Turn of the Twentieth Century: Housekeeping

Home interior Salida, Colorado ca 1900

This 1900-era home interior offers lots of descriptive opportunity for the writer setting a scene in these rooms.
          If the woman of the house is a character in the story, her lifestyle might be illustrated with a few examples of her household chores. Below are a few household tips from The New Little Giant Cyclopedia of Ready Reference published during this time period. (See previous post for more examples.)

To toughen lamp chimneys and glassware. Immerse the article in a pot filled with cold water, to which some common salt has been added. Boil the water well, then cool slowly. Glass treated in this way will resist any sudden change in temperature.

Iron stains may be removed by the salt of lemons. Many stains may be removed by dipping the linen in sour buttermilk, and then drying it in a hot sun; wash in cold water, repeat this three or four times.

To remove tea stains, mix thoroughly soft soap and salt — say a teaspoonful of salt to a teacupful of soap – rub on the spots, and spread the cloth on the grass where the sun will shine on it. Let it lie two or three days, then wash. If the spots are wet occasionally while lying on the grass, it will hasten the bleaching.

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library, Western History Collection


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