What exactly is the smell that makes someone want to bury their nose in a freshly washed towel that has been line dried in the outdoor air?
It sounds like a question for a poet, or maybe a marketer hawking a new detergent brand, but in fact, it was scientific inquiry that settled the matter, at least in the most literal sense:
“…the smell of line-dried laundry is due to the unique combination of traces of atmospheric hydrocarbons, sunlight and a wet fabric surface. This surface photochemistry is likely to be widespread in the environment on surfaces of natural materials.”
That was the conclusion of researchers at the University of Copenhagen, who decided to get to the bottom of what was so appealing about that fresh laundry smell. They washed a set of cotton Ikea towels in ultra-purified water, hung them in various locations and then sealed them into bags for testing. Their research identified a collection of aldehydes and ketones responsible for the lovely smell that has been inspiring poets and detergent campaigns since long before its source had been decoded.
The Power to Evoke Memories and Provoke Feelings
That is the power of scent. Part chemistry and part emotion, scent stimulates our brains in a way that no other senses can match. Or as poet Richard Wilbur writes in “Washing Lines” – an anthology that “devotedly celebrates washing blowing on the line and the smell of clean linen”:
“Oh, let there be nothing on earth but laundry …”
The sense of smell is the strongest of our senses and it is closely connected to memory and emotion. Memories and emotions often come flooding back when we encounter scents associated with certain events, recollections or people.
Silvia Pugliese, the lead researcher in the laundry scent project, told The New York Times that she was excited to uncover the chemicals that produce the line-dried laundry scent because the smell reminded her of home.
The Art and Science Behind Scented Promotions
At H&H we help some of the best-known brands in the world put the power of scent to work for campaigns that create that same sort of inspiration. Whether you want to invoke the idea of home, or vacation, love or even misbehavior – we can create the right scent – or combination of scents – to drive your message home – or to the beach if you prefer.
Our expertise in the field of multisensory screen printing has made us the choice for a wide array of scented print materials, from packaging, to “smell and watch” television campaigns, to tests for identifying smell dysfunction that can be a marker of COVID-19 infection. We do it with a painstaking process of R&D and screen printing expertise that provides a long-lasting and exceptionally accurate reproduction of more than 800 smells – and counting.
Smell What We Can Do
If you can’t find the fragrance you’re thinking of on our list, which includes the smell of fresh air, of course, along with sea breeze, suntan oil, money, apple pie, candy corn, birthday cake and an Italian restaurant’s worth of pizza varieties, we can create custom scents. There is no concept too obscure (smell “misbehavin’”) and no request too strange (see: moose poop).
Screen printing is a precise and artisanal process that is ideally suited to the application of high-quality customized scent printing, which is why so many of the world’s best known brands have used H&H to create their multisensory campaigns. Unlike offset or flexographic printing, screen printing allows for a precise, customized, long-lasting and concentrated application of scent.
At H&H Graphics, we can help make your next campaign a fresh breeze, literally. Give us a call or click on the link below to smell what we can do for you.