What Great Grandma Knew
Remedies, Cleaning & Housekeeping Tips from 1887
To Remove Finger-Marks:—Sweet oil will remove finger-marks from varnished furniture, and kerosene from oiled furniture.
To Remove Paint from Black Silk:—Patient rubbing with chloroform will remove paint from black silk or any other goods, and will not hurt the most delicate color or fabric.
To Freshen Gilt Frames:—Gilt frames may be revived by carefully dusting them, and then washing with one ounce of soda beaten up with the whites of three eggs. Scraped patches might be touched tip with any gold paint. Castile soap and water, with proper care, may be used to clean oil paintings; other methods should not be employed without some skill.
To Destroy Moths in Furniture:—All the baking and steaming are useless, as, although the moths may be killed, their eggs are sure to hatch, and the upholstery to be well riddled. The naphtha-bath process is effectual. A sofa, chair or lounge may be immersed in the large vats used for the purpose, and all insect life will be absolutely destroyed. No egg ever hatches after passing through the naphtha-bath; all oil, dirt or grease disappears, and not the slightest damage is done to the most costly article. Sponging with naphtha will not answer. It is the immersion for two hours or more in the specially prepared vats which is effectual.
To Erase Discoloration on Stone China:—Dishes and cups that are used for baking custards, puddings, etc., that require scouring, may be easily cleaned by rubbing with a damp cloth dipped in whiting or "Sapolio," then washed as usual.
To Remove Ink, Wine or Fruit Stains:—Saturate well in tomato juice; it is also an excellent thing to remove stains from the hands.
To Set Colors in Washable Goods:—Soak them previous to washing in a water in which is allowed a tablespoonful of ox-gall to a gallon of water.
To Take out Paint:—Equal parts of ammonia and turpentine will take paint out of clothing, no matter how dry or hard it may be. Saturate the spot two or three times, then wash out in soap-suds. Ten cents' worth of oxalic acid dissolved in a pint of hot water will remove paint spots from the windows. Pour a little into a cup, and apply to the spots with a swab, but be sure not to allow the acid to touch the hands. Brasses may be quickly cleaned with it. Great care must be exercised in labeling the bottle, and putting it out of the reach of children, as it is a deadly poison.
To Remove Tar from Cloth:—Saturate the spot and rub it well with turpentine, and every trace of tar will be removed.
To Destroy Ants:—Ants that frequent houses or gardens may be destroyed by taking flour of brimstone half a pound, and potash four ounces; set them in iron or earthen pan over the fire until dissolved and united; afterwards beat them to a powder, infuse a little of this powder in water, and wherever you sprinkle it the ants will fly the place
To Prevent Rust on Knives:—Steel knives which are not in general use may be kept from rusting if they are dipped in a strong solution of soda: one part water to four of soda; then wipe dry, roll in flannel and keep in a dry place.
To Scour Knives Easily:—Mix a small quantity of baking soda with your brick-dust and see if your knives do not polish better.
To Soften Boots and Shoes:—Kerosene will soften boots and shoes which have been hardened by water, and render them as pliable as new. Kerosene will make tin kettles as bright as new. Saturate a woolen rag and rub with it. It will also remove stains from clean varnished furniture.
Faded Goods:—Plush goods and all articles dyed with aniline colors, which have faded from exposure to the light, will look as bright as new after sponging with chloroform.
To Preserve Ribbons and Silks:—Ribbons and silks should be put away for preservation in brown paper; the chloride of lime in white paper discolors them. A white satin dress should be pinned up in blue paper with brown paper outside sewn together at the edges
To Clean Unvarnished Black Walnut:—Milk, sour or sweet, well rubbed in with an old soft flannel, will make black walnut look new.
To Remove Mildew from Cloth:—Put a teaspoonful of chloride of lime into a quart of water, strain it twice, then dip the mildewed places in this weak solution; lay in the sun; if the mildew has not disappeared when dry, repeat the operation. Also soaking the article in sour milk and salt; then lay in the sun; repeat until all the mildew is out.
To Take Ink out of Linen:—Dip the ink spot in pure melted tallow, then wash out the tallow and the ink will come out with it. This is said to be unfailing. Milk will remove ink from linen or colored muslins, when acids would be ruinous, by soaking the goods until the spot is very faint and then rubbing and rinsing in cold water.
Ink spots on floors can be extracted by scouring with sand wet in oil of vitriol and water. When ink is removed, rinse with strong pearl-ash water.
For Cleaning Glass Bottles:—Crush egg-shells into small bits, or a few carpet tacks, or a small quantity of gunshot, put into the bottle; then fill one-half full of strong soap-suds; shake thoroughly, then rinse in clear water. Will look like new.
White House Cook Book by Mrs. F.L. Gillette, L.P. Miller & Co. Chicago, copywrite 1887 by F.L. Gillette, pg. 474-477. Reader beware, these household tips are not endorsed by the ENDEAVOR News Magazine or the Annandale Chamber of Commerce, proceed at your own risk. (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)