DIY Fabric Refresher

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  January 10, 2012 — 11 Comments

I have always described myself in the olfactory department as having been blessed with a stunted sense of smell. I spent the first twenty-six and a half years of my life blissfully unaware of all but the most offensive of stenches, and able to lazily soak in the scents of candles, perfumes, and flowers without ever feeling overwhelmed by their strength. Well, over the past few months this seems to have changed. Suddenly this former smoker is disgusted by the smell of cigarettes, my refrigerator disgusts me, and I’m convinced that my whole house reeks of cat urine. I need for my friend Lauren (cursed for life with a sensitive sniffer) to come to my house and tell me whether I’m imagining it, but unfortunately she lives in Atlanta so I’ve just got to suffer through Nick’s endless reassurances that he doesn’t smell anything.

I’ve been complaining for weeks that the living room, in particular, is hosting some undetected bit of cat urine. I can’t locate the source of the stench, and Nick thinks I’m making it all up. We had a few friends over to watch the LSU game last night (I just paused to rest my face in my hands after I wrote that…so sad) and guess where we would all be sitting? The living room! I panicked a few minutes before their arrival, convinced they’d all notice the smell and think we were gross cat people. No Febreeze in the house, no time to run to the store, what to do?

Ta-da! I made my own in about half a minute!

I always have this random spray bottle floating around the house. Usually it’s filled with water to spray at the cats when they’re acting naughty.

I have another spray bottle just like it that’s used exclusively for vinegar (and labeled quite nicely as such). Vinegar is pretty much my favorite thing to clean with. It’s cheap, nontoxic, and a natural disinfectant. I can spray it pretty much anywhere without fear of regretful repercussions.

For my fabric refresher, I gathered my empty spray bottle, the giant jug of vinegar I keep under the sink (to refill my little spray bottle with), and some fancy no-rinse lingerie wash that I have. I have to admit, I kind of scoffed at the lady at the fancy lingerie store trying to convince me that I needed a special lingerie wash. I was thinking to myself, “Lady, there is no way I’m going to hand wash my bras, and even if I do, I feel certain that I don’t need a certain soap to do it with.” Then my mother in law insisted on buying some for me and I’m so glad she did because the smell is just delightful. I find myself searching for small garments to hand-wash with it so that the lovely lavender scent can further infiltrate my wardrobe. My favorite part about it is that you don’t have to rinse it out, which made it perfect for this project.

I started by adding a bit of water to the bottom of my spray bottle.

Then I filled it up quite a bit more with the vinegar. Can you see the water line just where the bottle starts to curve in at the top?

And, lastly, I squeezed in a generous amount of the lavender soap. Generous is a good word to describe my action here, because this stuff is like gold to me. This is the biggest amount I’ve ever dispensed in one use. Usually it’s just a little bitty capful in a sink full of warm water.

I screwed the top on, gave it a good shake, and labeled it with a dry erase marker to prevent any cat-related mishaps (although the ingredients are so gentle I’m not sure it would do too much damage to spray it at them anyway).

Then I went and sprayed this stuff all over the living room, and the rest of the downstairs while I was at it. After the vinegar evaporated only the lavender scent remained, and although I can still detect a faint whiff of something mildly offensive in the living room the overall situation is vastly improved. I’m pretty sure this is my new favorite thing, ranking right up there with cottage cheese and three-day weekends.

If you don’t have any fancy no-rinse delightfully smelling lingerie wash lying around, I’ve read that you can make this stuff with fabric softener instead. Nick and I don’t really use fabric softener so this works for us, but even if you had to go buy a bottle of liquid fabric softener just for this purpose it would probably last through a million batches and be well worth the money. Just go to the laundry aisle and pick your favorite scent. Or get the free and clear stuff if that’s more your cup of tea. Either way, I’m pretty stoked to have stumbled upon this particular stroke of genius. It just may stop me from tearing my whole house apart to rid a stench that doesn’t exist.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


11 responses to DIY Fabric Refresher

  1. I like it! This actually makes me curious (and I will look it up now) about combining vinegar with essential oils. It seems oddly contradictory, and may be completely unadvised and disastrous, but the idea of vinegar and lavender naturally lead me to this. If you could mix those, it could save you a lifetime of ever having to add anything ‘extra’ like fabric softener, febreze, etc. 2 things I know I always have are vinegar (no question about that) and lavender essential oil (I add it to my dog wash soap, and sometimes just leave the bottle open in a room to create a yummy smell- that stuff is so powerful!)
    Good idea lady!

  2. I’m contemplating a purchase of fancy no-rinse delightfully smelling lingerie wash! Although currently I just put all my handwash on delicate cycle, so not sure if it’s a necessary purchase.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap January 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      As someone who was inwardly mocking the saleslady who said I needed it, let me just tell you, IT IS NECESSARY. You can use it in the washing machine too.

  3. Ooooh, I will try this. I’ve been cleaning with only household items (vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, etc) for about 2 months. I’m so pleased with it. I’ve never tried fabric softener, so this will be next! I, too, am curious about adding essential oils.

  4. Janet (Country Mouse January 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I have a sensitive nose, but it was worse when I was expecting. I feel your pain. I use vinegar all of the time for lots of things. I believe we have discussed it before. I like your idea and will try it if I find the lingerie stuff.

  5. I have a dog, who, as soon as a little humidity is in the air just stinks of an old wet dirty shoe. It’s all i can smell! His bed will start to smell like it too, which in turn means my room occasionally smells like an old wet dirty shoe when we have multiple rainy days in a row..and it’s been raining for 2 or 3 days now.

    I just tried this, I only had a tiny spray bottle (travel size from bath and body works) so I just did a 50:50 mix of vinegar to Snuggle brand fabric softener, and I added a drop or two of an un-labled oil I had from my soap making days for extra measure. Holy crap wow! is all I can say. I gave his bed a quick spray down and then did a few spritzes in the air for good measure. I hardly smell wet nasty shoe at all.

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