Random Friday: Household Hints

Everyone (okay, some of you) is/are heading off for Labor Day. Here’s some random stuff:

1) Diva went fragrance shopping with me last week; I was looking for the new Lolita Lempicka L/Fleur de Corail, but it doesn’t seem to have shown up anywhere. BTW, having retried the Kenzo Peace … I dunno. It just doesn’t make enough of a statement for me to have to have it. And Diva and I then tried the new Gwen Stefani Harajuku Lovers things. They are really, really cute — the fragrance is in the base and the dolls are the cap. The juice? Well … Diva, at age 14, would seem to be in their target demographic, and they failed to arouse much interest. I asked her about a couple of them and she shrugged. One of them, G, smells like coconut, and Baby smells appropriately musky-powdery babyish. The rest of them are sweet and fruity — pomelo! pineapple! pear! — and to be honest, I am not sure I could tell them apart.

2) Out of curiousity I sprayed Narciso Rodriguez EDP on a paper strip and stuck it under Diva’s nose — she amused me by announcing, “It smells just like water.” I wonder if musk anosmia is inherited? I can’t smell it either. But. To put it more precisely — I can smell … something. It’s like I can smell that I am missing something, if that makes any sense at all? I can’t really smell it at all, but I still think I could tell it apart from water (Les Nez’ L’Antimatiere is the same for me.) For those of you with anosmia to particular fragrances, do you have a sense of there being something there beyond your smell range? Or is it a big fat zilch?

3) Last year Diva spilled cooking oil down the front of her light-gray school sweatshirt. I laundered it several times, which didn’t do jack about the stain. It looked like someone had wrung out a burger on the front. This year the sweatshirt’s been handed down to Enigma, who wasn’t that thrilled about the stain. Hey, I’ve got nothing but time, so I turned off Gilmore Girls and put down my box of donuts and googled “remove grease from clothing.” I checked out the advice on various how-to websites. Some of the grease-removal tips seemed nuts, but several people swore by rubbing the stain with liquid Dawn — the dishwashing detergent. Fine, off to the store I went. The worst that would happen was nothing, right? I can always use it to wash the pots and pans.

I rubbed the Dawn into the dinner-plate sized circular stain. While I was doing that I figured, why not smear some on the small brown spot next to the grease stain which looked like chocolate and, given Diva’s proclivities, probably was? I waited ten minutes and threw the thing in the wash with some other clothes and my regular detergent.

It worked! On the grease stain and the chocolate! Now I think I’m going to experiment on various other clothing stains — Hecate is spectacularly hard on clothes. In the meantime, you know how much I love collecting lists like this. Feel free to leave any handy hints in the comments.

Have a great weekend!

Harajuku lovers fragrance images: Sephora.com

  • BBJ says:

    Tried out the Dawn thing with a couple of shirts, and it WORKS!

    I am a large-bosomed gal with a large collection of grease stains that accumulate on the shelfage of my shirts, so this is actually a pretty great thing to know.

  • Louise says:

    Allright, I been holding back on this one. If you color your hair at home and ever really blow it…I mean waaaay toooo dark, dish soap (used lightly and right away) strips the bad color right out. You need to condition heavily immediately after, but it does work and you can usually re-color again soon after. Just for an emergency 😮

    • March says:

      … none of this is based on personal experience, right? Right? 😉 I have done this with Prell, when my home dye job in “chestnut” left me looking like Whatsername, Mistress of the Night, a few years ago. It definitely stripped out some of the color. I bet detergent works even better.

  • Lisa says:

    I didn’t put it on my body, but the G card smelled a little like a cheap version of Chinatown to me–could this be so? The baby one smells like J&J baby oil to me–I got no musk. Nothing exciting about any of them.

    Dawn was my miracle. However, it does not remove dog vomit from a Persian rug–bad news for me,

    BTW–peanut butter takes gum right out of hair–in case you were wondering.

    • March says:

      Dog vomit — gah!!!! One of my absolute no-way-I’m-touching-that cleanups. I can put up with all sorts of junk from a kid, but that? Shudder. That gets a pile of paper towels thrown over it and an urgent call to the Big Cheese… bleah.

