Laundry bleach has a very distinctive strong smell that some people like and other people hate. No wonder that major bleach manufacturers like Clorox have come out with scented versions of their liquid bleach.
They now make “Citrus Blend” (far right), “Fresh Meadow,” and “Mountain Fresh” scents in addition to regular.
There is one key thing, however, they don’t tell you on the label about the scented versions. They contain less than half the active ingredient of regular bleach.
“The scented bleaches contain a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 2.75%. Clorox Bleach – Regular Scent has a sodium hypochlorite concentration of 6%.” –The Clorox Company
The label for the scented versions conveniently omits the ingredients statement that appears on the regular version:
When asked in an email why there was a lower percentage of bleach in the scented versions and why it was not listed on the label, the company did not respond. [But see below for lengthy explanation received after this story was posted.]
The label on the scented version does indicate that it should not be used for disinfecting purposes, however.
So, if your whites smell better but look a little more dingy these days, now you may know why.
UPDATE: Harold Baker, also known as “Dr. Laundry” at the Clorox Company sent Mouse Print* a response to the scent issues raised above on February 22, 2007:
I wanted to briefly comment on some of the details you point out in this post, and hopefully shed some light on the “why” behind some of the differences in our products, and dispel any misconceptions.
What is the bleach level in scented bleach products? As you point out in your Mouse Print quote, from a Clorox Company source, it is 2.75% sodium hypochlorite. This is less than the 6.0% found in our Clorox®Regular-Bleach.
Why isn’t this displayed on the label? Are you trying to hide it from consumers? Actually, if you check the store shelves, you will find that unless any consumer product is registered with a Government entity, it will NOT list specific amounts of any formula ingredient. Clorox® Regular-Bleach is a registered disinfectant therefore the active ingredient statement you displayed is required by EPA. The scented versions are not registered disinfectants and therefore do not list formula ingredients. Look at other laundry products: liquid or powder laundry detergents, stain and soil removers, even fabric softeners do not list specific ingredients on their labels. Most products are mixtures of 6-20 ingredients which would require a lot of label space to spell out. So at best you will see general description, like surfactants or enzymes, rather than very long technical names which are meaningless to the average consumer. How would this information help them decide whether to purchase and use a product? Believe me as a formulator, I would love it if my competitors would list out their ingredients so I could duplicate it more quickly and get it to market. The only other reason to have specific ingredients would be for safety. In fact, all consumer companies share this information, on a confidential basis, with Poison Control Centers to insure appropriate treatments are followed in emergencies.
Why wouldn’t all Clorox bleach products have the same bleach level? The Clorox Company has a slogan “We begin and end with the consumer”. This means that we spend a lot of time monitoring consumer needs and developing products that meet their desires. Consumer use situations and preferences vary and if you want to be successful in the marketplace, one listens carefully, develops and tests carefully and then markets EACH product to a target group. So some consumers want strong, disinfecting bleach, while others want less bleach odor or more control of the product. It is our job to find the best way to deliver those needs to be the #1 bleach company that consumers trust. [PRODUCT LISTING OMITTED by Mouse Print*]
So hopefully, you better understand that there are good reasons to sell a variety of bleach products with different actives levels. We know this is true and if you check the store shelves you’ll find a number of competitors that try to copy our products.