Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Letter Writing, Removing Goodwill Stank & Cartoon Dog Issues

by Katy on January 29, 2013 · 31 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

2013 Letter Writing Challenge

2011 was the year of the 52 Weeks 52 Letters Challenge and although I think I only wrote twenty-some letters in all, it was still 99% more than I would have written without the challenge. I considered re-upping the challenge for 2013, but I really didn’t want to pressure myself into a weekly letter again. (After all, I am a delicate flower.)

However, I am going to start writing some letters again. I like how a written letter can’t be rushed and I like picturing the recipient opening their mailbox to find an actual letter.

Not quite a challenge, but also not letting myself off the hook.

The perfect amount of pressure.

Are you in?

An Important Issue For Cartoon Dogs

In the way that a picture says a thousand words, I’ll let this photo of my husband speak for itself. Because to explain it would make it boring.

Cartoon dog

 Time for a “New” Duvet Cover and a New Smell

I’ve been keeping an eye out for a new to me/thrifted store duvet cover for at least a couple of years. There was no time constraint, so I was able to be picky. But a $7.99 Goodwill goody finally caught my eye last week. Not only would the colors tie in well with my bedroom, but it looked brand new and the modern floral pattern was cute and cheerful. And more importantly, it was not flannel and could be used year round.

However, the Goodwill disinfectant smell was overwhelming. (Don’t get me wrong. I want, no need for Goodwill goodies to be all kinds of disinfected, but the sickly sweet smell can be overwhelming and surprisingly difficult to remove.) So I hung the duvet cover on the outside laundry line for a couple of days to A) air out and B) get rained in. (I do live in Oregon!) I then laundered the duvet cover in a detergent/bleach/washing soda/Oxyclean solution, giving the mixture a couple of hours to soak.

And when the duvet cover finally came out of the dryer . . . it still had that Goodwill smell!

So I rehung the duvet cover on the clothesline and liberally spritzed it with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution and let it air out for another day or so. I then re-washed it in a detergent/washing soda/Oxyclean slurry and . . .  finally got the Goodwill smell out!



After - duvet

I love the new look, and it’s nice and warm without being overwhelmingly hot.

And most importantly, it has no discernible Goodwill stank!


Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie K. January 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

Love the new duvet cover! I have become a fan of duvet covers, mostly because certain household members don’t like to sleep between sheets and washing comforters is not the easiest thing. I will pay more attention to the Goodwill linens…and stock up on the vinegar for odor-elimination!


Bethany@OurSoCalledLife January 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

I actually love the letter writing challenge! I’m not big on doing challenges, but there is just something sweet about that. I might have to give it a try. 😉


Tina S. January 29, 2013 at 9:49 am

I own this same duvet cover – love it! I think I got mine at Ikea several years ago.
Duvet covers are way better than sheets in my opinion. And you can flip over the comforter to use the other side so you don’t have to change the cover as often. At least that’s what I do.


Julia Park Tracey January 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

I’m turning 50 this year, so I have given myself a couple of #50things challenges. Letter-writing is one of them I’m planning to write 50 letters this year — I’ve done 3 so far, just about on target. I’m also going to volunteer 50 hours and plant 50 trees (through or, if not personally). But I am definitely in on the letter-writing challenge. You will probably see one from me in your mailbox soon. But — do thank-you notes count? They are, after all, required.


Stephanie January 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

oh man, that is a hard smell to get rid of sometimes. I thought I’d gotten rid of it on a wool skirt recently – until midday it started to bother me. I nearly went home and changed. It was pretty bad . . . I will try the vinegar solution spray next. . .


Cee January 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Thanks for the odor remover tip! I always have a hard time getting the smell of the disinfectant out of goodwill and similar thrift stores. I soak in baking soda and water, rinse, soak again in vinegar and water, then launder 2-3 times (with dirty laundry- no wasting water here!). It usually still smells faintly but wears out in a couple of washings. Unfortunately, I have allergies that prevent me from airing laundry outside. I’ll have to give the oxyclean/soap/bleach slurrey a try.


JennH January 30, 2013 at 2:51 pm

You know if you are going to wash it a couple of times anyway you could hang it outside in between right? The sun really is amazing at removing odors & the second washing should remove allergens right? Just a thought from a random stranger!


Katy January 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm

What is this thing you call “Sun?”

