Wednesday, May 24, 2017


The Internet can teach us many things. While some of them are merely entertaining, like how to play a game, some are particularly useful, like how to remove odours, for example. Recently, a technique I tried before came back to help me again.

Back in February, I wrote about using a technique I’d read about on the Internet, specifically, using white vinegar to try to remove the fake coconut oil stench of sunscreen from clothes. It worked, and I decided to try it again.

The first task was the most urgent. I discovered that Bella had peed on a mat in the bathroom (Not entirely her fault: She was locked inside all day, and since she doesn’t have a litter box, she was caught short). So, I put the mat in a bucket of hot water and white vinegar, as might be expected, the resulting smell was, um, unique.

I drained the water, gave the mat a little rinse, and then washed it as usual. Being heavy, it took forever to air dry, but the smell was gone. I vaguely remember doing something like that years ago, with a different cat, but forgot all about it until recently (partly because Bella doesn't usually do that).

A week or so later, I had two t-shirts that smelled sour, like a kitchen cloth or sponge left too long without washing and disinfecting. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but it could be I washed them during one of our many rainstorms and then hung them up to dry in the airing rack in the house. That could have meant they were damp for too long. In any event, merely washing them wasn’t removing the smell.

So, I soaked them, too, in a bucket of hot water with white vinegar and then washed them like usual. They came out smelling fresh and clean.

I know that I might find something that this method doesn’t work with, but I haven’t yet, which is the main thing. But the other thing is that this gave me a passing thought that I ought to try more of these things the Internet told me about, and report back on what happened.

I actually thought that after I’d already tried something completely different that wasn’t as successful.

Something I found through Pinterest told me that a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) would remove water spots from stainless steel. We have a stainless steel water pitcher that, I think, had been washed in the dishwasher and ended up with water spots. I’d washed it and re-washed it by hand several times, but the spots remained. So I tried the alcohol method, and it helped—didn’t completely fix it, but it’s much improved. Sadly, I didn’t think to take a “before” photo, so an “after” photo was kind of pointless (and in that way, a topic for a blog post was lost…).

The larger point here is that as long as the Internet advice isn’t clearly dangerous—like combining household chemicals that must never be combined—there’s often no reason to NOT try methods, even if they seem unconventional. I will, and I'll continue to share what I learn.

Right now, though, I can affirm that soaking clothes in white vinegar does indeed remove most unpleasant odours.

I wonder what would happen if there was a white vinegar rainstorm over the White House…

Related posts:

Weekend Diversion: Learning stuff (2010) – The first post, I think, where I shared a technique I learned on the Internet. I still use this technique.
Weekend Diversion: How to fold a shirt (2013) – I still use this technique, too.

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