Household Cleaning Hints from Long Ago

Ah, the ‘good ‘ole days’. I love reading about these times before I entered this world. A sense of nostalgia washes over me, perhaps envying the simplicity of a quieter lifestyle. No traffic, not as much rushing, a period when life centered on family and friends. Yet, do I really wish I lived back in those days? No, not so much. Especially when I read some of these ‘helpful hints’ from old periodicals. Most were clipped from old newspapers, so I can’t credit the source or date the reference.

BBD_coal adCoal Economy: I desire to submit a recipe for economy in the use of coal. Two ounces of oxalic acid, dissolved in one-half pint boiling water, one pound of barrel salt and one gallon of water. Add to this three parts of coal ashes and one part of slack coal, mixing until as stiff as can be stirred. Put on a good fire and it becomes a coke-light mass, burning for hours and leaving very little residue.

Oh my, this sounds confusing. And messy. Oxalic acid? What is that and can you still get it? A quick internet search provided many avenues to purchase oxalic acid. Although there were enough variations, I’d be reluctant to trust which product I chose. Barrel salt? Is that different from the table salt I have? Then I get to the coal ashes – don’t have any – and the slack coal. I certainly don’t have any of that.

Then it becomes a ‘coke-light mass’? The only Coke Light I know of doesn’t have anything to do with coal or heating. Good ‘ole internet to the rescue again. The coke referenced here is a product derived from coal. It’s typically used as a fuel or in the process of producing iron. I didn’t see its weight mentioned. Evidently it’s fairly light.

Today I’ll be thankful for the new technology. I get cold … I walk over to the wall, flip a little switch, and wait for the heater to turn on. Minutes later I’m basking in the rush of warm air spilling from the little metal vents on the floor.

Cleaning Coal Smoke from Carpets: To clean carpets after they have been soiled by coal smoke, take a bucketful of warm suds, the same as you would for the furniture, add to it 10 cents worth of ether and wash the same way as you would linoleum, drying well as you go along. This will make the carpets look as good as when new. This will not fade the best of carpets.

Aha! Back to the messy part. It appears that it is a filthy heating process. It’s a good thing I’m not heating with coal, or my carpets would remain sooty and dirty. I don’t know where to get any ether. And I certainly wouldn’t know how much ten cents worth would be.

Cleaning Rusty Flat Irons: Beeswax and salt will make your rusty flat-irons as clean and smooth as glass. Tie a lump of wax into a rag and keep it for that purpose. When the irons are hot, rub them first with the wax rag, then scour with a paper or cloth sprinkled with salt.

I love the old heavy flat irons. As bookends. For ironing, I’ll keep my plug in, presto-it’s-ready electric iron.

BBD_doing laundryIroning made Easy: Dry the starched articles perfectly, then dip them in a pail of boiling water and pass them through the wringer twice. They may then be ironed at once, or they may be rolled up in a dry cloth. The fabric may be ironed with greater ease after being dampened in this way than when sprinkled in the usual manner. Turpentine in starch gives an added whiteness and luster to the ironed articles. Use one tablespoonful to a quart of starch. – Ladies Home Journal.

Pass them through the wringer twice? I’m lucky to hang my clothes immediately after drying so that I rarely need to iron anything.

A Few Suggestions: When arranging dish cupboards or pressers use the Star. Place the crow with this witty sayings and weather forecast right where you can see them. Whenever you go to them they will cheer you – when you feel dull and tired.

Huh? This little tip had me stumped. Now I’m for anything that will cheer me when I feel dull and tired. But, I’m completely perplexed as to what a Star is, especially in regards to a crow with witty sayings and a weather forecast. A Google search even failed me on this research trip. So I think I’m off in search of my own remedy for feeling dull and tired. I call it a N.A.P.


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