19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, April 23, 1914: Ditto—Also went up to McEwensville this evening.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Are you still doing the spring housecleaning? At least you got to go to town in the evening. Did you visit one of your friends?
A hundred years ago people often made their own cleaning solutions rather than buying commercial products. Here are the directions in an old book:
Carpets, to Clean
Ingredients—1/2 pound of washing soda, 1 pound of yellow soap, 1 ounce of nitric acid, 1 gallon of water
Mode—Melt the soap and soda in the oven; then mix with the water and add the acid; with a clean scrubbing brush wash the carpet from seam to seam with this, doing only a small piece at a time, and rinsing and drying it as quickly as possible.
Floor Cloth (Linoleum), to Clean
Ingredients- 1/2 ounce of beeswax, turpentine
Mode- Shred the beeswax into a saucer, pour ever enough turpentine to cover it, and set in the oven until melted. Wash the floor cloth in the ordinary way, wait till dry, and rub lightly over with the wax and turpentine, then with a dry cloth.
Another way in which linoleum or floor cloth may be cleaned is by rubbing it over with milk when dried after washing.
Furniture, Polished, to Clean
Ingredients—1 ounce of white wax, 3 ounces of beeswax, 1 ounce of curd soap, 1 pint of turpentine, 1 pint of water boiled and allowed to get cold again.
Mode—Mix all the ingredients together, bottle, shake often, and do not use for two days. Dust the furniture well, rub the mixture on with a flannel, then polish with a duster and afterwards with an old silk handkerchief. A good furniture cream brought ready for use may be found to save trouble.
Looking-Glass, to Clean
First take off fly stains or any other soils with a sponge damped with spirits of wine, or any other spirit, then dust over the glass with fine sifted powder blue and polish with an old silk handkerchief or very soft dry cloth.
Paint, to Clean
Dirty paint should have the dust removed first with the bellows, afterwards with a brush; it should never be wiped with a cloth, and the great secrets in cleaning paint are not to use much water and to dry quickly.
The water used should have a little soda or pearlash dissolved in it; and after dipping the flannel used in this, it should be wrung almost dry before being applied to the paint. Directly this is done (a small piece only being done at a time, unless two are at work, and one can rinse as the other washes) it must be rinsed with clean water and dried with a clean cloth.
Mrs. Beeton’s Cookery Book (1902)