Fresh from the stenches (literally): Tea Tree Oil
August 7, 2014
I crack myself up.
Mostly I’m doing the jig of success: I adore PiC and his dedication to fitness but I can’t stand the reek of his abused gym clothes. Of course we wash them regularly but the smell just doesn’t come out with any amount of detergent OR my magic elixer (….vinegar…just vinegar) after he’s logged hundreds of miles in them.
It looked hopeless, and I was plotting to burn and bury all his clothes just so I wouldn’t have to smell the “freshly washed” gear air-drying and still smelling. GR.
I’d caught a note somewhere hereabouts on the internets about tea tree oil and in desperation I grabbed a $10 1-oz spray bottle with my $2 off coupon at Walgreens for an experiment.
Experiment 1, Round 1
- 15 sprays and 2 gallons of hot water. The scent just billowed out of the bucket as I was filling it, almost like eucalyptus.
The worst offenders went in for a soak first. Some sources said to soak for an hour, I left it in for three. I started to wring it out, but the second I caught a whiff of some stench under the tea tree scent, dumped everything right back in. Go back in and stay there until you stop stinking, shirts!
The next day (nearly 24 hours later), I wrung everything out and tossed it in the wash. It didn’t make a full load, so I moved on to the next batch.
Experiment 1, Round 2
- 10 sprays and 2 gallons of warm water.
This batch wasn’t nearly so bad, so the full bucket soaked for about 3 hours.
That joined Batch 1 in the washing machine. In a fit of desperation, I combined the detergent with the usual dose of vinegar and added a few more sprays just to be sure. Those clothes were going out the window if this didn’t work.
A single wash on delicate and 44 minutes later, we hung everything up to air dry, smelling very strongly of tea tree oil.
An experimental sniff was promising but the real test would be how they smelled once they dried. Odors always seem to reveal themselves more once the garments have dried, so I was reserving judgement.
24 hours later, I am singing hosannas. The clothes are clean, dry, and actually smell FRESH.
- 4 sprays and 1 gallon of warm water
This time, we were keeping a bucket of oil/water to drop the clothes into as soon as they’re shed. Tea tree oil isn’t cheap! I wanted to reduce the amount of oil needed at each wash and figured if I kept the sweat from permastenching the garb that should do the trick.
It worked! I just kept adding the gear to the oil/water bucket throughout the week, and then did a new load with only one or two sprays of the oil and everything came out smelling clean as clean can be.
Laundry is way more fun than it sounds and even more fun when you win.