Some 40,000 years ago when your animal-hide garments needed smoothing, all you had to do was grab a rock, heat it over the fire, and press away — and it's a pretty safe bet that applying delicate scents didn't figure in to laundry duties way back then. Today, however, hides have given way to easy-care fabrics, rocks were long ago tossed aside for state-of-the-art steam irons, and if you want, you can even get 21st-century trendy by making your own scented ironing water. It's one more way to take the drudgery out of the chore, and it couldn't be easier.
Why Scenting Is Good
Adding a touch of your favorite fragrance to clothing, bed linens, and sleepwear is an effective and pleasurable way to pamper yourself, to personalize your surroundings, and to reduce stress with aromatherapy that soothes, relaxes, and refreshes. Because you scent ironing water with naturally derived essential oils, avoiding the use of commercial chemical products, you also have the satisfaction of knowing that what you're doing is green and natural.
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How to Make Scented Water
Making scented ironing water is easy. First, add 1 teaspoon of your chosen essential oil to 1 tablespoon of either witch hazel or vodka and then shake well to mix. Pour 16 ounces of distilled water into the spray bottle you plan to use and then add the fragrance mixture to the distilled water and shake again. Do a test spray on a piece of fabric to make sure the fragrance strength is to your liking and that it won't leave spots. If you feel it's too potent, simply add more water. You can store the water in your fridge for up to six weeks. After that, the fragrance will begin to weaken.
If you don't know which essential oil to use, consider lavender, bergamot, rosemary, or orange. Lavender is the most popular for linen spray, but in the practice of aromatherapy, all four are considered aids in lifting mood and reducing anxiety. And remember that the use of your spray concoction doesn't have to be confined to ironing. You can spritz it lightly on upholstered furniture, on curtains, and inside closets.
If You Overdo It
You may find that you've overscented or that you just don't like the fragrance you used. When this happens, first try simply airing the item outside. If this doesn't solve the problem or if the weather doesn't permit outside airing, wash the item with fragrance-free detergent. Finally, if fragrance still remains, add baking soda to the wash or soak the item overnight in baking soda and water.