Perfume Pen Pals: Favorite Functional Fragrances


There's no way of announcing this and maintaining my dignity, but I'm loving this Febreze Moroccan Bazaar Air Freshener.

I had to get something for the room with the cat litter boxes and I saw this in the supermarket: it's got ginger and nutmeg and a bunch of other spices.

Air fresheners always smell like cheap crap, but not this one. It literally smells like a spice market and when I catch a whiff walking by the room, I'm not displeased at all. Whoever created this scent should be very proud.



Oh, you don't need to tip-toe through the tulips around me when it comes to admiring functional fragrances. My love is for Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner in Geranium.

It's so fresh, rosy and happy-making. I actually look for excuses to clean just so that I can smell it again. Why can't Mrs. Meyer stop being coy and make it into a perfume already?

Speaking of good-enough-for-a-perfume household products, my dad used to insist that the fancy bottle of Divine L'Homme Sage that I gave him for his 90th birthday smelled exactly like Oust Air Freshener, "the one with the green cap". Turns out that one is evocatively called "Outdoor Scent."

Nevertheless, Dad gamely continued to wear L'Homme Sage. He said that the "usherettes" at church always complimented him on how good he smelled, adding, "and some of them are pretty cute!"



Hey, L'Homme Sage is still on my "to buy" list. I'm gonna re-investigate that one, even if I don't go to church. It seems perfect for baseball season. Though the usherettes at the Giants games are all old enough to be my mother.



That's what my dad meant by “cute.”


Fumies -- smell anything good out of a can or off a sponge lately?

Usherettes via


  1. I love Mrs. Meyer Geranium too... and the Lavender. Isn't she great?

    My interest is piqued by this moroccan febreze, will have to try. My cat litter room could use some exoticism too.

  2. Oddly enough, I like furniture-polish smells. The kind that you spray. I can't reference any specific brand, because I'm a horrible housekeeper and mostly what I remember is from my mom using it.

  3. I have Febreze Moroccan Bazaar Air Freshener! When I'm not spraying Gres Cabaret or Gap Grass in the house (mood dependent) then Moroccan Bazaar it is---it's great for, as Dan says, post litter-box visits. For my cat.

  4. We don't use a lot of "functional fragrances" in my place. I'm going to go with my personal fave fragrance that I'm counting as functional as it is part and parcel of my morning routine.

    Ladies and gents, I give you Pinaud Clubman aftershave. If by functional you mean "Steve is shaved to a baby-smooth sheen and ready to kick ass" - then this is it. A product no self-respecting man should be without.

    -Steve Porkpie Hat Johnson

  5. That opening sentence was one to savor. Thank you, Dan, for your candor, which lead to my first bust out laugh of the day.

    Mrs. Meyer's geranium is a staple for our house, though I tend to assign that to the general cleaner, and be flighty about my dish soap choices. With better and lesser results. Have always enjoyed old fashioned lemon oil on furniture, for effect and smell. I kind of like to go all "lah-bore-ah-try" mad scientist at times and whip up my own concoctions by blending unscented products with essential oils.

    I do fondly recall a friend walking into her house and sighing deeply with contentment. "Now that means clean," she said, and was so happy. Not PineSol, mind you, or bleach, but...Murphy's Oil Soap. For some reason, that one opened my mind to a host of other possibilities for what might mean "clean" in other people's heads. And that clean could bring such happiness.

    And that maybe I could fool myself a little bit by just popping open a bottle of the right potion and letting the smell permeate the joint.

  6. I love the Febreeze Moroccan Bazaar Air Freshener as well. I spray my entire house just before I run the vacuum and the smell just wafts through the air.

    Another wonderful scent I also love is the Murphy's Oil Soap. Whenever I dust the wood furniture with it--The entire house just feels as if it has been cleaned from floor to ceiling--even though it hasn't.

  7. OH! THIS IS SO GREAT! I got banned from wearing any fragrance at work, when I wore an odd one one day too strongly by ignorant mistake...

    so now I can put these air fresehners in the bathroom, and have *SOME* revenge... AH-HAHAHAHA

  8. The Costes room spray, the original one in the deep red glass container, is beautiful. A Spicy rose, hint of cinnamon, sandlewood,it is very close to the Costes fragrance (and I suspect the same formula reformatted). The other offerings (an aqueous orange that smells like a Christmas pomander, and the dark black one, which has a bit of a black rubber note to it)are not nearly as satisfying, but are definitely "niche" fragrances and not your run-of-the-mill Glade.