      Okay, are you pulling my leg about the peanut butter? You’re just trying to get me to try it aren’t you? The perfume version of Punk’d? 😉

      • Shelley says:

        No, no, no Punk’d…peanut butter really does work! Direct evidence from my own youth and as a parent.

      • Lisa says:

        We kid you not re the peanut butter. The Persian rug guy still hasn’t called me back–grrr.

  • Jen says:

    I honestly wouldn’t mind a little anosmia to NR. Every time I’ve tried it on my skin, its been a nightmare. It smells like sweet, wet, rotting leaves. My skin is like a finicky chemistry set, I never know what it will do to a musk. (Or cumin for that matter) Sometimes the result is wonderful, other times it smells like I rubbed a dead animal vigorously over my wrists. As for household hints, I work as a maid. Dish soap is the miracle of all miracle cleansers. Also, if you’ve got stainless steel appliances, we always buff a fine layer on to the metal after we clean it and it makes it look brand new plus it helps keep food and crud from sticking. Its especially nice for stainless steel sinks. A little goes a long way though.

    • March says:

      Ugh, sweet, wet rotting leaves is not a scent description that fills me with desire. “Old vase water” will get me sprinting in the other direction pretty quick too! 😉 So maybe I should be glad I can’t smell NR…

      I had no idea dishwashing detergent was so useful.

  • nubelia says:

    That Dawn stuff gets around , grease stains eh? thanks for the tip! In return I will tell that Dawn with very hot ( not boiled ) water poured from waist height WILL INDEED unclog a toilet , providing the clog of an “organic” nature and not something solid like a brick or an actual log or the Sunday Times.

    I have the same thing with NR as I do with Lovely ,its off and on , sometimes I smell a slight medicinal tang and other times I get the scent , what gives ?

    • March says:

      Love that! We have the low-flow toilets and they clog occasionally. Will not add any more detail, except that I am the designated plunger, apparently b-( and thus appreciate your tip.

  • Olfacta says:

    I use Borax in all my laundry. Just a half cup or so “sweetens” it — we sweat a lot here — and helps with whites too. I think it’s 20-Mule-Team Borax. My mother thought this was very amusing, because it’s so old-fashioned. “We washed your diapers in that,” she’d say.

    • Musette says:

      I’m with you, Shelley and everyone else re the Borax. I wash El O’s shop clothes in that – gets that weird ‘metallic’ smell out. also great for towels, etc…in fact, it’s great for everything! I’m another Laundry Nazi. El O is welcome to wash his own stuff (not that this event would ever happen =)) but I don’t even want him taking my stuff out of the hamper – I’ve seen what he can do to clothes!!!

      I’m anosmic to Prada Infusion d’Iris as well as bits and pieces of NR (I smell it but it’s so fugitive that it’s gone almost before my brain registers it!)…Iris seems to elude me at nearly every sniff!


      • March says:

        I am so excited about the Borax. I really could use some laundry freshening. And it is amazing what a little carelessness can do to the old clothing, yes? The girls are learning to do their own and, having ruined a few things, they are starting to pay more attention. /:)

    • March says:

      Okay, TWO MORE VOTES FOR BORAX. Y’all have been HOLDING OUT ON ME. Did we not discuss on here once how I am looking to improve my laundry situation? Freshen it up a bit without commercial perfumes? I will definitely try the Borax.

  • Olfactarama says:

    Hey March — I’m a painter (art,not houses) and discovered several years ago that mineral spirits — brand name “Turpenoid” — takes out grease stains like nothing else. Go figure — it’s a solvent. Painters use it to avoid the use of turpentine, which can be toxic.

    I keept a small can of it in the laundry room and some Q-tips. You don’t even have to rub it in. Just touch the saturated Q-tip to the grease stain(s), throw in the wash, voila. You can buy it at any art supply store.

    Of course Dawn’s the next best thing — I use it to wash out my brush cleaning jars — and it’s used to degrease shorebirds after oil spills, too.

    I thought I was anosmic to musk, until I smelled Muscs Khoblai Khan! And I found out the other night at one of those Chandler Burr dinners that I’m anosmic to whatever molecule it is they use to represent “carrot.” Couldn’t smell it at all.

