We found a "bad cat spray" at the store, which kinda works - only the scent and spray only seem to deter for moments - until the spray evaporates or absorbs. But we tried it. Then I checked the ingredients on the bottle: Lemongrass and water. Idea Strikes.
Now my google searches were along the lines of "what scents do cats hate". My searches revealed that they dislike, passionately, citrus-y scents, and essential oils especially, as the scent is quite potent. Lemongrass is among the top of their dislikes, along with all other citrus scents.
So then I began scratching my head - how to get this scent "out there" in the house? I already knew the spray I bought was only temporarily effective. Setting out a dish of it (liquid) so the scent lingers longer would just be problematic in a house full of kids and pets, and if they spilled it on the items I was trying to protect (fabrics) it could damage them, potentially.
So my quest remained and I didn't really have any brilliant ideas. Until I clicked on a pinterest link some one posted to facebook. How to make homemade "dryer sheets". I've seen similar before, but I checked out the link, and it was really about how to make homemade dryer balls out of a wool skein. It was quite detailed, and interesting, and as I was reading, it occurred to me that this would be perfect for my cat problem. At the end of the post the author included a ** saying - DO NOT try to make these at home. It was difficult, and the wool skeins are very pricey and only make about 2 balls, and at the end of the day, just not worth it. Buy already made ones on amazon.
SOLD! I sooooo appreciated the honesty of the woman, who's link I can no longer find. But really, how great to show people what you've done and then insist it was a waste of time and money, LOL. So I bought 6 wool balls on amazon for 11,99, and they arrived free shipping in two days. Yay.
It includes two glass jars - one for the "wet ones" and one for the dry ones. It was working great for me, except - the glass jars on the dryer were very jingly and noisy. The lids would vibrate and the two jars would clang together and it was just really annoying background noise!
|Burlap is my "dry jar" regular glass is my "wet jar"|
I decided to give the cat-pee deterrent a two fold approach. If our clothes smell subtly like these oils, from the dryer ball, the cat will be less prone to want to go near them - and yet they smell great to us! And then I also use the balls out in the house, which I will show later.
I normally don't use anything by way of dryer sheets, only because they are an added expense that my budget doesn't need. But I do love the "idea" of dryer sheets, and these are a re-useable, and very cheap way to add a great scent, and reduce static, and soften clothing while it dries.
In a container (like my glass jars or similar), place dry wool balls.
(Make sure the container is large enough so that more than 1 or 2 balls are touching the bottom/liquids added, so they can all soak up evenly)
Put 1 drop of lemongrass and 1 drop of Purification on each ball (these oils are $11 and $18 respectively for 15ml, and using 1 drop at a time will last a reeeeeeally long time. I use them for other things, health wise, so I'll go through them a little faster*, but for me, they are something I am already buying, so they are of no additional cost to my budget.)
I pour about 1/2 C white vinegar and 1/2 C water over the balls, and let them sit and absorb. I use white vinegar in each load of laundry as my water softener, so again, it's already in my laundry room, right there, and is really adding minimal/no expense to my normal routine.
When you are putting a load in the dryer, grab a dryer ball from the "wet" jar, (or two for extra large loads), and throw them in the dryer with the wet clothing.
When a load is finished, I throw the "dry" ones in my burlap covered container, and there they wait to be re-doused in the future, or used as cat deterrents. When I get down to about 1 left, I "make a new batch" of wet ones but this would depend on how much you do laundry in a week. They take probably at least 30 mins to soak up the vinegar & water, so I just make sure there are always some to grab in there.
|Here they sit, soaking up their vinegar and water mixture.|
|To keep the lids from rattling I hot glued ribbon to the outer edge of the jars inner rim, if that makes sense. Now we have zero opportunity for glass to clang against glass, and a quiet clothes drying experience|
|And they kinda look pretty on the dryer, too, right?! I'm loving this!|
To use the oils as a cat-pee deterrent, I just take a dry ball, and put a drop of essential oil on it, and place it where I want the cat to avoid. It smells forever (I've had some out for over a week, and they still smell strongly to the human nose), and it's safe for kids etc etc. Nothing to get damaged or spill etc. This would work well as a cat scratching deterrent too, if they are going for something they shouldn't, place a ball there, and they'll not go near!
|The oils are a little yellow in colour, so they "dye" the white wool - it' doesn't affect functionality at all|
|So I covered it in burlap, and now it matches the bathroom a little better, don't you think?|
So, even if you don't have a cat problem to solve, these dryer "sheet" alternatives can be used effectively and affordably, and aren't adding any extra chemicals into your life!
NOTE: You can use only water if you choose, vinegar adds an added 'softening' agent, but using only water will still reduce static and give a great smell to clothing if using with oils. Or another option would be to just use vinegar and water, with no oils - this would give soft and static free clothing, but it wouldn't have any smell to it, for people that are sensitive to smells. The odor from the oils left on clothing is, in my opinion, light and fresh - not as potent as a normal dryer sheet - and better smelling. The oils are absorbed into the wool balls and will not get "oil spots" on your clothing. I suggest using Young Living Therapeutic grade oils.
Wool dryer ball aficionados out there also insist that using them cuts down drying time by up to 25%, thereby saving money on your energy bill. I think I've noticed this to be true too, although I'll need to pay closer attention to the clock!
Let me know if you have any questions about this! Happy Laundry Day(s) :-)