“Spit and polish, old-fashioned ways to banish dirt, dust and decay” is a very intriguing new book by author Lucy Lethbridge, which describes the Victorian age secret house cleaning tips and household maintenance ideas, which can actually come in handy today.
One of the great tips, which as it turns out is actually quite efficient, is using a silk handkerchief dipped in some gin in order to clean and polish a mirror to perfection. True, these days not many people have silver handkerchiefs nor are willing to use the gin for washing instead of enjoying a chilled gin and tonic, but apparently this is what the housemaids used to use back in the Victorian ages.
Using rhubarb for cleaning unsightly stains on your enamel bathtub is another intriguing cleaning method from these times described in the book. The cleaning process includes adding a stem of rhubarb in a boiling kettle full of water and pouring it in the stained enamel bathtub. Then letting it sit for a couple of hours, and supposedly the stains will be gone. Although rhubarb stems contain oxalic acid, which is used in a number of different cleaning products, I am a bit suspicious about the efficiency of this cleaning method from centuries ago.
One brilliant tip from this great book is to remove unpleasant odour from flasks and thermoses by putting the crushed shells of a couple of boiled eggs and topping them with vinegar. Shake vigorously and then leave them like that for a few hours and rinse them out. This I actually tested, and must admit that the effect was amazing – all of the nasty odours from the flask I used was gone, plus it did end up shiny and clean.
The book describes an interesting Victorian carpet cleaning method, involving sprinkling the dirty rug with dry used tealeaves and leaving them there overnight. On the morning, brush (nowadays vacuum) them off, as they will have absorbed much of the residue and would be covered with dirt and dust.
A clever tip which I found in this book is making small, sticky bread balls which you can use to get all the dirt and dust accumulated in hard to reach places, such as around the furniture legs and right along any bit of furniture.
Another cleaning tip which some people still use apparently was used back in those times as well. It involves the use of crumpled newspapers and a water and vinegar solution to wash and polish windows to absolute perfection. This is a great method – and yes, it does work like a charm! Read more useful information presented by our cleaning partners in Acton.
Last but not least, a tip which I also tried and which looks like a great idea for successful removal of greasy stains from the carpet. It involves the use of a couple of grated potatoes strained and soaked into a pint of water for an hour and then applied to the greasy spot with a clean cloth and left to dry completely. After the grated potato paste has dried, remove it gently with a damp cloth. Repeat if necessary. It can take some time, but it is actually a great all-natural stain removing solution.