How to be fragrance-free

Just as cigarette smoke can trigger asthma and other symptoms in non-smokers, someone’s fragrance can trigger symptoms in other people who come into contact with it. When people smell fragrance they are breathing it in.

How much you need to reduce the amount of fragrance on you to prevent or minimise symptoms in people sensitive to fragrance depends on their degree of sensitivity and the situation, such as a public event with a no fragrance policy, a family member or friend who is sensitive to fragrance, or visiting someone with very severe fragrance sensitivity in their home or hospital room. Here are some examples:


No strong fragrance

  • No perfume, aftershave, spray deodorant or fragranced hairspray.


No fragranced products

  • Use only fragrance-free deodorant, soap, skin care products, cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner and other hair products.
  • No perfume or aftershave.
  • Wear clothes washed with fragrance-free laundry products or sodium bicarbonate.


Completely fragrance-free

  • Use only fragrance-free products as above.
  • If clothes have ever been washed in fragranced laundry products, or got perfume on them, they may need long soakings or repeated washing to remove the residue. An alternative option might be to change into provided clothes or cover your own clothes with provided items.
  • If you cannot remove fragrance from previous hair products from your hair, cover your hair with a hat, scarf or shower cap.
  • Avoid places with air fresheners or other fragrances in the air that could leave traces of fragrance on your clothes or hair.


It is difficult to be completely fragrance-free because fragrance is in so many products and it is often difficult to totally remove it. Also, people who regularly use fragranced products often become so used to the smell that they are unaware of how much they are wearing.


Note that people who are sensitive to fragrance can also be sensitive to other chemicals, for example other ingredients in some personal care products.


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