Why do we as­so­ciate cit­rus smells with be­ing clean?

Focus-Science and Technology - - Q&A - CATRIN AV­ERY, LV

Lemons were used in the past for house­hold clean­ing. The cit­ric acid in the juice dis­solves limescale and was used to bring the shine back to cop­per pans. Le­mon oil, from the peel, was used in wood pol­ish. When com­mer­cial de­ter­gent and cream clean­ers be­came widely avail­able, le­mon oil was an easy way to add a pleas­ant scent that was al­ready as­so­ci­ated with clean­ing. Nowa­days, so many clean­ing prod­ucts use le­mon and lime scents that we have be­come con­di­tioned to link the smell with clean­ing. In 2005, Dutch re­searchers found that cit­rus smells can cause us to keep our kitchen cleaner, by sub­con­sciously putting the idea of hy­giene in our minds.

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