    • March says:

      Wait … they use Dawn to wash shorebirds? And more important, you went to one of those dinners? Wow, I would love to hear more about that! I can’t decide whether I think the concept is interesting or twee. I’m probably just jealous. =:)

      • Olfacta says:

        Hey March — re the Scent & Savor dinner — I was surprised to see that they had one here, out in the sticks (not Paris, New York, LA or London in other words). It was part of a book festival. I figured well, this might be my only chance, and a friend was insisting I go, so I went.

        I think the concept is ambitious, works in some ways, not in others. There were about 25 guests, most of them from the foundation hosting the dinner, so it wasn’t a perfumista event. He distributes scent strips, talks about the perfumes or molecules, and then a food course featuring the scents or the concepts of them is served. The dinner is about seven courses, with wines, with an intro and wrap-up, with CB talking in more general terms about scent. (Since this was not a perfume crowd, my guess is that he broadened the topic a bit.) And he seems like a nice guy, very approachable, personable and funny. The food at this one wasn’t up to what it could/should have been IMO, though. I think that with a really first-rate meal and a perfume-knowledgeable crowd, this would be terrific. (And of course a few freebies — samples — wouldn’t hurt.)

        My blog entry on Olfactarama from Saturday (http://olfactarama.blogspot.com) is about the dinner and an issue I disagree with Burr about.

        All in all, I thought it was an interesting night! Met some nice people, had a good time, learned some stuff, what’s not to like?

        • March says:

          Thanks, I’ll check it out! Would totally agree that the quality of the food (cough cough) would be part of the best experience. I read about one of those a few years ago in Santa Fe (?) I would have killed to have attended. @};-

  • Vasily says:

    An abstract of an article on musk anosmia, which is inherited and seems to be caused by a single recessive allele:


    And of course, Heloise’s site, who everyone here currently seems to be channeling:


  • KevinS says:

    March: For the things I cannot smell, I DO smell “something”…something light, bland, blurry. Latest ‘no smells’: AG Musc Nomade, Escentric Molecules’ latest fragrances and for some reason the Tom Ford Extreme (can REALLY smell the regular one though). Kevin

  • Erin T says:

    I have NR anosmia, but only partial: I do smell a sweetish something, and it varies from concentration to concentration (one of them is more sweet, and the oil, I think is the “buzzy” one, like I’m getting a vibration or halo off what I’m missing). I have no tips, as I am the least housewiferly person I can think of, but I do try valiantly with the Spray ‘N Wash. I will look into the Dawn, for certain.

  • Christina H says:

    I can barely smell Ananas Fizz – I have to practically snort it to get the faintist whiff of pineapple, but it’s gone in a flash. The new Lexington Ave. smells very faint to me too, so there must be a note or two in there I’m not getting. I’m sad about that one because I hear it’s amazing.

    • March says:

      That’s interesting. No problem here smelling Ananas Fizz, although it is a tad sweet for my tastes. Fun fragrance, though.

  • rosarita says:

    Here’s one of my favorite tips: buy a couple of bunches of fresh parsley. Rinse and shake well; cut off the stems. Place in a gallon size ziploc type freezer bag and stick it in the freezer. Next time you need fresh parsley, remove the bag, keep it closed and smash the frozen parsley flat with your hand. Open the bag, and voila! Minced fresh parsley. Store the bag in the freezer and just remove what you need; it thaws instantly.

    Teen age girls are so much fun most of the time. The other times, not so much. You’ll really remember the fun parts, though. 😡

    • March says:

      I hope I remember the fun parts. The nice thing about having two much younger kids is there is generally at least one child at any given time who loves me. 8-|

      Nice parsley tip! I am always trying to figure out what I can freeze.

  • tmp00 says:

    I do have to interject one PSA moment here- do not EVER combine Dawn with bleach. Dawn contains ammonia, which causes potentially lethal fumes when mixed with bleach products 8-x

  • Robin says:

    Dawn just went on my grocery list. My stain removal skills are pretty much limited to that Clorox Bleach pen (which I do still think is one of the all time great modern inventions).

    • March says:

      Yeah, but did you ever get a Magic Sponge? I have no idea how you have raised your son w/o a Magic Sponge…

      • Robin says:

        I did get some — gosh, those are great too, I’ve been through several boxes now. I cut them in fourths because I don’t need such a big one and they do seem to wear out quickly. There, that’s my home economics tip for the day, LOL…

  • Kristy says:

    LOL, are “Hecate” “Enigma” and “Diva” nicknames for your kids or their actual names?

