The Funk

it began with a combination of two things…a very dirty dog stinking up the bed and me going to sleep with a deep conditioning treatment in my hair and subsequently wetting a pillow. These two things culminated to create a smell so rank that drastic intervention was required. I suspect it was a mix of moldy pillow stuffing and that dead animal smell that dogs waft when they roll in something exciting. So naturally i threw everything in the washing machine with a large cup of detergent and figured it was solved. Boy was i wrong. Not only did the laundry not get defunkified, the pillows and bedding funkified the washing machine, the dryer, and all of my other laundry. It was like everything that this smell touched automatically joined it. I could see i was losing a battle here. I needed reinforcements, supplies, and a different strategy. I consulted coworkers with children…what is the strongest product we sell to remedy this problem? I was told that i needed to take my machine apart, empty the old water, clean the lint trap, put the machine back together, pour a packet of washing machine cleaner into the drum and set the machine to “normal” and “hot”. Then after this was finished, run a load of the funkified laundry with a huge cup of oxiclean odor busters detergent. So i did this. It was quite the process. I had to use a screw driver to pry open the door to the lint trap and the cap that held the water in the bottom of the machine, as the button to push in to open the little door was non-existent (maybe broken off at some point when i moved). Once the door was open it said to place a bowl under the tube before you uncapped it as nasty smelly water was going to come out. I was watching youtube videos and interrogating my mother trying to figure out how much water was going to come out and at what rate of speed. Smelly gunky water shooting out of a tube at a high rate of flow would be much worse than a smelly goopy trickle. I couldn’t gage what size bowl i needed but i didn’t have a bowl big enough to hold the amount of water i guessed was coming and shallow enough to fit under the very short tube that had to be pointed down in order to drain properly. I ended up reinforcing a ziploc freezer bag by sticking it inside another one and holding that under the tube. I popped the cap off the tube and it immediately began draining the rankest rotten egg/dead animal/wet dog/musty sweet mold smelling cloudy liquid into these ziploc bags. I knew i had to stay there and hold the tube in the bag or the water would go all over the floor and the whole house would be funkified by this demon liquid. So i stayed where i was and tried to hold on, but the smell was so intense and so close to my face, i literally instinctually started dry heaving. I was busy trying to keep myself from upchucking dinner when the smell hit the dogs. They ran to the front door and plastered themselves there as if to say, “open, open open open, i’m out!” My eyes were watering. It was bad. I could hear myself saying “oh Jesus, oh Jesus!” When i got the full thing drained i let the dogs out into the dog run and then dumped that frothy slimy liquid in the yard. It seemed to sit on top of the ground. It didnt function as normal water. I stood and looked at it warily. I then returned to the house and removed the lint trap. I confirmed that i was not indeed crazy a year ago when i drove myself mad swearing that i had 8 hair clips and could only find 7. I took the house apart and then was screaming like a mad woman, “it’s 384 square feet! How do i lose things in a 384 square foot space!” The eighth hair clip was torn in half and lodged in the middle of the washing machine lint trap covered in mold, dog hair, rust, and slime. I followed the directions and took an old toothbrush that the dentist had put in my goody bag at one of my visits and brushed feverishly under the spigot next to the well house. I got the slimy gunk off but the whole thing was still covered in black mold. My mother suggested dipping it in bleach. I submerged the lint trap in a cup of straight bleach. The mold came off. How amazing bleach is. Then i rinsed it under the spigot once more, threw away the toothbrush, and diluted and disposed of the bleach water in the dirt of the driveway. I should mention that all this was happening at around 2 am. I was delirious with sleep deprivation, somewhat on autopilot, and just blindly following instructions on packages and youtube how-to videos. When stumped i consulted my mother who then face-timed me so i could compare the structure of her machine to mine. Once i got the lint trap cleaned and void of stray hair clips i inserted it into the machine and twisted the lid back on. I capped the tube and clipped it upright. I put the door back in place and then washed the washer machine. After that i ran a plain rinse cycle with no clothes in there to get any excess cleaning formula that promised to bleach fabric out of there. I then washed the laundry with the odor eaters oxiclean detergent. I dried the load. I pulled it out and smelled it…RANK! The laundry machine was defunkified but the laundry itself was still BAD! I read the back of the oxiclean detergent bottle. It said for extreme cases, soak the laundry in the detergent for 6 hours before washing. So i put the laundry into my metal bathtub in the middle of the living room floor and filled the tub to the top with water and 5 whole heaping capfuls of this oxiclean odor eaters detergent. I went to work. After my shift i returned to the house to find the laundry sitting in water that was a dark soupy oily gray with bubbles in it. It smelled worse than ever! When i removed and rung out the laundry what was left behind seriously looked like something that might drain out of the bottom of a car at jiffy lube. It smelled SO BAD! My skin smelled like it. I had to wash my hands and arms with dawn dish soap to get the funk off. Then i had to clean the bathtub which also now smelled irreparably like the funk. I was drowning in this problem. I washed the laundry again with the oxiclean detergent and it was worse than ever once dried! I threw it all back into the washing machine and emptied a whole gallon of vinegar into the drum. I then added the oxiclean detergent and set it. Nothing! Not even a dent! I was beside myself! All my laundry was custom hemmed for short people…i couldn’t just burn it and start over (but it was looking like that was my only option at this point). Finally my mother said to put baking soda on the clothes. I emptied the entire box of baking soda from the back of my pantry into the laundry machine drum and turned it on. No smell. My God. I went to the lowes market one town over and made my way to the checkout carrying every box of baking soda the store had in stock (8) and a box of raisins (gotta have snacks). The cashier looked at me funny and said, “will that be all for you today?” I said, “yes.” He said, “receipt?” I said, “sure.” Everyone in the store was staring. I was aware this was a weird thing to do in a small town but it was too long a story to explain. I had work to do. So i gathered up all my baking soda and returned to the house. I threw out the pillows and a wool garment that couldn’t be saved. I decided the clothes and the bedding were salvageable. Baking soda. Glorious baking soda. From now on a box of it would go in the laundry until i was sure the problem was done with. My God the smell still haunts my nightmares. The funk; if a dead rotting animal married 8 week old eggs that had been in a bag on the dashboard in the sun and had a baby that was clad in eternally wet dog hair. That is the best description i can give you of what its like to sniff the funk.

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