Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Broadway Meets Martha Stewart

I've been performing since childhood, and over time, you absorb a few theatrical shortcuts: dressing in layers for a quick costume change, rolling antiperspirant under makeup to avoid sweating everything off, wearing support hose to ward off snags and runs during dance numbers, etc. These are great little hints, but not terribly useful in Teh Reel Worldz.

Unless you're talking vodka. 

Picture a period musical with a cast of fifteen, where each actor has a minimum of three costume changes. There are a handful of performances each weekend, with a week off in between. While the crew might have time to run everything to the dry cleaners, there's no budget for it. You either find a quick, cheap way to clean, or the costumes will walk themselves onstage.

Enter vodka. 

For decades, I've watched costumers spray undiluted vodka on fabric. It disinfects, and evaporates without leaving a scent. I always thought this was a cool trick, but didn't personally have much use for it. And then a guest spilled water on my 60+ year old sofasleeper (thank you, Craigslist), and the smell of neglected nursing home suffused my apartment.

It took a while to recall the vodka trick. Before that, I tried fans, a mix of baking soda and essential oils, and straight-up room deodorizer without success. The stench would ebb, then resurface full force within a day or two. Thank god I thought to try vodka.

After a few false starts with a tiny cosmetic spray bottle, I remembered my unused Misto atomizer, and filled it with the cheapest vodka I could find. For several consecutive days, I sprayed the living crap out of that couch and all its accessories. By the time my next guest arrived, a secular-humanist-Christmas-miracle-in-July had occurred: the couch was scentless.


Days later, I was emptying Bug's [horrific] diaper pail and though again of vodka (mmmmmvodka). I grabbed the Misto, and sprayed clouds of booze into liner and pail. Then I left both in a well-ventilated spot and crossed my fingers.

My friends, I have a diaper pail that DOES. NOT. SMELL.

Before this, I'd tried cleaning wipes, deodorant disks, baking soda, essential oils, baking soda and essential oils, charcoal filters, and even a gel designed to perfume toilets. No dice. All were stop-gaps, but eventually, I'd open Bug's door and smell sewage. Now, all is olfactory silence.

If I didn't love vodka before, I now love it as much as (or possibly more than) the child whose room it has purified. I say again: all praise be to vodka.

A few caveats:
- Don't spray alcohol near heat sources or open flames. Duh.
- Spray outside or near an open window with fans off, and consider wearing a mask. Atomized vodka stings the throat without any of the fun side effects.
- The pump action of the Misto creates pressure inside its container. I don't know the long-term effect of pressure on alcohol, so to be on the safe side, I open, then reseal the Misto before putting it away, so the pressure is dispelled.
- Don't, as I was tempted to do, throw a spray bottle of vodka in your diaper bag. Traffic cops and TSA agents rarely respect non-medicinal uses for alcohol.

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