Why Choose Fragrance-Free Products (Plus, Fragrance-Free Finds at Vitacost)

Kiki Powers

by | Updated: April 28th, 2023 | Read time: 5 minutes

You may have noticed that there are more fragrance-free products available these days than ever before, and that’s no passing trend. On the contrary, it is becoming a new frontier, especially as we learn more about the hazards associated with many chemical-based scents. Consumers are becoming increasingly hip to the fact that fragranced household and personal care products are a primary source of indoor air pollution, which can seriously compromise human health.

A Mother and Young Daughter Add Clothes to a Dryer, Representing the Growing Popularity of Choosing Fragrance Free Products for the Home.

Why Fragrance Free Products Are the Healthier Choice

Among the more dangerous ingredients found in many scented products are chemicals that volatilize, or vaporize into the air, which enables us to smell them. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by fragrance products are associated with a variety of adverse health effects including:

  • Headaches
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Other respiratory and/or neurotoxic symptoms

One study from the National Library of Medicine testing 25 popular air fresheners, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, disinfectants, dish detergents, all-purpose cleaners, soaps, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorants and shampoos found them to emit more than 100 VOCs, including some classified as toxic or hazardous by federal laws. Even products advertised as “green,” “natural” or “organic” released as many hazardous chemicals as standard ones.

Amazingly, a single fragrance in a product can contain a mixture of hundreds of chemicals, some of which may form dangerous secondary pollutants, including formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Also high on the list of hazardous fragrance ingredients are phthalates, chemicals used to make scents last longer. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, and through chronic exposure may adversely influence the endocrine system and functioning of multiple organs. This could compromise healthy pregnancy, child growth and development and reproductive systems in both young children and adolescents.

As phthalates have been shown to trigger numerous health problems, several countries have restricted them, and according to this research team, more should follow suit. The Harvard School of Public Health is also pushing for phthalate elimination, in defense of many consumers who are unaware they pose a threat, especially in the case of personal care products, as due to a rather dubious corporate loophole, companies are not required to list phthalates on the ingredient list if they are considered part of the “scent formulation.”

According to Scientific American, the average fragrance product contains 14 “secret” chemicals not listed on the label. Many among them may have dangerous properties and a propensity to accumulate in human tissues. Learn more here about the dangers of phthalates and how best to minimize your exposure. Nor are these hormone disruptors the only dangerous ingredients in artificially scented products. In fact, there are over 6000 chemicals used to simulate fragrance in consumer products.

Routinely absorbing these assorted toxins through the skin, lungs or sinuses, is bad enough for adults, but it’s even worse for kids. A group of scientists studying the effects of environmental chemical exposure during early childhood created a database of Fragrance Chemicals in Children’s Products (FCCP). They compiled information on 153 of the many thousands of chemicals typically used in scented products. Among those studied, several are potential carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxicants, phytotoxins and skin sensitizers.

Fragrance-free and unscented products seem to offer an ideal solution when it comes to avoiding hazardous chemicals, but these terms are not necessarily interchangeable. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Fragrance-free means that fragrance materials or masking scents are not used in the product. Unscented generally means that the product may contain chemicals that neutralize or mask the odors of other ingredients.” The EPA has, as a result, created a program in support of healthier alternatives. Learn more about The Safer Choice Interim Fragrances Criteria.

As it happens, over 50 percent of the U.S. population would prefer that workplaces, health care facilities/professionals, hotels, trains and airplanes were designated as fragrance-free. Fortunately, this is gradually becoming a reality, especially with the continually growing array of fragrance-free products in various categories. Here is a small selection of safe, effective, natural options to get you started.

Fragrance Free Products Available at Vitacost  


The Cleaner Upper Toy and Highchair Cleaner

Earth Mama Baby Wash

Sensitive-Skin Cleansing Wipes

Silky Baby Dusting Powder

Kids Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30

Children’s Borage Therapy Lotion

Sensitive Baby Bubble Bath, Wash & Shampoo

Foaming Hand Sanitizer


All-Purpose Cleaner

Dishwashing Liquid

Degreaser Cleaner

Laundry Detergent

Laundry Soap Pods

Dryer Sheets

Natural Wool Dryer Balls

Biodegradable Wipes

Pet Odor Eliminator

Cat Litter

Unbleached Paper Towels

Personal care

Supreme Polypeptide Face Cream

Hydrating Cleansing Body Wash

Magnesium Lotion

Calendula Eczema Salve

Foaming Cleanser

Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 30

Daily Shampoo

Daily Conditioner

Borage Therapy Dry Skin Lotion

Everyday Moisturizing Wash

Aloe Vera Witch Hazel

For men

Energizing Face Wash

Super Shower Gel


Men’s Eye Treatment

Men’s Charcoal Face Scrub

Rapid Recovery Eye Cream

Hair Styling Clay

Self-pampering essentials

Coconut Oil

Dead Sea Bath Salts

Oatmeal Bath & Body Wash

Body Polish

Mineral Bath Salts

Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment

Organic Personal Lubricant

For many people, the word “fragrance” has positive associations. We don’t often stop to consider the fact that scents may pose a danger to us. That’s one reason it has taken such time for the chemicalization of fragrance to catch up to humans in terms of negative health impact. Now that we’ve reached that point for many susceptible individuals, especially children, it’s great to know we have so many beautifully effective, chemical-free product alternatives. A happy home is a safe one!

Featured Products

Babyganics The Cleaner Upper Toy and Highchair Cleaner
The Unscented Company Hand Soap
The Seaweed Bath Co Hydrating Cleansing Body Wash