    I have memories of my grandmother, holding a can of Glade above her head, parading through rooms and down halls, letting the nozzle rip at bull blast the whole way. She literally fogged the house. It would induce coughing. I think it was to drive my grandfather out of the house.

  9. Well! It seems that Mrs. Meyer and her geraniums is favoring quite a few people with her charms. I suppose I can share....

    Dan and Katherine and dee,

    I don't know that I like the idea of dressing up "cat dirt" with a bouquet of exotica. I think I'd prefer some generic "clean" odor with NASA-developed masking properties. Though come to think of it, spraying Moroccan Bazaar on "kitty croquettes" amounts to an olfactory ticket to Morocco. It's a virtual holiday right there!

    And thanks for the clarification, dee, on who actually frequents the cat box at your house. That cracked me up.


    Furniture polish - yes! Lemon Pledge, perhaps?

  10. Stefush,

    You've cleverly identified a functional fragrances loophole. Years back, when I realized I wasn't getting too much personal use out of my Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger, I started to use it as an air freshener. Just a spritz in the air now and again so I could enjoy its loveliness without being bugged by its somewhat-shrillness on my skin. I ended up passing it on to a friend who would actually wear it and enjoy it.

    Which reminds me - I passed on another Lutens to another friend - this time, the notorious Miel de Bois. Once I'd keyed into its honey pissiness, it was all over for me. So I had to laugh when I saw it perched on the top of the toilet in her guest bathroom. Can you mask a body odor with another body odor?

  11. I love the smell of Endust, or at least the really old bottle of Endust my parents have. My mom makes me the clean the whole house every time i'm there, and dusting is the only part with an enjoyable smell. My mom mostly uses "green" cleaners but they still smell something fierce, most of them, like a lime icee with pine sap mixed in. The Endust, though... has this lovely antique rose-and-lemon sort of theme. I'm not sure. It's probably nearly the same as what Nora Bradshaw talked about.
    I also like a certain laundry detergent, Purex Linen & Lilies. I prefer to use unscented detergent so I don't have to worry about my clothes clashing with my perfume. But if I had to pick, I'd pick that one. Out of the jug it smells like bubblegum, after the wash it's a vague fresh floral.

  12. ScentScelf and Moonchime,

    Yes! Murphey's Oil Soap! That's a great one. I use it, too. It really does convey the sense that the house has been tenderly cared for.

    ScentScelf, I too am picky about soaps smells. It's because they linger on my hands, so I don't want anything too pungent or industrial. I've been enjoying South of France Lemon Mint Liquid Soap.

  13. Paul,

    Now I want to know which fragrance got you banished to perfume purgatory.


    Oh, we're goin' all fancy with the Costes, now, are we? Another goodie at that level is L'Artisan Parfumeur Aedes de Venustas room spray. I've got my eye on a bottle of the perfume version...

    That's such funny image of your grandmother "fumigating" the house with Glade!


    Mmm, you make Endust sound good.

    I'm with you on the unscented detergent to not clash with my perfume-wearing. But Woolite does have a wonderfully-delicate rose smell I enjoy. Funnily, I don't enjoy the same smell when it comes out of a bottle of Chloe. I figure a proper perfume should work a little harder than a supermarket brand to smell good.

  14. So I went to a super target in Vista CA today looking for all of these and found none of them. Where can I find them then?

  15. Paul,

    You can click on all of the mentioned products to order them online. For stores, I've seen Mrs. Meyers at Bed Bath & Beyond, Whole Foods and assorted supermarkets. The other ones I've seen at any grocery store (Ralph's, Pavilions, etc in SoCal.)

  16. Find the scent of Murphy's Oil Soap very comforting...and there is something oddly nostalgic to me about Love My Carpet Potpouri a very 80's way, that is. (Think original Poison!)

  17. HTH,

    Don't know Love My Carpet. Funny name!

  18. I think all the Mrs. Meyers products smell really good, considering. I tend to cycle through the different hand soap "flavors." Also recommended: Seventh Generation Lavender & Mint dish soap.

  19. I'm a dryer sheet/fabric softener connoisseur and will spend at least 10 minutes smelling them all before buying. Same w/ deodorant.

    I recommend tucking one or two dryer sheets into your vacuum's bag; it releases the fragrance through the air as you clean!

    My favorite thing for my car is the Midsummer's Night car jar from Yankee Candle. I maintain that it smells just like Drakkar. It really brings me back to when I was 17 and had my first car...

