Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Hilarious Housekeeping Hints from the 1800's By: Julie lence

In most homes, women tackle the cleaning and the laundry. We have our favorite mops and soaps, and  somewhere between the scrubbing and folding, we long for a self-cleaning house. But compared to the housekeeping grind of the 1800’s, today’s philosophy and methods are simpler. Take a gander at some of the humorous logic from back then, courtesy of  …And You Think You’ve Got It Bad. I’d wager you wouldn’t wish for a self-cleaning house again, but I’d be lying.

Cleaning Tips:
While painting, keep the room well ventilated and eat acid fruits. Any woman with a mechanical turn of mind can paint.

To rid your home of moths, take common lamp-oil and wash the floor all over. It smells “loud” but will be gone in about two days. So will the moths.

Bellows, courtesy of
To clean a papered wall, cut a large loaf of two-day old bread into eight pieces. Blow dust off wall with a bellows, rub a piece of bread down the wall in half yard strokes. Begin at the top of the room until upper part is cleaned then go around room repeating process until all has been gone over.

Laundry Tips:

According to …And You Think You’ve Got It Bad, wash day is Monday, and should be completed by 10 a.m. One should prepare the wash water Saturday night. Soft water works best, but if you don’t have soft water you can soften a barrel of well water by pouring a half-peck of boiled hard-wood ashes (and the water used to boil the ashes) into the barrel water. You’ll know enough has been added to produce the desired effect when the water takes on a curdled appearance and soon settles to perfectly clear. If milky in appearance, add more ashes and lye, but not too much as it will affect your hands in an unpleasant manner.

To stiffen linen cuffs and collars, add a small piece of white wax and one teaspoon of brandy to a pint of fine starch.

Victorian Vanity Set courtesy of Pinteret 
Clean a silk dress by first brushing with a velvet brush. Grate 2 potatoes into 1 quart of water. Let stand to settle, then strain it off quite clear. Sponge dress with potato water. (The velvet brush is the long brush at the top of the photo)

After reading these hints, I think I’ll stick to my All laundry soap and Snuggles fabric softener and hire a painter when needed.   

...And You Think You've Got It Bad by Barbara Fairchild Gramm can be purchased at  
Original Cover


Kristy McCaffrey said...

These are funny. I wonder if they actually work lol.

Julie Lence said...

I have no clue and have no desire to try. But it is fun reading about them. Hugs, Kristy!

Andrea Downing said...

Ashes to wash clothes? Hmmm. I don't think so. Thanks for an amusing piece, Julie--makes wash day seem like a breeze.

Julie Lence said...

Mine, too, Andrea!