    • March says:

      I get variations on this question often enough that I think people must think I am out of my mind 😉 son’s blog name is Buckethead. And uh NO they are not my kids’ real names! They have normal-ish names. Kind of. I guess my own way of preserving their privacy. :)>-

  • Dusan says:

    Household hints? Other than don’t take the phrase spring cleaning literally (as in clean up your room once a year), the World’s Greatest Slob, i.e. Me, has nothing else to contribute to the subject. 😀
    As for NR, have you tried NOT smelling it on skin until it hits the, say, twenty minute mark? Don’t go digging your nose into your wrist just yet, give it time to start wafting around. My (lame) theory is your nose will suffer from musk saturation if you inhale the fragrance immediately upon application. On my return from Corfu, the coach made a brief stop at the Greek-Macedonian border where yours truly was almost suffocated by the fumes of the gazillion perfumes he sprayed in the DF. Funny thing is, of all those fragrances on my skin, the tinsiest spritz of NR developed the strongest sillage. It really is byoodiful! Unlike the yucky For Him…

  • Disteza says:

    Household hints? Coming from this cleaning Nazi, I have LOADS of them. Best one I can think of is Borax! Your grandmother probably used it; you just can’t beat it for everyday scrubbing. Cat pee soaked on the floor? Stains on your porcelain sink? Crusties in fridge? Extra-stain removal in the laundry? It handles all that and more, and without nasty chemicals that will destroy surfaces and even worse fragrance additives. I feel your pain on the Vaseline; the only thing I can think of to help with that is Goo-Gone, which dissolves most adhesives and might also work on petrol products–and if it doesn’t, at least it smells citrusy.

    • Shelley says:

      That’s a big second on the Borax!! I almost mentioned it myself… I also use it to pre-rinse particularly nasty (smell or stain) laundry; helps quite a bit. Goo Gone has made gone quite a number of things…without damage, including the wood dresser Grandpa built. (Back in the day, my brother thought the drawers were the perfect setting for Wacky-Pack stickers…remember those?)

      • March says:

        I remember Wacky-Paks!! Does the Borax bleach or stress the fabric in any way, or is it something I can fling into my front-loader with the laundry? Separate from detergent?

        • Shelley says:

          {sigh} I love my front loader.

          {return from reverie} Oh, yes…add the borax with the powdered detergent, right in that part of the dispenser. I like to prewash the skankies, though, and simply put them through a rinse with borax loaded in the dispenser (and not in the barrel with the clothes).

    • March says:

      Why do I not own Borax? Taps fingers impatiently. :-w I need to read further down. Good for freshening laundry? I use unscented detergent and I am still experimenting with something that helps it smell “clean” without perfume.

  • Patty says:

    No household hints here either. I don’t do housewife anything spectacularly or even marginally competently. But I will try that Dawn thing.

    Okay, I’m with Matt. Those Harajuku dolls are adorable, I Play with them. How wrong is that? When they’re empty, they’re going to have dates and get married and babies. It should keep me entertained through the winter. 🙂

    • March says:

      Will they hook up with Ken? Or that headless dude bottle from Gaultier?

      • GGS says:

        I have memories of playing with the perfume and cosmetics bottles on my grandmother’s dresser when I was a little girl (on the mirror tray with the little rail?) She didn’t have any toys in her house for us then I guess! I did play with them like they were people. They were going on trips, and pairing off in couples, and so on. I would have been in heaven if some of them were shaped like little dolls!
        I’m in my 40’s and Mimi is still with us at the age of 94…

  • Kelly says:

    I only have one household hint –

    Never, ever, EVER leave Vaseline (or any other petroleum based ointment, lotion, goop or goo) down where a 3 year old can find it and use it as “hair conditioner”. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will remove it. Not 15 washings with Dawn, not corn starch, not laundry detergent, not Goo-Gone! Only time, cancelling the appointment at the photographer, and eventually the pillow case will help. And then, 6 months later, you’ll still be dealing with the dessicated, fly-away hair that was somehow stripped to oblivion while still within its vaseline sheath.

    Or so I’ve heard. :-\”

    • March says:

      Heh. Somewhere on this blog there is a post called “The Smell of Trouble” about my twins and their adventures with the A&D (which is vaseline) and a giant bottle of talcum powder. Among their other exploits. There are still tiny grease handprints on their bedroom wall. I think it took two weeks to get their hair back to normal.