    For the house we have a plug-in from Bath&Body Works for the entry of the house. We keep it to fresh smells like White Citrus or the Eucalyptus Mint one. In the bedroom we have Sexual Amber. Which is automatically unsexy for having the word Sexual in it.

    ...and sometimes, when I straighten my hair, I'll rub the little extra Moroccan Oil from my hands on my dog. She doesn't mind it, I swear. I know dogs like to have their own smell on them but it wears off in a few minutes.

  20. Elisa,

    I use Mrs. Meyers Lemon Verbena in the kitchen. I'll have to check out the Seventh Generation stuff.


    I am so with you on enjoying the glorious smell of Moroccan Oil hair products!! It reminds me of the smell of Miller Harris Fleur Oriental. Moroccan Oil should do a perfume, because everyone who uses it loves the scent.

    Now, my question is, don't you start to have an aroma pile-up as all those room fresheners bleed out of their areas and into other parts of the house?

    Speaking of "Sexual Amber", my friend Alison (the one who has my old Miel de Bois on her toilet) has one of those L'Artisan wooden amber balls in her living room. It does smell so comforting and mmmm.

  21. Thymes Frasier Fir All Purpose Cleaner. I hate to clean, but I find myself constantly spraying down the kitchen and bathroom counters with this stuff. As expected from the name, it smells precisely like a Christmas tree.
    If they'd just come out with a carpet powder, I might even be motivated to vacuum.

  22. Acorn Alley,

    That does sound appealing. I just looked at their website and was amused to see a "fragrance profile" graphic accompanying the product description.

  23. Dear Katie - in speaking of loopholes, I would like to nominate Frederic Malle's Dans tes Bras as the first-ever ANTI-functional fragrance. They bill it as "the scent of skin", but really it's the scent of cat piss and leftovers.

    It's the only scent I've ever worn outside of Insert-Your-Bath and Body Works-Offering-Here that I couldn't scrub off fast enough.

  24. Stefush,

    I have to admit Dans Tes Bras never really jelled for me either. No cat piss for me, but certainly some industrial-strength leftovers.

  25. "Ladies and gents, I give you Pinaud Clubman aftershave. If by functional you mean "Steve is shaved to a baby-smooth sheen and ready to kick ass" - then this is it. A product no self-respecting man should be without."

    ScentSelf/Moonchime--YES!!! How could I forget the Murphy's oil soap???

  26. I live in a part of the world where functional fragrances aren't household items on a grand scale. I don't know anyone who would scent their homes. And may it stay that way. In a perfect world none of my personal care products, cleaning products etc. would be scented. And I don't want my home to smell of anything but fresh air (if there is such a thing these days). But the world is not perfect and particularly unscented hair styling products of a decent quality are hard to come by.

    I want me, myself, I to smell good, and I want to choose the scent of the day myself - not have it imposed on me from shampoo, lotions, hair styling products, shaving gels etc. Most often the scents of such products are too crude to enjoy.

    Incidentally, I washed some clothes with a sample of Thierry Mugler's Angel Lily by accident a while ago and it made for an excellent fabric softener scent, if scented fabric softener was what I wanted. An expensive one, but still very, very nice.

  27. @Katie: We actually don't have a fragrance traffic jam with multiple fragrance thingies in the house. The smells don't seem to spread much beyond the confines of the room where they are plugged in. They don't spread as far or as strongly as, say, a high-end candle or my Lamp Berger oil lamp (have you heard of them??).

    My husband and I are also huuuuge fans of Antica Farmacista's oil diffuser sticks. We'd have them in every room if they weren't so cost prohibitive (Champagne, Green Fig, Vanilla Bourbon and Mandarin...mmmm they're such great quality.). So, we stick to the cheapie stuff from B&BW.

    Moroccan Oil needs to come in a body oil, an eau de parfum, candle, car freshener, etc. I am OBSESSED with it.

  28. PS: I friggen love your blog and your videos!!!!

  29. This is a little off topic - or I may just be turning the topic on its head? Anyway, I was once the victim of Delhi Belly at a friend's house and when the gastric crisis had finally passed, went hunting in her bathroom for an air freshener. The only scented aerosol product I spied was the aptly named Jade Goody Shhhhhh...! So I sprayed it with abandon and think I got away with it. Mum's the word... : - )

  30. Vanessa, your post made me think of my Biotherm Eau D'Energie which I got as a "summer scent" a couple of years ago. One the one hand I quite like the orange and mandarin notes. On the other hand I'm always left with the suspicion that I end up smelling like air freshener after applying it. And if I get that suspicion, others might as well - and who wants others to think that you've recently been in a room where air freshener was needed. Silly, I know. I still use it, though, as it works very well on humid summer days. But here's a recommendation for an all purpose scent. And I will be on the look out for a new summer scent. I'm thinking Escale a Portofino.

