13 Nov 2019

Make Your Own Best Press Citrus Spray Starch

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I love Mary Ellen's Best Press Spray. It helps my blocks press crisp and there's no starchy residue. The only downside is that it's way too expensive, especially here in Canada. Also, I don't like the smell of most of their scents; the lavender-scented spray smells like cheap men's cologne. I thought of using the scent-free Best Press, but it costs more than the scented. So, I decided to try making the homemade version of Best Press and I was pleased with the results.

I wanted my spray to have a nice scent but most of the recipes I found called for lavender essential oil and I didn't care for it. So, I tried the citrus essential oils (i.e. lemon, lemongrass, bergamot, orange, etc.) and loved the fresh citrusy scent. I use bergamot exclusively now. Bergamot is a fresh, uplifting Italian orange oil used for cosmetics and perfumes. Below is the recipe for the DIY Citrus Best Press that works just as well as the real deal. 

DIY CITRUS BEST PRESS 1 Liter (1 quart)



  • 3 cups distilled water (it must be distilled because some tap waters can stain your fabric).
  • ½ cup vodka. Use only vodka because it has no real odour.
    vodka is made from fermented potatoes which are a natural starch).
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. bergamot essential oil or any citrus essential oil.
*UPDATE: After more research, I found that most vodkas are NOT made from potatoes. Most are made from cereal grains. I use Smirnoff which is made from corn. Conclusion, just use the cheapest unflavoured vodka you can find.

 Combine the essential oil and vodka then add all ingredients to a 1 L/1 qt. container with a lid. Replace the lid of the container and shake the solution well. Pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

FREE PRINTABLES: Pretty labels for your 1 Liter (1 quart) spray starch bottle.
Includes a recipe card (Download HERE)



  1. This sounds great! It should not leave any residue judging by the ingredients. All the other homemade sprays out there are more for making starch sprays. I am definitely going to try this as soon as I find a small supply of citrus oil. Thanks!!

  2. I am going to try this too. Don't know how much the vodka is but may save me some. Love the best press but it is expensive and hard for me to obtain. thanks for the recipe!

  3. This recipe is simply for scented water. There are no ingredients to create a crisp finish on material. I'm looking for a DIY scented product with seizing (not starch). Your recipe is a disservice to the Mary Ellen brand because it will/does not perform in the same way. If you do perfect a DIY that creates a crisp finish to fabric let me know.

    1. Thanks for your comment. First, you can’t make sizing in your kitchen (I’m not a scientist). Second, MEBP is a starch and sizing "alternative". The vodka in this recipe acts as a starch. I am only trying to provide a DIY alternative to MEBP for those who can’t afford it. Some people may like this recipe and some may not. For my needs, it works fine. If you like MEBP perhaps a DIY option is not for you.

    2. Thank you, Monica, for providing this recipe. Shame on people who are so terribly negative and judgemental. I appreciate every person I learn from with ideas for quilting. You did no disservice to anyone or any product on your site. Looking under rocks is certainly an appropriate name. Anyway, I did make this recipe first with adding some liquid starch because I had read it on another site. It worked fine, but left a residue. I then just used your recipe and had good results. I did try a small amount of liquid starch as Beverly below had suggested. It's just perfect and I added approx. 1/4 cup to my 16 oz bottle. That's plenty and gives a nice finish to my fabric. Again, I very much appreciate you posting this recipe and sharing your discoveries with our quilting family out here. Please continue to share your discoveries! .........a thankful quilter in Minnesota! Wishing you a wonderful 2022!

    3. Thanks for you comment. This is a versatile recipe. I might add a bit of liquid starch for my husband's white shirts. Happy 2022 to you, as well.

  4. I am going to try this. Thank you. Best Press and Sta-Flo starch is ridiculously expensive in Canada! I have tried recipes with cornstarch and I seem to always get left with a white residue.

    1. Thanks for your comment. This works well for me. I can also control whether or not I want a scent.

  5. I make this the same way but I add some liquid starch to the mixture, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Works great. I had to find a spray bottle which produces a much of a mist as possible, otherwise I wind up with areas which are more damp than others and those areas iron unevenly, creating a slight wavy area (damp fabric expands, drying shrinks it). I know we are supposed to press not iron, lifting up the iron and setting it down, but I lack the patience for it! A tip I found said to spray your fabric then crumple it up up to help distribute the moisture better, then iron. This seems to help. My grandmother used to sprinkle water on her clothes to be ironed, then crumple them up and put them in a bag in the refrigerator overnight! She said they ironed better the next day and the cold kept them from drying out.