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Renuzit is a brand of air fresheners produced by the Dial Corporation. The Renuzit brand once included a solvent-based spot remover and cleaner as well.
How air fresheners work
Air fresheners are basically perfume dispensers. In the 1950s, the most popular air freshener was Air Wick, consisting of a perfumed solution in a glass bottle with a large wick that could be raised in the open neck of the bottle. These were not altogether satisfactory, not only because of the hazard of knocking the bottle over and spilling the liquid, but also because the wick tended to dry out on the surface.
Early aerosols dispensed perfume oils, leaving a heavy scent in the air.
Modern air fresheners
In the 1950s, consumers responded well to the modern Glade air fresheners introduced by S. C. Johnson & Son. Solid Glade was a perfumed vegetable gelatin. Aerosol Glade used an emulsion of perfumed oil and water, which gave the consumer a much more controllable scent that dispersed rapidly. Glade remains the market leader.
Renuzit's aerosol product was a me-too product. Their solid air freshener, however, was packaged in an attractive extruded plastic cone. This may have worked against Renuzit sales. As the gelatin dries out, the light vacuum-formed shell of a Glade solid air freshener would lose most of its weight, and get discarded. It is not so obvious that the Renuzit freshener is also depleted.
More recently, air fresheners have used heat-based convection and even small fans to disperse the fragrance.
Traditionally, the best-selling air fresheners for all companies were heavy floral scents, and "Powder Room", which aped the fragrance of Johnson's baby powder.
Renuzit introduced a popular fragrance in 1972 which they called Super Odor Killer. The fragrance in SOK was not readily identifiable, because SOK used a blend of perfumes left over when fragrance manufacturers produced a little too much for another company's orders. This blend was not only good at masking a variety of odors, it could be used at slightly higher fragrance levels without overwhelming the user.
Renuzit was also the first to introduce an air freshener for the kitchen when they brought out "Country Kitchen" cinnamon fragrance in 1979. It proved to be highly popular and was soon copied by competitors.
Renuzit offered a cleaning solvent at one time, sold in 4-ounce steel dispenser cans similar to those used for multipurpose household oil, and in steel quart and gallon cans similar to those used for paint thinner. It was apparently a dry-cleaning fluid, believed to be Benzine based and excellent for all colorfast objects and most, if not all, plastics, then & now. It was/is a good selection to remove the sticky adhesive left behind by older labels. In 1972, a gallon retailed for approximately $2.49. At that time, the label indicated that the Drackett Products Co. was the USA distributor. Manufacture of the product appears to have been discontinued in the early 1960s.
Renuzit cleaning fluid was originally produced by the Radbill Oil Co. of Philadelphia in 1932, which became Renuzit Home Products Co. before 1947. They were acquired by Drackett in 1969, which had been bought by Bristol-Myers in 1965, which in turn, merged with Squibb in 1989. Bristol-Myers Squibb sold Drackett to S. C. Johnson & Son in 1992, at which point, the Federal Trade Commission ordered Johnson to divest itself within a year of the Renuzit products and certain other products, and not purchase any other company making air fresheners for 10 years. They sold Renuzit to Dial Corporation, which became a subsidiary of Henkel KGaA, based in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2004.
According to urban legend, the label on a 1995 can of Renuzit air freshener included a deliberately planted phallic image. In March, 1995, Dial introduced a new label for the Fresh Cut Flowers fragrance of their aerosol air freshener. Within a couple of months, both Dial and retailers started receiving complaints about a phallus that appeared on the can. In fact, the image was that of a tulip stem, which was readily apparent when looking at the same image on the Renuzit LongLast Roommate air freshener.
Dial switched to another photo for subsequent production.
- "Clearing the Air About a Label" by Henry Gilgoff in the June 9, 1995 Newsday.