Snake oil salesmen lying to us accidentally paved the way for a safer world.

The fascinating reason product labels are so boring.

When someone is selling a product that doesn't do what they say, they're often called snake oil salesmen.

The phrase brings to mind the old Wild West with shouty men waving little bottles of magical medicines that promise everything short of immortality but do absolutely nothing.

But snake oil's real history — and its legacy — is much more interesting.

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Family
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Seventh Generation

Why do your favorite cleaners smell so awesome? It’s science! (Mostly.)

Would a rose by any other name really smell so sweet?

Smell may be the most undervalued of all of the senses — but it shouldn't be.

A McCann Worldgroup study even found that some millennials rank their sense of smell below their phone and laptop in terms of importance. But we actually pay attention to smells a lot more than you may realize, especially when choosing items that go in our homes.

Consumer data shows that we buy A LOT of scented cleaning products. In a 2014 study, a polling company found that 40% of American consumers considered whether a dishwashing detergent had "a pleasant fragrance" when buying it.

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Heroes
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Seventh Generation

The confusing pile of government departments in charge of that soap you just bought.

The interesting — and kinda confusing — way your cleaning products make it to market.

Congratulations! You've just bought a brand-new cleaning product that's going to revolutionize the way you clean your home/car/workplace.

It's been a long time coming, but after years of development, testing, and marketing, this game-changing clean-making innovation is now available to the world. This time next year, the person who invented it will be on stage receiving the Nobel Prize in chemistry, and Jennifer Lawrence or Michael Keaton will be getting ready to play them in a movie.


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Seventh Generation