  • Elle says:

    I can’t pick up on any of the magic that everyone else seems to get from NR either. Just another of those tragic, brutal, heart-rending inequities in life.
    Hmm. Household hints? Hmmm. None spring to mind. Sadly, am not exactly a domestic diva. But I must say I have recently become quite addicted to that Tide-to-go stain pen. Wouldn’t dream of traveling w/out it.

    • March says:

      Oh, a Tide pen! That sounds like fun! I could keep it in my car, next to the Handi-Wipes and the bug spray…

      I wonder whether we’re missing much with NR? Although one of the confounding experiences of my life was smelling a wonderful fragrance on a woman in an elevator, asking her what it was, and she swore it was NR. How can I smell it on her? I still don’t really believe it.

    • flora68 says:

      Actually, everyone I know who’s smelled the Tide Stain Stick agrees that it smells exactly like…vomit! I don’t know about you, but if somebody’s going to hang out with me, I’d much prefer to have to see a stain than to have to smell the stench of puke!

      Who would want to trade a stain for the smell of puke?

      I really don’t understand why the manufacturers couldn’t make their product smell better.

  • Silvia says:

    How fun to go perfume shopping with your daughter ! My niece, currently aged 9 months, is going to be my chosen victim, if she shows the slightest interest. I am already fantasizing about taking her to Paris and whisper into her tender ear all the names: Guerlain, Caron, Chanel… And she will inherit my collection. On the subject, the other day I thought it would be nice to make a perfume will, not that I am planning to go any time soon, but it would be nice if certain bottles found their way to those who’d appreciate them most.

    As to anosmia, NR Musk oil was the worst for me, rubbed it all over my chest as instructed by the SA and couldn’t get anything.

    • March says:

      Yes, what will our nearest and dearest do with all that crap? I have a feeling mine will end up at the church rummage sale… to be snapped up by a lucky perfumista!

      One of the small joys of my life has been the gradual transition of tedious shopping for necessities with younger children to the shopping-for-pleasure jaunts with my teenage girls. I’m not examining their motives too closely, but we have fun! <:-p

  • Shelley says:

    Helpful Household Item: Enzymatic cleaner…the stuff they sell in pet stores for “organic” stains. Hallelujah for microorganisms that eat the various eruptions of daily life with pets, babies, toddlers, children, grown ups…not just rugs & furniture, but clothing, too. ^:)^

    Anosmia: Frequently, Bulgari Voile de Jasmine. one time out of five, I’ll get a whiff of a delightful fragrance–very light, but nice. Next few times, I think it’s water coming out of the atomizer.

    • March says:

      No, no — I personally think you are very lucky you can’t smell the Voile de Jasmine! 🙂

      Yeah, those … eruptions. Some times I throw the things out. The clothing, not the children.

  • francesca says:

    Oooh, I just thought of another tip involving Dawn! I share this with all the newly-engaged women in my office. To get your diamond really clean, put some hot (not boiling) water in a little jar with a lid. Add a little Dawn and a couple of drops of ammonia and shake the jar til ingredients are blended. Drop in your ring or whatever and give the jar a few gentle swishes and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it off in warm water, and this is the final touch, dip your diamond in rubbing alcohol and gently shake it to air dry. It will sparkle as it did under the bright lights of the jewelry counter. This is only for diamonds–certain stones, such as emeralds and opals should never be soaked in water as it can get into their occlusions and eventually damage the stone.

    • March says:

      My ring is filthy, that’s a great idea, thanks. I’m always handing it to the ring cleaning guys at the mall and at the same time thinking, what are you DOING?!? :”> I wouldn’t hand it to anyone else…

      • Francesca says:

        Do they use one of those vibrating machines? Those are a no no, and can cause damage to the stone.

        • March says:

          They probably use their own spit and a kleenex. I’ve stopped handing my ring over, at any rate, which is why it’s so nasty. /:)

  • Louise says:

    No-smell-ums? I think I fall in with you, and thousands apparently, that can’t smell musks. NR does smell nice on me, but I feel I am missing a portion, as you mention. Sad, ’cause I hear it’s lovely 🙁

    I played with the toy doll scents yesterday, and wish they came empty, so I could refill them with something really naughty. Contrary, moi.

