Please make "fragrance-free" a filter

Level 10
Tempe, AZ

Please make "fragrance-free" a filter

There is now a HUGE number of people who are fragrance-sensitive or have MCS. I'm one of them.


The odours of conventional cleaning products, air fresheners, dryer sheets, etc. make me sick. They give me headaches, burning eyes, feelings of tightness and tingling, respiratory irritation, heart palpitations, nausea, dry mouth and many other symptoms. I've had more than one vacation ruined by fragranced bedrooms that were making me ill. Surveys indicate that about one-third of the population in the US and other countries is fragrance-sensitive or has MCS or prefers fragrance-free spaces.


Please AirBnB stop ignoring this incredibly large group of people. You currently have filters for 13 different accessibility features. Could you PLEASE add another one, "fragrance-free"? Fragrance-free properties actually exist, it's just that you can't easily find them, at least not on the airbnb site itself. (Google search can be used as a workaround, but it's far from perfect.) Thanks!

1 Best Answer

I can see why you would think that, because you are probably picturing the people who would use this feature as entitled white ladies who put too much faith in Gwyneth Paltrow's take on medicine. In truth, they are people with conditions like MCAS who need to travel and are grateful for any accomodations that aren't a total assault on their bodies. Because of that, as long as the host makes the accomodations the say they will (e.g., no scented products and cleaning with safer products) they can expect very positive reviews.


For example, the only fragrance free Airbnb I know of is near Sedona, is always booked, and has great ratings.

In my own experience, I have managed to find a number of hosts who were willing to work with my medical issues, and we have always been on good terms because the accommodations I asked for were relatively easy (see above) and even though I wasn't perfectly comfortable, I felt much better then I would have in an ordinary hotel or Airbnb. But a fragrance free filter would have saved me SO MUCH work contacting hosts and explaining my medical needs.


The only time I have ever heard of a person leaving a bad review was when a woman was repeatedly assured by a host that the room used unscented laundry detergent and no scented air fresheners, which turned out to be completely untrue.


As for the other points like the healthy bed (i.e. A bed that doesn't off gas the VOCs that trigger our symptoms), those are things that would make a space even better for many, but I don't think anyone would expect those things just because a place is listed as fragrance free.


I think you are also underestimating the prevalence of these conditions because people with them usually don't mention them. People who report any degree of problems with fragrances are about 20% of the population (mostly headaches and such) and severe sensitivities are about 2%. That means a number of hosts may already be practicing fragrance free cleaning of their properties, but are unable to communicate it with the large numbers of clients who would love to rent such a space. At one rental I checked out in 2021, I spoke to a cleaning lady and asked if she could use mostly vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to clean. She replied that those were all she used because her son was "sensitive to chemicals."

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192 Replies 192
Level 2
Seattle, WA

I absolutely agree! We only use all natural/no artificial ingredient cleaners. Dryer sheets are not allowed in our house as they make both of us sick. Our laundry detergent is all natural, and wool dryer balls replace the need for dryer sheets.

Thank you for making this request. Many of our guests have expressed gratitude that we do not use "air freshners" and have consistently remarked on how clean and peaceful our space is. We use charcoal bags to clean mildew and odors out of the air, avoid using heavy rugs, and always open the windows wide to let fresh air in between guests. 

Level 2
Frisco, TX

YES! We need to know fragrance free Air BNB’s! Or at least those that try to use fragrance free products. I can’t travel at all because of fragrance reactions. It would open my world again to know if there’s a safe or safer place for me to stay!

Level 7
Springfield, OR

As a hostess, i state in our description we use 100% cotton linens, non toxic products and to please leave strong fragrance behind if you are staying with us....For folks posting here, we think we are disabled or sick, because we are the canaries in the coal mine, but in reality, anything that has "fragrance" or "parfum" in the list of ingredients, is a masking term for thousands of chemicals manufacturers do not have to disclose. These ingredients contain neurotoxins that contribute to ADD, Depression, and Dementia amongst other conditions.....we are the lucky ones, because we can smell em! They also hit our immune, respiratory, and endocrine systems in the same manner as second hand smoke, so for all those host/esses who ban smoking on their property, you should be banning these as well.....

When i am looking for a place to stay, i message the host/esses before i book. I don't inquire if the place is non toxic or fragrance free, i ask, "what laundry detergent/cleaning products do you use? We travel with our own linens, but if you use any Febreeze or those Glade plug in thingys, they would pretty much do us in"....I have had pretty good success over the years with this line of inquiry....but also just had guests whose fragrance ruined a duvet and actually got down into the mattress....please please people...our children are dealing with ADD and Depression, our friends are getting dementia....Wake up please, and yes Airbnb, please make a category for non's hard to totally guarantee fragrance free, as some guests will wear fragrance in their body care products and not even realize it....then it's in the linens, and like fabric softener, is insidious and never comes out...... 