  31. Hey, I'm wearing FM Dans Tes Bras today and I definitely don't smell like "cat piss and industrial leftovers" :)

    But let's stick to the topic. As air freshener, I am currently using the Febreeze Sandalwood and I really like it. It is a sweet sandalwood scent with a hint those old fashioned wood furniture oils. I also liked a limited edition of the Vernel fabric softener, which smelled like Lolita Lempicka, unfortunately, can't find it anymore.

    Cat piss scented hugs,)


  32. I stock my house with Method cleaners. Their Eucalyptus Mint bathroom cleaners smell way better then they sound (actually quite mellow, but bright? I don't know how they manage to get both ends of the spectrum there), and the MethodBaby dryer sheets have a "Rice Milk and Mallow" scent that's warm, clean and comforting.

    I'm going to have to check out Mrs. Meyers now though! Sounds lovely :)

  33. Great topic, btw, reminded me of running to the laundry closet and guess what I found.... one last bottle of the aforementioned fabric softener. Don't know if it's available in the US, but if so, it's a must try for the ones who enjoy Lolita Lempicka (or for the ones who, like me, like how it smells but don't want direct contact with the skin for being too overpowering). It's Vernel Glamour Selection in "white elegance":)

    Still smelling like cat piss and industrial leftovers and LOVING it!!!



  34. I'm feeling a light bulb moment coming on.
    Perhaps the widespread use of oriental notes in air fresheners of various sorts are responsible for my ambivalent relationship with oriental perfumes. On the one hand I find them very satisfying and recognizable. On the other hand their ability to mask and, paradoxically, their resemblance to various bodily emissions (what makes them so "believable" as air fresheners probably) is perhaps what makes me not really use much the oriental perfumes that I've owned over the years. They are familiar smelling and comfy, and sometimes too familiar. I realize that I might not be making much sense here as this is probably an instance of very personal scent associations.

    By the way, eucalyptus flavored gum also makes me think of bathrooms.

    And then there was the awkward moment 20 + years ago when my sweet American boyfriend introduced a beverage called Sarsparillo (??) to me after he'd been home visiting his family. My first and too spontaneous comment was "This tastes the way toilet cleaners smell" Needless to say I got the silence treatment for at while there.

    Sabrina, of course you don't smell like cat piss and industrial waste! Now I'm regretting that I didn't order a sample of Dans Tes Bras from Les Senteurs just a few days ago. I actually considered it, but for some reason I chose not to.

  35. Junelady, you should have tried it! Maybe in your next order... I don't get any of the cat piss or industrial leftovers scent from Dans Tes Bras. But I do get some sweat smell, not the nasty one, but some sort of clean skin sweat. Just salty, nothing more than that, and it's really comforting:)



  36. Junelady,

    Like you, I prefer to live in an environment where my perfume is the shining star. While I do enjoy scented candles or incense in a shop or wherever, I don't crave that perpetual blanket of smell at home. But I do enjoy nice-smelling cleaning products, and the odor is temporary anyway.

    And as much as I love the smell of Moroccan Oil hair products, I found that I had to stop using them, because they did interfere with perfumes I wanted to wear.

    You might be onto something with attributing the success of oriental-inflected air fresheners in combating...err..."odors of elimination." Dan just wrote to me that he thought Moroccan Bazaar Febreze worked with the cat litter box because it's "pitched surprsingly low". But your homeopathic, "hair of the dog" theory of odor masking is even more to the point.

  37. Gretchen,

    Thanks for your friggen love!

    Re Moroccan Oil perfume, I have wondered if I could just dab a bit of the hair oil onto my skin as a fragrance. I don't see why not. It's the same as when the original Estée Lauder Youth Dew bath oil was adopted by fans as a perfume.


    That's rich that Jane Goody "Shhhh!" shushed the evidence of your intestinal eruption. Something for the ad copy?


    Meant to cast my vote for Dior Escale a Portofino for a great summer scent!

  38. Sabrina,

    What a great result finding the "Lolita Lempicka" fabric softener in your magic cupboard!

    Re Dans Tes Bras, I should clarify "industrial leftovers" to "odd musky and violet metal". Or is that just the same as "industrial leftovers"? Whatever, I'm sure you smell scrumptious!


