We can all agree that air quality is important.

When you’re running a business, safety should always be your number one priority. You may not be in the health business, but you want to promote wellness within your organization. Taking proper environmental health precautions benefit your staff, customers, and you.   

If you’ve thought about adding a scent marketing system to your business, you’ve probably done a lot of research. Not only do you want to understand what exactly scent marketing is but you want to make sure the cost doesn’t outweigh the benefits.

But there’s more to cost than financial implications. When you bring in a new tool, you have to ask if using it will result in negative side effects.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about fragrance oils. In the face of consumer concern over potential bacterial hazards in fragrance oils, some brands make lofty antibacterial claims. It’s legitimate to ask questions about the potential for bacteria in fragrance oils.

Perfumery is an art and science. Many questions and concerns about fragrance oils can be answered with a little insight into the science of perfumery. As leaders in the scent marketing industry, we’re excited to educate consumers on the science behind creating breathtaking scents.

So, what’s the truth about the antibacterial properties of fragrance oils?

All fragrance oils available on the market have antibacterial properties, but they are not antibacterial.

We know—it’s a little confusing. So, let’s break that down.

By their very nature, all fragrance oils are bacteriostatic. Meaning it isn’t possible for bacteria or other viral materials to grow there. Fragrance oils don’t provide a hospitable living environment for bacteria and therefore, can’t support the growth of bacteria.

But what makes fragrance oils bacteriostatic? We asked Rachel Beaver, Senior Manager of Fragrance with ScentAir, to explain.

“The vast majority of ambient scenting brands utilize oil-based materials; whereas water-based fragrances are more commonly used for niche products. Water allows ‘things’ to grow. Knowing this fact, the fragrance oils used in ambient scenting, like what we use at ScentAir, wouldn’t have the identified properties to allow for bacteria growth.”

So, if a fragrance is oil-based, you can be sure it won’t become a bacterial breeding ground.

But—let’s be clear:

That does not mean that oil-based fragrances are antibacterial. You wouldn’t want to, say, apply the oil as you would a soap. Fragrance oils don’t kill bacteria or viruses on contact. For a product to be considered antibacterial, it would be subject to significant testing. A regulatory agency would substantiate all antibacterial and antiviral claims. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA) would evaluate those claims.

Preventing the spread of infectious disease is a national health concern. The EPA takes antibacterial claims very seriously. They regulate claims to prevent consumers from relying on ineffective products. Without these regulations we run the risk of spreading disease. 

So, what does this mean for the air quality in your business when using a scent marketing system?

No matter who you work with to achieve your scent marketing goals, your fragrance oil won’t be a source of bacteria or viruses. Nor will it spread bacteria or viruses through the air.

If you need a product that kills germs on contact, be sure to check a brand’s website for regulatory information. Brands that offer antibacterial products will never leave you guessing on the details. They’ll be able to provide a comprehensive list of the bacteria and viruses their product eliminates on contact.

It’s always ok to ask questions. If a company is making antibacterial claims, be sure to ask to see their regulatory documentation. They should have this information readily available to share. 

The health and safety of the products and services you use in your business will always be a top concern. And it should be. With a little fragrance industry knowledge, you can make an educated decision about what scent solution would be best for your business.

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