Distinctive person smells are more prevalent where what one does one moment isn't washed away the next. So it doesn't surprise me that in today's over washed over disinfected society people's smells are limited to what they wash with or have recently eaten.
Smell is highly emotional and a quick way to give away character descriptions. In the example of the woman whose house smelled like cookies and detergent (you said bisects and washing powder I know, but those are different smells from the ones you meant so I translated them into American in my head, then repeated them as I was thinking.) Not only can I picture the inside of the house, fastidiously clean and welcomingly comfortable, bright sunlight through cheerfully curtained windows ect. I can see the yard with its herb and vegetable garden, washing line with soft sheets and towels playing in a fine breeze. And the women herself would have a kindly smile, be sturdy in person, character, and someone people instinctively trust.
All that I got just from those two words.