Here is Oregon what I think you call sun is grey, wet and falls from the sky. 😉



Nicole January 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

You have a moon clock!! I’ve wanted one of those for at least a decade, if not longer.

And if the vinegar trick doesn’t work, cheap vodka (in a spray bottle) also works well.


marie January 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

I wonder if it would work on Cat smell. I have a quilt my mother made 40+ years ago. I got it from my sisters ala cat smell. I can’t put it in the washing machine. I have hung it outside many times, and it still smells too bad to use.


Katy January 29, 2013 at 1:55 pm

For cat smell (I assume you mean the smell of cat urine) I would spray it down with an enzymatic spray designed for protein based stains.



Cee January 29, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Try a brand called Nature’s Miracle, available from most pet shops and online. I have a cat who has litter box issues and this is the only thing that has worked for me.


claudia January 30, 2013 at 9:30 am

Nature’s Miracle now goes by the name Petastic: same product, according to my very helpful local pet store (shout out to Healthy Pet!). I have also had good results with “the recipe” as found online:


Kaylen January 29, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Wow, that’s some persistent smell! I don’t like the smell of new clothes, clothes washed with other people’s detergent and fabric softener, or clothes with the disinfectants they use at secondhand stores, so I just assume that I’ll have to wash everything when I get home with anything new to me, but usually once does it for me. I wonder what it would take to convince Goodwill to use something unscented…


Ruth January 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Can you tell me more about the disinfectant that Goodwill uses? Do they use it on everything? How much cleaning do they do on donated items?


Sara January 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Good question, I’ve always wondered this too.


Christine January 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I am so intrigued by this cartoon dog business, but when I click on screen shot I can’t make it play! Is it just me?


dusty January 30, 2013 at 4:18 am

I couldn’t get it to play either


Joyce February 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm

I agree. Is it really a video or just a picture. And if it isn’t a video, what dog cartoons are sending the wrong ideas to children…..


Kathy February 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Same here no video.


Katy February 3, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Nope. No link, and I’ll never tell! 😉


ThriftDee January 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm

We are “lucky?’ here in Colorado where disinfectant is not used on Goodwill items. However you can try soaking in a mix of vodka and water. It can help!!


annW January 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm

One of my friends, DeeAnna, blogs for Goodwill of Denver. she uses vodka A Lot, especially on wool clothes. Look up her tips.


kathleen January 29, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I’m doing the 52 weeks/52 letters challenge for the third year! I’ve loved it from the first moment I read your challenge idea. I fell a little bit short last year, but not too bad. I don’t force myself to write EVERY week, but sometimes I may do two or three in the same week. I just jot the names of recipients on my calendar, and occasionally count to see if I’m still on track. I count birthday cards IF a letter is included.

Thanks SO much for inspiring me to share a dwindling art (real life handwritten snail mail letters), make someone’s day when they open their mailbox, and help out the USPS! 🙂


Maryanne January 30, 2013 at 3:42 am

Please explain the cartoon dog issues! 😀


Katy January 30, 2013 at 5:37 am

Never, I’ll take it to the grave with me!



A. Marie January 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

What? Your Goodwill disinfects things? Our Salvation Army sells them to us in their pure natural stankiness, as far as I can tell. (No Goodwill in these parts.) However, I admit that if something is truly stanky, I tend to avoid buying it. Fortunately, my preferred bedcovering is a more easily launderable candlewick bedspread–a throwback to my Southern upbringing.


H. Kurtz January 30, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Love your new duvet cover! Although, I’m very curious to know what you have your books sitting in on your night stand? I have mine just piled/stacked on the floor beside my bed and have been wanting something besides another basket.


Audrey January 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I did the 52/52 challenge back in 2011 and completed all 52. Best of all, I reconnected with one of my suite mates from college. I also LOVED the handwritten letters I received in return. It was great. Last year was a hard year and I never would’ve made the goal. So, yes, I’m IN for 2013!!!!


Melissa January 31, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Does Goodwill really disinfect things now? When I worked for them about a decade ago, traveling around to various stores, they didn’t. As bad as that smell must be for customers, I can only imagine what those poor workers have to deal with.


Katy January 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Hmm . . . not really sure what the smell is. I want to believe it’s some kind of disinfectant.

Please don’t burst my bubble. 😉



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