Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Hitting the Bottle

It wasn't even 10 A.M., and yet there I was, standing in the aisle of Walmart's liquor department. I wanted the biggest, cheapest bottle of vodka they sell. I hate doing price per ounce comparisons in my head, and I was starting to feel a little anxious. Did I look suspicious? Were people judging me? 

I didn't have a clue what I was doing. Was I looking for a quart? A gallon? I remembered that Daddy picked up fifths of liquor at the ABC store when I was a little girl in Virginia. What's a fifth? It didn't sound like it would be enough for me.

I keep my vodka stash in the basement, by the laundry detergent.

What, may you ask, was a teetotaler like me doing in the liquor department so early in the day? Had the puppies driven me to drink? Was hitting the bottle the only solution to my problems? Well, I needed some vodka, and yes, in a sense, the puppies had pushed me to the point of needing it, and I knew that vodka was the only beverage that would work for me.

Kimberly flew to Chicago from Utah to go to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. (Photo credit: Chuck Bennorth)

Flash back with me to last summer, on a very hot, sultry day at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin. My friend Kimberly and I had been sitting on the hard, wooden benches in the Guilde of Saint George, talking to one of the nobles, Elizabeth Russell, the Countess of Bath. Denise Prohaska is her name outside of Bristol, and she happens to be an exceptional seamstress who specializes in millinery and costumes of the Renaissance period. 

Denise Prohaska, Costumer & Milliner Extraordinaire. Yes, she made this beautiful costume.

Noticing the rich, heavy fabrics that made her costume, I asked Denise about laundering these amazing gowns. She told us her dress has never been washed. 

At first I was grossed out because I know how much I sweat in a day at the Ren Faire, even when wearing the lightest weight t-shirts I own. When I selected a costume for myself, I made sure it was made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. No noble garb for this profuse "perspirator." I can't imagine wearing one of those beautiful costumes, which Denise joked is the equivalent of wearing an upholstered sofa, all day in the Wisconsin sun. I don't know how she does it. Then she told us her secret. VODKA.

No, she doesn't drink it to make enduring the heat tolerable. Each night, the costumes are dusted off, and spritzed with vodka. The vodka sanitizes the fabric, killing odor-causing bacteria. The alcohol cleans and deodorizes the material. Since vodka evaporates quickly, it leaves the costumes fresh and clean for the next day's performance.  

Fast forward to this last month, when I've been perusing Pinterest for deodorizing tips for our house since we've acquired the two puppies. I don't just want to burn candles to add another layer of fragrance on top of the scent of eau de canine. I want the house, and everything the puppies touch, to be clean. Then an idea began to form. 

If vodka can clean and deodorize a heavy Renaissance gown, which is similar to an upholstered couch, it could clean and deodorize my actual upholstered couch. Hey! And my couch pillows. And my carpet. And my blankets that protect the couch. Even my yoga mat could benefit. Huzzah!

After doing a little more research on using vodka, I found suggestions for making a deodorizing solution using vodka, distilled water, and essential oils. I selected lemon oil because I love citrusy scents. 

Into a small spray bottle, I poured 1/2 cup of vodka, 1/2 cup of distilled water, and 15 drops of essential oil. You can choose your favorite scent, and use more or less of it, depending on how much you like. I find that with the lemon spray, there is an initial "fresh smell," and then it fades, and my carpet and furniture simply have no odor at all. Let me tell you; that is definitely a WIN with two puppies in the house!  

Denise had told Kimberly and me that Rennies are famous for buying the biggest, cheapest bottles of vodka available because they use so much of it. So now you know why I was standing in the middle of the liquor department so early in the day, looking for a great big, cheap bottle of vodka. Mystery solved.

A big shout out to Denise for sharing her Renaissance Faire secret with me. It has been a game changer in the way I freshen fabrics in our home, and I have plans to clean my own Ren faire costume this way to make it last longer. Huzzah, indeed!


  1. I wondered if the dogs had driven you to drink! I knew about vodka as a cleaner but will have to give your dog odor remover a try. Too funny.

    1. Oski doesn't stink! He's just fragrant. 😊

  2. great post! We have a new cat named Oliver...and this could be useful to me.

    1. Congratulations on Oliver. I hope this tip helps!

  3. What a great tip. I am glad to know that the puppies have not quite, driven you to drink! Great post, love the pics.

  4. Lovely amusing and interesting post. Yes, I too initially thought the pups had driven you to drink. Eau de canine LOL!!!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Valerie.


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