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13 Nov 2019

Make Your Own Best Press Citrus Spray Starch

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 (Makes 3 cups)

INGREDIENTS (Revised July 29, 2022)
  • 1½ cups distilled water (it must be distilled because some tap water minerals can stain your fabric).
  • 1½ cup vodka. Use only vodka because it is clear and odorless.
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. bergamot essential oil or any citrus essential oil.

Combine all ingredients. Store in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

27 comments:

  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!!

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  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!

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  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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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  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.

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

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    2. I have been using this for a couple years, quilting, I love it, no residue, can't tell the difference between this and BestPress, which I won't ever buy again. Be HAPPY !

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    3. AnonymousMay 03, 2022

      Hi Monica, I tried this recipe. All I had was citrus flavored vodka. It leaves a sticky black residue on my iron. I use a wooll pressing mat.
      What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.

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    4. AnonymousJune 13, 2022

      I would bet that any flavored vodka has sugar in it, which is burning on the bottom of your iron. She says to use unflavored vodka.

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  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.

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    1. Now see, this baffles me. If you are going to add liquid starch anyway, why bother getting distilled water and vodka? Why not just use the liquid starch in your spray bottle? There is no benefit to making your own if you are going to add a commercial product to it anyway.

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    2. I don't use liquid starch in this recipe because it tends to scorch the fabric, especially whites. I suppose liquid starch would be okay for ironing clothes but I don't recommend it for quilting.

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  6. Hello, Monica, Thank you so much for the fantastic recipe for your alternative to Best Press. I use it daily.
    Do you have an alternative recipe for baste spray, one that does not need to washed out after quilting or provide food for insects. Living in the south we must be careful not to treat any of our quilting fabric with substances that may attract insects to feed upon our quilts. The recipes that I have found for homemade baste spray either contain flour, starch or Elmer's glue, all of which will attract insects. Hopefully, can can help me find a homemade alternative. Thank you

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    1. That's an excellent question. Maybe you could water down some white glue (PVA glue) and see if that works. I'm not sure this would work, though. I'm going to do some experimenting with this.

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  7. I plan on trying this recipe this week. I would also like to thank you for having a secure site. Too many on Pinterest do not. If you have extra Vodka and want to use it up you can purchase 3 Vanilla Beanso(yes they are expensive). You place the Vanilla Beans in the left over Vodka and store in a glass jar in a cabinent. In 6 -12 months you have homemade Vanilla. The time span depends on how strong you want your Vanila

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    1. AnonymousMay 13, 2022

      Sounds great. Where do you purchase vanilla beans?

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    2. Yes I have made vanilla for over 22 years.i got vanilla beans on Amazon

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  8. Thank you so much for the recipe it sounds wonderful. I am wondering if you have to use the essential oils.

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    1. You can leave out the essentials oils if you like.

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  9. Hi I was wondering if I could use white rum instead of vodka? The reason I ask this is we have rum but no vodka. We seldom drink so the rum will not be used. Thank you!

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    1. Monica CurryApril 19, 2022

      I wouldn't recommend it. Rum is made from sugar, so it could get sticky and/or scorch your fabric and iron. Also, vodka is odorless. Rum tends to have a stronger smell and may not go well with essential oil.

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  10. Does this product need to be refrigerated ?

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  11. AnonymousJuly 24, 2022

    Great idea, thanks! BP is expensive, so I’ll try this. Btw, vodka contains zero starch/carbohydrates. They’re converted to alcohol (ethanol) by fermentation then processed and distilled removing any macronutrient (fats, carbs, pro). The only remaining macronutrient present in vodka is water, otherwise it’s ethanol. Google does vodka contain starch. Anyways, excellent idea!

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    1. Thanks for the info. I discovered also that some professional launderers use this spray. It's also able to take out odors. No one seems to know why this stuff works. You're right, it's not the starch.

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