    Thanks for the tip-off on the Method line. And to everyone else's suggestions. I've got a whole new avenue of olfactory thrillseeking ahead of me.

  39. Come ON! I am cracking up! Am I the only one who picked up on the fact that Dan has cat boxES? As in more than one? Ahem, how many do you need? Or was it a simple typo? I have not heard of the Moroccan air freshener and I am having a head-scratching moment trying to decide why I would want to use such a scent for that particular odor. Next time I go to the store I am going to surreptiously spray a bit of the Morrocan stuff in the aisle and then walk past to take a sniff.

    After enduring some horrific dog odors from some unwelcome guests, I discovered Glade automatic air freshener. It goes in a container that you can set for how frequently it sprays. I don't like the scented oils. I imagine greasy oil on me, my furniture, my cat, my dog, hanging in the air.... yuck. The scent I like of the automatic freshener is called Clean Linen. It smells... clean. I like it and when I walk in the house, the house smells clean. Ah, would that it were so.

    I have some Murphy's Oil Soap and I will have to take a sniff cos I don't remember it at all. Now that would be something to put in a time-lapsed spray and forget all this pretense of cleaning all together! Ha!

  40. SoS,

    I did notice Dan's cat boxES, and wondered about that, too. Maybe his two cats are extra finicky, with each needing her own box? But it's probably a typo. Who needs stereophonic kitty litter trays?

  41. Right now, I would be happy if my one kitty was a better mouser! I have been finding evidence of mice and found one snoozing, er I mean gone to his heavenly reward, in my bedroom. And an hour before I had walked by there and I swear it wasn't there. I thought Miss Cassie had brought me a present. But later she was scouting out one in the powder room but she apparently thought it had expired cos she left it alone. I later found it chilling on a pile of towels. I then had to take it to its heavenly reward. Real mice aren't as cute as the one in the Tom and Jerry cartoons!

  42. I'm afraid that I'm gonna have to disagree with Dear Old Dad about the Oust fragrance being similar to L'homme Sage. I went questing for the oust, and after several stores, found it, and sprayed it and said, nope! Then when I visited our second bathroom, I also found an older bottle that I didn't even remember I had bought, same brand and fragrance, "Outdoor Scent", with the green cap, just as pictured, and sprayed it, but still said, Nope!

  43. Paul,

    I'm most interested to hear your findings in the great Oust vs. L'Homme Sage debate! I am relieved that I hadn't gifted my D.O.D. with perfume that smelled like poo camo.

  44. really late in the game- but stumbled upon this one and have to add my 2 scents...As far as functional fragrances- I highly recommend The Good Home Company- Beach Days vacuum beads- This is a PERFECT salty fresh scent- Not aquatic- more yummy salt- I was so hooked on these at one point, I wrote the good Home co to suggest they make a Beach Days perfume- and lo and behold, I see on their website they now offer it! My vacuum always ends up smelling like dog hair, but, these beads really do the trick and help make vacuuming a more pleasurable experience- Also- love the Moroccan oil idea to put on the four legged family members- yes- that stuff is divine! Katie, I also was smitten with the febreeze morrocan bazarre at one point, and have also enjoyed the Myers geranium on my kitchen counters...My latest functional frag. intrigue is Swiffer Dust & shine furniture spray with febreeze lavender/ vanilla comfort- just wiped down the office desk with it yesterday- good blend of that pledgy furniture polish smell with some lavender pizzaz- and for some reason, I like the whole idea of spraying wood with lavender- sounds somehow like a right thing to do - not sure why...another old school one I love is the original lysol- concentrated stuff in the little brown bottle- could just be a love based from memory- but seem to be drawn to the really medicinal disinfectant smells- also adore the smell of betadine- the dark disinfectant stuff you apply to skin...and just for the record, I dig dans tes bras...though it's an odd one, I did enjoy wearing it for a stint- but did wonder if I was grossing out folks around me- was blown away when a young woman complimented my smell one day I was wearing it, had to wonder if there was something else I was wearing that she was smelling- like a body lotion or hair product...? remember thinking, "surely, she can't be smelling the dans tes bras"...funny

    1. Thanks for the additional functional fume tips, pinkcash, although the Lysol "reduction" might truly be a solo trip down memory lane.

      The Beach Days vacuum beads sound promising - I'll get my perfume guinea pig Dan on it pronto.

      I know what you mean about being surprised if someone likes the perfume you're wearing just to please yourself.