Odorants contain complex mixtures of different chemical substances. To illustrate, your cleaning products, perfumes, and even fumes are all kinds of odorants. Odorants may make things smell good, but they are bad for your asthma. You can be exposed to odorants directly through perfumes and fragrances or indirectly with cleaning products.


Perfumes contain fragrances that worsen your asthma.

Fragrances are another odorant that can worsen your asthma symptoms. Perfumes and cleaning products contain substances that irritate your airways. However, the fragrances in cleaning products are more harmful to your airways than the fragrances you wear. That is because fragrances contain chemical mixtures that are secondary to those found in cleaning products. As a result, your asthma can be triggered by both.

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Labored or difficulty breathing
  • Stuffy or runny nose

Defend Yourself against Odorants

Work-Related Exposure

Some occupations, like janitorial or custodial services and even certain hospital workers, give you frequent exposure 1 to odorants and strong chemicals. Spray-based cleaning products, such as bleach and ammonia, contain particles that irritate your eyes, hands, and skin if you have direct contact with them. If inhaled, these chemicals irritate the lining of your nose and airways. As a result, you experience new or worsening asthma symptoms.

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing

Minimize Your Risks

  • Work with your employer to reduce your exposure to odorants and harmful chemicals
  • Avoid using spray-based cleaning agents 
  • Use cleaning agents that are fragrance-free