In the nineteenth century, women were responsible for the care of the home and family. Household guides often provided instruction and guidance for keeping house. The Home and Farm Manual, by Jonathan Periam, published in 1884, offered the following household hints:
Seventeen Facts. – A good housekeeper kindly sends the following maxims and recipes, “all warranted tried and approved:”
1. Simple salt and water cleans and preserves matting more effectually than any other method.
2. Tepid tea cleans grained wood.
3. Oil-cloth should be brightened, after washing with soap and water, with skimmed milk.
4. Salt and water washing preserves bedsteads from being infected by vermin; also, mattresses.
5. Kerosene oil is the best furniture oil; it cleanses, adds a polish, and preserves from the ravages of insects.
6. Green should be the prevailing color for bed hangings and window drapery.
7. Sal-soda will bleach; one spoonful is sufficient for a kettle of clothes.
8. Save your suds for the garden and plants, or to harden yards when sandy.
9. A hot shovel held over varnished furniture will take out spots.
10. A bit of glue dissolved in skimmed milk and water will restore old rusty crape.
11. Ribbons of any kind should be washed in cold suds and not rinsed.
12. If flat-irons are rough, rub them well with salt, and it will make them smooth.
13. If you are buying carpet for durability, you must choose small figures.
14. A bit of soap rubbed on the hinges of doors will prevent them from creaking.
15. Scotch snuff, if put in the holds where crickets run out, will destroy them.
16. To get rid of moths and roaches from closets and bureau drawers, sprinkle powdered borax over and around the shelves, and cover with clean paper.
17. To remove grease-spots apply a stiff paste to the wrong side of the material or garment; hang it up and leave it some time; the grease will have been entirely absorbed by the paste, which can then be rubbed off.