If you grew up before “green cleaning” became really mainstream, you know that smell. That fresh, pine or bleach smell that you walked into and was so comforting. It really just felt clean, didn’t it? Now that the focus on home cleaning has shifted, we are coming to realize that those smells are really not as important, and can actually be more hazardous to your health than the dirt you are trying to remove. Essentially, a home that is well cleaned will be free of any smells at all, whether it be chemical, pet, or people odors.

While it is important to keep your home clean and safe, keeping bacteria away doesn’t need to be as intensive as you might think. Heavy scented antibacterial products are not necessary in every part of your home. Those products will kill good bacteria along with the bad, and as a result your body will become accustomed to not having anything around for your immune system to regulate. Over time, that will cause your body to be less effective in fighting off ailments such as the cold and flu.

We all can agree that we need to keep bacteria and germs under control, but what’s important to understand is how cleaning works in general. When you are wiping, for example, your bathroom counter, the product you use will break up and trap the dirt and oil, which is where the majority of germs and bacteria are looming. Unless you are cleaning raw meat juice or anything that can make you very sick, antibacterial products are not generally necessary.

If it is important to you that your home have a smell, try essential oils. Personally, I prefer to use lemongrass oil in warm weather, and peppermint oil when it’s chilly. Keep small ramekins hidden around your home with a few drops and some water or baking soda and refresh every few days.