I also have mast cell activation syndrome. Rentals are tough since they don't list this and have no idea of the seriousness. It could put me in the ER or kill me. I usually stick to a small number of hotel chains that work with me on linens and products. 

@Annmarie81  Hi Annmarie, Since learning of this, I have been using ALL Fragrance Free detergent and fragrance free body wash.  Will that do correctly with someone with your condition?  I dont like fragrance products on my body myself and my laundry but I do not have a condition.

Level 1
Alameda, CA

I am one of those thousands too! It’s an increasing number of people- a hidden epidemic truly- as more and more people’s bodies reach an overload of environmental toxins. I get debilitating migraines and seizures triggered by synthetic fragrances. Plus there’s tons of evidence and research out there now about the “fragrance loophole” that  allows over 6000 undisclosed chemicals known to be carcinogenic and endocrin disrupters to be hidden in the ingredient “fragrance”. I understand why it seems so far fetched to those who aren’t affected and can’t smell what we smell- but we’re canaries in the coal mine. It’s not healthy for anybody even if you aren’t getting sick. And terrible for infants and children too! I desperately wish Airbnb and hotels would have a fragrance free option too. 
It’s true people/places that have used strong smells for a long time it’s practically impossible to remove it once it’s there, but at the very least it would take the edge off for the sensitive people and increase awareness about all this. 
Just read an interesting article in the New York Times that scented body products and detergents account for 50% of greenhouse gasses in LA! So not only would people be protecting their own health and the health of loved ones, and strangers (and why shouldn’t you care for your neighbors and strangers), they’d also be contributing to positive environmental change. Aloha 

Level 10
Hallowell, ME

I hate to be a wet blanket but in my check in instructions, I ask the guest to let me know if they are sensitive to fragrances.  Of the thousands of guests, there were less than six who asked for accommodation.  Not that I will stop asking, but just making an observation.

This is a filter / biased sample effect. Those who are highly fragrance sensitive often avoid travel as a rule, because of the enormous difficulty of finding suitable accommodations. If they travel, they will prefer accommodations that advertise unscented and natural cleaning and laundry, and conversely actively avoid accommodations that are obviously unsuitable.

One of the things that make a space unsuitable for fragrance-sensitive people is carpet. Carpet traps scents, and is usually an absolute nightmare, especially in the bedroom.

I try to find places that have tile in the bedroom, and hardwood as a compromise. If a place has carpet in the bedroom, that's almost an automatic no. So if your space has carpet in the bedroom, it would not be surprising if you get almost no guests with fragrance sensitivity as a concern. 


Other factors that will almost automatically drive away fragrance-sensitive people is expressed commitment to "enhanced cleaning" in the description (because this means MCS-triggering disinfectants), visible plug-in air fresheners or spray bottles in the pictures, or assurances that the space has been recently remodeled or renovated. Unless this was done with nontoxic building materials, it means strong VOC emissions from fresh paint.

Great points, Brian! The "natural cleaning" can be a major red flag, too, as many use products like the highly toxic Mrs. Meyers or things that include essential oils. So many mistakenly think "natural" automatically means safe for everyone.


When EOs and/or products made with EOs are used in the shower/bath/laundry/etc., keep in mind that there are many different brand new chemicals being created once the chemical compounds in the EOs mix with other things, especially camphene that's found in most EOs - when it mixes with chlorine, found in most water supplies, it then creates toxaphene, which is a banned "forever" pesticide. That's for sure not a non-toxic option.

Also when EOs are oxidized, you then create several toxins like the benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, etc. that folks adamantly say they don't want to be around when they ditch the synthetically fragranced products, not realizing they aren't actually avoiding those (and many other) toxins by using EOs as an alternative.

Level 2
Alpharetta, GA


Level 1
Richmond, Canada

Hi @Brian450 

Have you had much luck staying at any Airbnbs that are fragrance free? Can you recommend any? I have some travel coming up in the US (specifically Phoenix and Salt Lake City)..... hoping to connect with people who have brought this up on these forums for recommendations. 

I seen a Host post about a filter also because she offered fragrance free  


Level 2
Athens, AL

Absolutely agree.  No fragrance!  The easiest solution airbnb could offer is a request box to check stating "prefer fragrance-free".  Since it would be a request, it would not require hosts to be held to provision.  But, it would let the host know guest does not want scented linens, air freshners or plug-ins.