As much as I love a cleaning gadget or a fancy pink bottle I do also love to go back to basics. I can spend hours talking to my Nan’s about how they cleaned when they were young and what products they used and had access to. When Jake was a baby I used to help a few older ladies out with their cleaning, I loved these days as they taught me so much and it is where many of the tips on my pages has come from. There is so much choice these days on both cleaning products and gadgets. There is literally a product for everything but are all these products necessary?
I know this will probably sound absolutely mad but my dream is go back in time and spend a day being a 1950’s house wife or even better still being a house keeper at a huge county manor a bit like Downton Abby. I did get some brief experience of this when I did Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. You can watch my episode set at Prehn House HERE
I love to visit National Trust homes and get a feeling on how it used to be. Life has changed so much and we do have gadgets for almost everything but when it comes to household cleaning, is using harsh chemicals and cleaning products better than going for those good old-fashioned cleaning remedies of yesterday. For one they are kinder to our skin, much better for the environment and much cheaper too.
But would I still be as into cleaning as much I am today if cleaning was much harder work? Lifting heavy buckets of water, scrubbing floors with little brushes. Cleaning the house was a daily task that took hours and was mostly done by hand and involved a lot of physical labour.
The Victorians used to beat their rugs with carpets rods and then hang them outside for days to bring them back to life. Apparently this was more effective in the really cold weather as the cold air also killed the germs. Just imagine how hard this would have been. All we do these days is very quickly run our hoovers over them.
Carpet and rug stains used to be treated with neat lemon juice and they used to soak up oil marks using warm bread.
The air was refreshed using a pan of boiling water on the stove and using cinnamon.
Ovens were cleaned using water and bicarbonate of soda and left over night. I actually still use this trick. Check out my oven cleaning tips
Linseed oil, lemon juice and vinegar mixed together was used to polish furniture
Gone of bread was used to clean wall paper. A downwards motion would pull of any dust and stick to the bread.
Heavy irons were heated up on fires, this was a slow process.
Silverware was cleaned by lining a pot using aluminium foil, filling with warm water and adding salt and bicarbonate of soda. These days we have the luxury of the dishwasher or fancy washing up liquids.
Wow doesn’t this all sound like hard-work, mixing all the potions together to get started would have took more than enough time. But when I look back in time it makes me appreciate how easy looking after our homes is today.
Both of my Nan’s are in their early 80’s now and when they first got married neither of them had a hoover but they both had sweepers which where quite heavy and bulky. Sweepers were used to draw fine dust and dirt from the floor through the machine by means of a draft of air and needed emptying after every use. Neither of them got hoovers until later on and still to this day don’t use them daily. The dust pan and brush is still a firm favourite for both of them. I suppose in the future new gadgets will come along and we will still use what know is best and works well for us.
My Nan’s both loved to use Methylated spirits which are made from mostly natural products. They were used to clean glass, toys, stains and was great at removing marks that stickers can leave behind.( I often use nail polish remover for the sticker trick) I had never even heard of this until they both told me about it.
I really do enjoy going back to basics and coming up with my own cleaning remedies.
Old fashioned cleaning methods can still be the best. If you have any fabulous old fashioned cleaning methods then I would love to hear about them.
So next time when your whizzing around with the hoover and think its too much like hard work spare a thought for your ancestors who didn’t have this luxury.
Lynsey Queen of Clean xoxox