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November 24, 2017

What Febreze is Not Telling You

Febreeze, the product whose mission is to remove offensive odors from air and fabric, offers its products in a variety of sensual and indulgent fragrances like Sweet Citrus & Zest, Mediterranean Lavender, and Apple Spice & Comfort. Mmmmm.

And now, there’s a new offering to delight your sniffer.

“Alaskan Springtime” probably sounded good in some marketing meeting in a conference room at Proctor & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati. “Alaska… That’s clean and refreshing, right?  Slap a picture of an Alpine dogwood on that can, and we’re good to go.”

Voilà – “Alaskan Springtime,” or if you’re fancy, or Canadian, “Printemps en Alaska.”


Being right in the middle of an “Alaskan Springtime,” I was curious about how they came up with the name, so I looked on their website. I didn’t find anything specifically about the new scent, but I did find this:

How was name chosen? Published 04/04/2002 01:49 PM | Updated 03/08/2011 11:33 AM

Q: Why did you choose the name “Febreze”?
A: “Febreze” is meant to make you think of its use on fabrics and the clean smell. People also told us they liked it.

This made me even more willing to bet that whoever showed up at the brainstorming session, all eager to share the idea has not actually been to Alaska in the springtime. If they had, they would know two things:

1) Alaska doesn’t really have a springtime. We have 3 1/4 seasons. Summer, Aut…, Winter, and Breakup. In other parts of the country, Aut is referred to as “Autumn,” but here it doesn’t last long enough. One day the leaves are green, the next day they are brown, the next day there is a wind and they blow away, and then there is snow. For seven months. And finally, we have Breakup.

Breakup is reserved for the time most other places call “Spring.” After seven months of snow accumulation, when temperatures finally reach the point above which water freezes, we realize that winter has consequences. As the snow melts, things… show up. And I’m not talking about crocuses, or snowdrops, or bunny rabbits. I’m talking about everything that’s been dropped, dumped, blown off the back of a truck, or otherwise found its way into the ever-accumulating snow pile, which hides these things and gives Alaska that pristine “winter wonderland” vibe.

The melt is like a time lapse photo series of an archaeological dig. Artifacts emerge daily as the months of precipitation disappear from the top down – fast food wrappers, pants, window blinds, lumpy things wrapped in tarps, remnants of birds, styrofoam takeout packages, former cardboard boxes, building supplies, moose poop, small household furnishings, and even the occasional body. All these things are very waterlogged and unpleasant. And when the roads dry off, and the Chinook winds strike, all the sand and gravel and dirt blow up in huge choking clouds that settle on the wet things, turning them various shades of grey, brown, and ick.

To be fair, this is the experience of a populated area. What about the rest?  All that nature-y stuff?  That’s the part  that sits for weeks on end in stagnant meltwater and mud.

Which brings me to thing 2.

2) The smell.

Febreeze describes Alaskan springtime like this:

“Celebrate the first days of spring with a delicate, watery fresh fragrance
with hints of warm amber and sunshine.”

I’m not sure what Alaskan “warm amber” smells like, unless you’re talking about this:


And if that’s what you’re going for, you may as well use the real thing instead of going through the trouble of buying Febreeze. Plus, you could drink what you don’t use on your upholstery.

As for the other kind, I can tell you exactly the last time a piece of warm amber has emerged from the frightening, icy detritus. That would be… never. And as for the “delicate, watery fresh fragrance” part, perhaps they mean something akin to the unforgettable olfactory assault of pulling old thickly-slimed cut flowers from a vase.

But, I suppose Febreeze wouldn’t make much money if they practiced truth in advertising.

“Celebrate the last insanity-fueled days of cabin fever with a foul, waterlogged stench with hints of decomposing organic matter, roadside dirt, and dog poo.”



26 Responses to “What Febreze is Not Telling You”
  1. fishingmamma says:

    I took my dog out to a park this past weekend, it was soooo nice and sunny, but the boggy grass and “Alaskan Springtime” was too overwhelming, and I had to bathe the dog, clean out the truck cab, throw out my shoes, and I still cannot get that smell out of the truck’s upholstery. Not even the last half of my last bottle of Febreze worked. Not even an air freshener from the gas station.

    Anyone want to buy a truck?

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Febreeze also didn’t mention that someone’s lord and saviour ordered someone’s Adam and Eve to be multiple and have fruit flies. Took Grand Girlie Miss Molly from iowa home past a hog confinement where they were pumping out the waste pit underneath. Even Molly girl gagged at the stench. If Spring breakup compares to the stench of months of accumulated hog excrement,you have my sympathies.

    • slipstream says:

      Hi Mike,

      “Stench of months of accumulated hog excrement” ??

      You must be thinking of the legislative session in Juneau . . .

  3. Sandy Brewer says:

    As a former Alaska, these things make me homesick – especially finding that breakup releases ALL the pet and other waste I’ve not had to dispose of since Fall. Yep, we called it fall. That space between the FALL of Termination Dust on the Cugach, and Fall of snow on 5th Ave. Something like 3 days, usually. I had a friend who lived in the bush and kept a dog lot. Breakup had it’s own smells there, too.
    Enjoy your Alaskan Summer – it’ too short not too.

  4. juneaudream says:

    Ah yes..da-skunkscabbages..en bloomf! With son the second..working his way through his comp. degree work in Juneau..we did have some right dicey trips..up into the ice fields..between his shifts at Alaskan Brewing. Guessing it was about 23 years ago..and there were those times..when..labels just..go on..upside down er..wotever..and then..THAT batch..’has’ to be..withdrawn from the sales floors. sad! His picture used to hang in their office area..showing the last, and fastest..hammering in the bungs..when that was still..the route taken. This mommas..So proud at his career now..and..for all those who helped him ..Fledge! 😉

  5. AKMagpie says:

    And when the snow finally melts from the ditches surrounding the house on two sides there is the joy of raking the sand and gravel from the lawn, which you can have with a side of dust or mud, depending on the weather.

  6. Zyxomma says:

    This post gave me giggles. Jeanne, I won’t inundate you with emails from my phone of all the gorgeous spring flowers and tree blossoms I’ve been clicking lately.

  7. akbatgirly says:

    There’s something that smells like dog poop in the spring, even when there isn’t any dog poop. Some kind of plant or organism. I can’t remember what it’s called though.

  8. LA Brian says:

    So does this mean the moon doesn’t smell like cinnamon and grapefruit?

  9. tallimat says:

    Blueberry Picking Season smells the best!
    It is right after Fishy Stink Stink season and Everything Dead Does Thaw season.

    Someone needs to give them a call and tell them the Northern Lights season smells like -20 below, with a slight wind chill.

  10. Ripley in CT says:

    You had me at “pants”. LOL

  11. Motorhead says:

    Hey, and how about that tire chain I lost in my neighbor’s yard somewhere, when I was doing him a favor plowing his driveway !! I’ll be looking for that among the dogpiles…

  12. tigerwine says:

    AKM – you forgot the Easter eggs that show up as the snow melts! (even dead bodies!)

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] For your entertainment, I’ve attached an article from The Mudflats regarding “Alaskan Springtime.” If you haven’t read it, you should. It may be more entertaining than watching a grown man chase flies with a vacuum cleaner. Maybe. […]

  2. […] But that’s OK. For those who don’t know any better, it’s the greatest thing since “Alaskan Springtime” scented Febreeze. […]

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