk - breathe breathe dear breathe *

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  5. #5
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzie View Post
    Are people attracted to simple, clean scents?
    I think many people are.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Hmm... socially conditioning my coworkers by dousing myself with 15 sprays of Rien. I did however wear MKK (not 15 sprays) to bars, with mixed success.

    cacio

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    People are, indeed, attracted to fresh and clean scents.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    I like them. I don't wear perfumes to be alluring or sexy; I wear perfume that I think smells nice to me. I enjoy the smell of soap and laundry.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Maybe people like the smell of a fabric conditioner they wash their clothes with and are attracted to fragrances of the same ilk.
    Last edited by Jack Hunter; 4th September 2012 at 12:59 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Pretty much the same reasons why some people like to smell like a cat's bottom, they enjoy it.

    Personally I can enjoy different things at different times.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Because they don't know any better.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Here in the US, my guess is that the initial interest in soap was the conjunction of the sanitized three-showers-a-day ideal (which gave us frags that smell like hospital cleaners) and the apologetic no-perfume perfumes (from Bulgari the vert on). That the ideal had been there much longer is exemplified by the older White Linen, which suggests laundry but doesn't smell like it (and, indeed, would be considered very "perfumey" now).

    Conveniently, the ideal fits well with the shrinking budget for the materials, as laundry frags don't even have to pretend to have better materials than the household products they mimic.

    I'm with you that there's no point in smelling like laundry. Some white musks can indeed give a very good smell. I'm not a fan, but $$$ Kurkdjian's Aqua Universalis does smell good. But still I prefer to use the (superexpensive) Aqua Universalis detergent. But the Clean brand, here I disagree with you, is just vile.

    However, the trend is already over in the US. There's still the occasional laundry detergent scent around, but the current mainstream for women is peony & syrup. For men, it's the hospital cleaners. Is that so also in Sweden?

    cacio

    I'll agree with you that the Clean brand is shit as far as perfume goes. They don't smell BAD to me but neither do dryer sheets and I'm not particularly interested in rubbing them all over me.

    As for the trends - the soapy/detergent thing is still THE thing for women here. That and Britney Spears frags (ick). For men, I'm not really sure but I smell Le Male or Diesel Fuel For Life on about 10 guys a day. But other than that yes, you smell a lot of citrusy/fresh/aquatic cheapies on guys.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Big question.


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  14. #14
    Frag Bomb Squadron XVII
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    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzie View Post
    But why do women want to smell like laundry? Isn't it enough that your laundry smells like laundry?
    why?
    In the words of Obelix the Gaul:
    These women are crazy!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Well...my girlfriend has a fragrance by clean called "outdoor fresh" I honestly can't stand it. It does smell like a detergent would, and in my mind that gives it a cheap feeling, since in my mind the fragrance given to a detergent is not anywhere near the quality I would put to skin. But, maybe there's somewhat of a comfort to it, regardless I'll be glad when that bottle is gone.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    There are brilliant examples of this kind of fragrance though - Comme Des Garcons EDP 2011 comes to mind

  17. #17

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    I love the way some soaps smell. The Dove original white bar is my favorite, and I also like the smell of my natural african black soap, it's kind of earthy and uncomplicated. Soap smell sets off happy receptors in my brain, "I am clean, oooh." I personally wouldn't want to smell like laundry detergent, but some of it does smell really nice and I would understand if people wanted to smell like it.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Lol, forfreddie..I smelled that sample..it smells very plastic-y clean to me. The smell of a large store that just waxed their floors...something like that.

    Arrogant English Laundry wasn't bad from what I remember for a detergent scent. Though, it's been a while since I've smelled it...pretty sure it had that detergent thing goin on though.
    "One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Proverbs.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Smell clean is comfortable for the most of people.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    There's no accounting for taste.

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie
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    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    It's a chicken/egg issue. Which came first?

    Plain soap or cotton doesn't have much of a smell. Companies scent detergent with fragrances like lavender and white florals because women like those types of fragrances. In turn women begin to associate those types of fragrances with laundry. So, if you are going to market a fragrance it's easier to say "this fragrance smells like fresh laundry" than to say "this fragrance smells like soft florals" because that smell is now associated with fresh, clean laundry. Women probably wanted to smell like that before the laundry detergent existed. Now they just have something easy to associate it with.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    At work, I am surrounded by clouds of detergent gas wafting on every air current. I can tell who uses which brand, and which fabric softener. Horrible. Gag-inducing. (I use an organic product with as little added scent as I could find.)

    It's ironic because I have been forbidden to wear any fragrance whatsoever to work. Nothing, nada, nichts, rien, zilch.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Maybe they want to smell like that because »the cologne thing« is nothing they want to worry about. They might find that fresh laundry »smells good« and that is enough of an argument so they don't have to look for something »special«. Sometimes, just sometimes, I would prefer to be around a crowd of people who smells of laundry rather than of the latest celebrity fragrance.

    Another thing that comes to my mind, a highly speculative one and just as a side note, would be the thought that Sweden might be a »bright country«, with many fair-skinned, blond people (is there any truth to that cliché?). Being such a type myself I have observed that the darkest of the dark fragrances lose much of their appeal when contrasted by such solar appearance. Just a speculation, of course! I thought of the 18th century when scholars tried to explain different tempers of peoples living in north and south Europe with the different climates; I'm looking at you, Kant, with your Physical Geography!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhivago View Post
    Maybe they want to smell like that because »the cologne thing« is nothing they want to worry about. They might find that fresh laundry »smells good« and that is enough of an argument so they don't have to look for something »special«. Sometimes, just sometimes, I would prefer to be around a crowd of people who smells of laundry rather than of the latest celebrity fragrance.

    Another thing that comes to my mind, a highly speculative one and just as a side note, would be the thought that Sweden might be a »bright country«, with many fair-skinned, blond people (is there any truth to that cliché?). Being such a type myself I have observed that the darkest of the dark fragrances lose much of their appeal when contrasted by such solar appearance. Just a speculation, of course! I thought of the 18th century when scholars tried to explain different tempers of peoples living in north and south Europe with the different climates; I'm looking at you, Kant, with your Physical Geography!
    I suppose there is some truth to the cliché, depending on where you are, but day to day I probably see more tanned brunettes than blondes walking down the street ^^

    It does seem like a cultural thing though, what fragrances people use and like. In my simple mind, I would think that people in colder climates would prefer warmer/darker scents and those in warmer climates the opposite. But from what I've seen and experienced that is not the case. Quite the opposite, even.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Speaking strictly for me, among many other notes, scent categories/groups etc. I got attracted to, I have also been "bitten by the bag" of clean, laundry-fresh, soapy notes.

    There is something comforting, reassuring in this scents for me, making me want to both smell and actually wear them.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    I read this somewhere, most probably from a fragrance blogger from basenotes, roughly saying "anglo-saxon culture adores clean-fresh smelling fragrances thus saying -i'm clean, you can approach me-, whereas latin perfumery adores such other fragrances thus saying, i smell sexy and i am approaching you"

  27. #27

    Default Re: Why do people want to smell like detergent?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Hmm... socially conditioning my coworkers by dousing myself with 15 sprays of Rien. I did however wear MKK (not 15 sprays) to bars, with mixed success.

    cacio

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