    I don’t do housework, so I have no hints. Um..wash the sheets when they get really dingy??? 8-| Oh, oh! A real one…that dishwashing soap (Dawn must be great at this) is the only way to go to really get eyeglasses clean, forget the wipey clothes that always get lost.

    Happy Long Weekend, all!

  • MattS says:

    I keep Shout Wipes in the truck, at work, small boxes of them scattered every where in my life for I am a slob. I work sometimes in a restaurant and customers really appreciate being offered one when they have a sloppy moment. I occasionally encounter grease stains also at the restaurant and I swear by Greased Lightning cleaner. I keep a spray bottle by my laundry basket and saturate the grease stain, let it sit overnight and wash the next day. It has worked every time for me, even on stains that have been washed and dried and seem to have set it for the duration. I may be a slob, but I have a bit of a reputation at our house as being a Laundry Nazi. Everyone knows not to touch my hamper if they’re trying to make a full load; I want everything done a certain way. Some things I want air dried, somethings go in the dryer and when the buzzer sounds, items must come immediately out and be folded. It’s one of the few things I’m uptight about…naw, I’m sure there’s lots more.

    I usually don’t do cute (kittens are great and all) but those Harajuku Lovers bottles are waaaaay tooooo cute. They speak to my Inner-Twelve-Year-Old-Girl, the part of me that wants to lay on my bed, flipping through magazines, talking about boys. They’re adorable.

    • March says:

      Oh, I’ll flop on your bed and talk about boys! One of the joys of having teenage girls … when they are speaking to me, that is. :d

      The Laundry Nazi, eh? I am a bit that way myself, but here it is self-defense. You never know what those savage heathens may be hiding in their pockets — gum, Sharpies, sand, etc. Nobody is allowed to Share My Laundry Load. /:)

  • sylvia says:

    LOVE gilmore girls!

    if the stain is fresh, putting corn starch on first thing sometimes helps pick up some of the oil. and ive definitely heard the dishwashing detergent trick before. spray and wash also works on small oil stains, but i havent tried it on larger ones.

    i cant smell clinique happy. it makes an impression, then its gone 2 seconds later. so either i can only smell the very top notes, or it exhausts my nose really quickly (i guess it is strong…) im wondering if the main reason you feel as if you’re missing something is because you know there is something to be missed, if that makes sense.

    the harajuku lovers frags didnt make much of an impression on me either, except for G smelling like coconut. these really should be marketed as kids frags, they’re so young smelling, and given the lasting power of most of the new stuff out there, a kid could probably get away with wearing them.

    • March says:

      A couple of years ago when the Cheese was on one of his junkets, the girls and I Netflixed the entire series and watched an episode or two every night. It’s on reruns all the time; I love it too. FWIW I get told on a fairly regular basis that I look like the mom, which I admit I take as a HUGE compliment. 🙂

  • Francesca says:

    Dishwashing detergents are made to cut grease, so it makes sense that they’d get grease out of your clothes. Beware of using so much, though, that you get Lucy-Ricardo type giant foaming dragons coming out of your washing machine.

    Only helpful hint I can think of is that if you come in contact with poison ivy, wash the afflicted spot immediately with Dawn, for the same reason as the above.

    The little Harajuku things are really cute for a young girl.

    What couldn’t I smell at all? L’Artisan L’été en douce. I know it’s supposed to be light and I’m grateful it didn’t make me want to chew off my own wrist like some of their fragrances, but I put it on and it might as well have been San Pellegrino.

    • March says:

      I worried about the Lucy Ricardo thing! We have one of those large-capacity front loader washers that you use the low-suds detergent with. I did drop by a couple times to see if it was foaming at the mouth 🙂

      L’Artisan makes you want to chew your arm off?!?! That’s so sad! I can only think of a couple I would strongly prefer not to wear…

      • Francesca says:

        Well, me being me, I was a little hyperbolic.
        The only one that really made me want to go all coyote on my arm was Timbuktu. And there are a few others I’m not wild about. But I like Verte Violette and Ananas Fizz.

        • March says:

          Wow — THAT’S the one that would make me chew my own arm off as well! Navegar doesn’t do much for me either. :”>