Luxury on the Cheap
This is the true tale of a stink for the ages.  A reek so evil, it should be listed as a weapon of mass insanity.  An assault on innoncent nostils so unexpected, so uncalled for, so rancid and acrid and horrible as to make birds fly backwards and disrupt the phases of the moon.  This is the stink of Armageddon.  Reader discretion is advised.
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Monday mornings always suck a little.  I find that the Monday morning suck factor is directly proportionate to how kick-ass the weekend was... and this weekend was world-class.  Between working long hours and attending an epic concert, 6:00 AM Monday came hard and early.  Not policing the kids' chores meant dirty dishes in the sink and spilled tea on the stove.  No worries -  I could get to it later.  I was still feeling groovy from the concert.

Meantime, after putting the teapot on to boil, I snuck downstairs to steal a few more delicious moments of snuggle-time with the World's Sexiest Man.

Little did I know, when I came upstairs again, my delicate olfactories would be so violently violated.  The stench of burned hair and ammonia and the devil's halitosis made me gag. 

Finding the source of the smell would bring me to the brink of murder.

Remember the spilled tea on the stove?  It was cat pee.



CAT PEE that had run over onto the hot burner and was being cooked.

Yes, cat pee.  This was a stink that would make even Jesus cuss.

What to do?  Crying was an attractive option.  So was drinking.  Hell, so was murder for that matter  - but the stink would still be there whether I was crying, drunk, or killed the cat.  

First, I dumped a ton of baking soda on the stove to soak up the pee.  This not only started to neutralize the odor, it made it easier to clean.  All I had to do was sweep it up and then wash it down the drain with lots of cold water.   (By the way, this works with most oven spills - and definitely makes clean-up faster.)

Even after sterilizing the stove, the smell was still in the house.  My house is supposed to smell like cinnamon, and vanilla, and cookies and love, dammit.

To get any evil odor out of the house, it's important to get it out of the carpet.  Otherwise, the ghost of that smell will linger.  Don't be tempted to use Carpet Fresh or any of that other crap.  It's filled with carcinogenic ingredients, articifial scents, and chemicals that were never meant to interact with your lovely endocrine system...including ingredients that act as estrogen disruptors.  If you want to have early menopause and watch your husband grow man-boobs, go right on ahead.  But seriously, why pay 7 dollars for cancer in a can when you can clean stuff for pennies in a way that's kind to the environment AND your health?

Massive handfulls of baking soda across the carpeted areas are easy and mandatory.  I love flinging it out while yelling "POOF!" or "POW!" or "SHAZAM, BITCHES!"  The way it spreads out like quickly fading smoke will totally make you feel like a wizard, and lightly coat a large area.  Try it!  Cats hate this.  I mean, cats love this!  Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and then vacuum. 

Next, use a home made air freshener.  This couldn't be any easier, and doesn't contain any suspect chemicals or cloying artificial scents.

You will need
a squirt bottle...
clean water....
and your favorite essential oil. 

I never measure this -- so if your squirt bottle holds a couple of cups of water, use a teaspoon or so of oil.  Do you think Nacho Mama has time to measure every damn thing?  Hell no.  If it's one of those travel-sized bottles, 5 to 10 drops will do.  Shake it up, and spray liberally into the air.  Resist the temptation to spray directly onto the cat.  (Or don't.)

If theses methods can defeat the reek of cooking cat pee, I'm pretty sure they can handle whatever life throws at you.  And don't worry, no cats were harmed in this episode...although my sanity might have been.

In our next turgid episode, I'll let you in on a few up close and personal secrets to smelling good... you know, up close.  And personal!

Nacho Mama
Don't you hate it when you come home after a long day of work, only to have to play "What's That Smell?"  Between kids, pets, science experiments gone wrong in the fridge, and someone who "forgot" to take out the trash, it's anyone's guess.

If you're sensitive to smells like I am, this information could save a life.  In this 3-part series, I'll tell you the secrets to make sure you and your house smell luxe - on the cheap, on the green, AND on the real.

In the battle against Odor Malo, your best friend is Baking Soda.  Go to the hardware or club store and buy a giant bag of it.  It's often hiding in the pool supplies, because it's used to purify pools and hot tubs.  The brand doesn't matter a bit, because baking soda is bicarbonate of soda - a naturally occurring chemical compound.  So buy the cheapest brand they have, and buy in bulk if you can, because it's way less per pound that way, and you will use it often.

Now, let's talk about you.  Do you use commercial deodorant?  Of course you do.  But do you know what's in it?  Carcinogens, that's what!  Aluminum sulfides, which are linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  I don't know about you, but I need all my remaining brain cells in good form.  Also, the thought of smearing carcinogens so close to my lymph nodes and boobies gives me the horrors.  Don't believe me?  Google some of the ingredients on your brand.  Go on, I'll wait.

The good news is, you can MAKE YOUR OWN DEODORANT and IT WORKS BETTER ANYWAY.  I've tried all the health-food-store brands without great success.  If they work for you, fine, but making your own is surprisingly easy, totally green, and way more thrifty -- and you probably already have the ingredients.  Let's party!

You will need:
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup corn starch
5 tablespoons more or less of coconut oil
an emptied, cleaned out stick-deodorant container
optional:  several drops of your favorite essential oil

Melt the coconut oil over very low heat, gradually stirring in the baking soda and corn starch.  Or, microwave all of it together.  Mix well, adding in your essential oil - maybe 1/2 teaspoon worth.  It will be a slippery, pasty consistency.  Spoon the mixture into your empty container, and cover.  To help it solidify faster, pop it in the fridge for a while.

And you're done!   What you end up with is a creamy, non-toxic, totally effective deodorant stick.  Coconut oil is solid at room temp, but melts on contact with your skin.  The baking soda is an effective deodorant, and the corn starch helps as an anti-perspirant.  Your essential oil is a bonus.  Call it aroma-therapy -- it's way less expensive than Prozac!

I've used this formula in my high-pressure corporate job and it stood up wonderfully.  My stinky teenagers have been using this and report it works EVEN BETTER than the store-bought stuff, and they like choosing their own scents.   

So what stinks?  It ain't you!  You smell like joy, and happiness, and mint or lavender or tangerines or whatever scent you chose - and you smell like MONEY, because you are denying Proctor and Gamble and their ilk your hard-earned cash! 

Not only that, you smell like success, because you're keeping that much more plastic crap out of the waste stream!

Congratulations, you!  Job well done! 

In Part Two of this series, I'll let you know how to deal with stinky pet odors without breaking the budget, or resorting to drinking.

Much love,

Nacho Mama