Domestic Efficiency


These, unless they are made of aluminium, can be cleaned free of burnt food by filling up with water to which has been added a quantity of soda. Boil gently for half an hour, and then scrape with a wire scourer. If the surface is still discoloured, make a pad of newspaper and rub well with some garden earth. Then wash well. CARPETS, CARE OF.

Valuable carpets in fugitive colours should not be exposed to a glaring sun. It is as well, if a section of the carpet is subject to being perpetually trodden under foot, to run a strip of matting along the part which is most used. It should be swept, or better still, subjected to the vacuum cleaner each day, but over-energetic use of a stiff carpet brush wears away more than months of ordinary use. Large carpets should be taken up and beaten at least once a year ; this is more efficiently done by one of the large carpet-beating establishments.


Add three-quarters of a pint of ox-gall to a bucket of water, and rub into the carpet with a soft brush, until it rises in a thick lather. Then wash off with fresh cold water. Rub dry with a clean cloth. Oil stains are removed by rubbing with a rat* dipped in petrol. (N.B.

Don’t forget that the latter is highly inflammable.) Black Inkstains usually yield to the following treatment if applied without delay. Pour milk over the spot, then rub almost dry, now make a paste of salt and milk, and rub again. Clean off with a fresh pad moistened with milk.

Candle Grease is removed by putting blotting paper on the spot and using a hot iron. Keep on changing the blotting paper. Oil Paint can be cleaned out of carpet by rubbing with turpentine.


Ornamental china articles are not so highly annealed as those of utilitarian nature, and should only be washed in tepid water. Fuller’s earth is the best cleanser for glass and valuable porcelain, but it should first be thoroughly pulverized. Good china is best kept in a cabinet out of the dust, as it is dangerous to perpetually dust it. When washing china, it is better to leave it to dry on a rack, and then rub over with a clean tea towel. They take on a brighter polish when treated in this manner, than when dried immediately. COLOURS.


When coloured materials are liable to run in the wash, soak in the following : Black—j lb. salt dissolved in a pail of cold water. Blue—A cupful of vinegar in a pail of cold water. Broivn, Grey and Pink—As with black, with the addition of an ounce of alum. Green—An ounce of alum in a pail of cold water. Red—Two tablespoonfuls of oxgall in a pail of water. Hang the material on the line to drv without wringing. CUTLERY HINTS.

Ord inary knife blades can be robbed of their stains by rubbing with a raw potato after washing. Clean ivory handles with a half lemon dipped in salt. When a blade has come away from the handle, fill the cavity with melted resin, heat the tang, and force it into the cavity; but only do this with ivory or bone handles. Rusty blades can be made bright by covering with garden earth and rubbing with a pad made of paper. Never soak knife handles in water. DRV CLEANING.

For removing grease, &c, stains from small surfaces, turpentine or benzine is effective, but for ordinary home dry cleaning, petrol is much more satisfactory. The articles should be well steeped in a bath of the spirit, and afterwards hung up to dry. Aeroplane spirit is also used, and has the added advantage of leaving no offensive odour. All spirituous mediums for cleaning clothes, however, are highly inflammable, and are, therefore, not to be recommended with any confidence. It is, in the long run, an economy to send articles to one of the firms who specialise in this work.


Many housewives have an accumulation of pots and pans which they cannot use because the enamel has flaked off in parts. A good plan is to mix some ordinary cement into a stiff paste and, after dislodging any loose sections of the enamel, to fill the space with it. The surface is then smoothed level. The cement will last many months if the article is not subjected to jerks and blows. Another way is to mix into a paste putty with equal quantities of coal-dust and salt, then to force this on to the bare iron surface, and smooth it over. The article is now filled with water and heated gradually for two or three hours. Do not use for a week while hardening. When a vessel leaks, it is often possible—not always, however—to scratch the iron bright and to solder the hole-. The cement or putty-paste can then be applied as before. If it is found that the solder will not hold, it is sometimes possible to drop a patch of thin sheet tin over the hole, and then lay on the cement. It may be worth mentioning that enamel-ware is much less liable to flake if, before bringing into regular use, the vessel is filled with cold water, slowly brought to the boil, and then left with the heat applied for a quarter of an hour. Lastly, the water is allowed to cool down, and the vessel to become cold.


A little salt in the water will help to keep the blooms fresh. In hot weather change the water twice a day, and do not allow the sun to shine on it. A stone or china vase is better than one made of glass in such weather. Never cut privet and place in vases with flowers as the blooms will die in a very short time.


If the kitchen fire is merely kept alive in readiness for preparing a meal later on, dust and ashes will serve quite well. It is an economy to keep the kettle always standing over the fire when it is low, hence, when it is required, little building up of the fire is necessary. In the North of England, where the whole family are usually out at the mill all day, it is usual to bank up a fairly low fire with damp ‘slack.’ To this, damp tea leaves and other ‘sink’ refuse are added, and the whole pressed well down. On returning in the evening, the fire is to all appearance dead, but on being broken up, if the blower is put to the fireplace for five minutes, it will be found that a brilliant cooking fire results. No more coal is required during the evening. Outside of Lancashire, the value of ‘slack’ coal does not seem to be appreciated. A little water, in which soda has been dissolved, sprinkled on hot coal, enhances its heat-penerating properties. GADGETS, USEFUL.

Bottle, a large quart or litre, makes as perfect a rolling-pin as could be designed; indeed, some of the best chefs in Paris use such a ‘gadget’ in preference to the article made for the purpose.

Cement, a good, for broken china or glass can be made by well beating up the white of an egg with some quicklime and a little old cheese. The latter should first be well pounded.

Cotton Reels, Old.

These can be utilized as door-stoppers. A three-inch screw, having a fairly large head, driven through the hole, is screwed into the appropriate position on the floor or wall. Old cotton reels also serve as makeshift door handles ; treated in the same way as the above, their origin is aptly disguised by a coat of paint, or black or white enamel.

Crepe Soles are apt to be slippery in wet weather. This can be overcome by cutting three or four ridges in the sole and the heal, about an eighth of an inch deep and an inch apart, their direction being from side to side across the shoe. The ridges should finished about half an inch from either edge.

Doyleys, Paper, can be made in any number of patterns by folding sheets of dainty paper several times and cutting designs in the pleated edges with a sharp pair of scissors, in the manner of paper-lace making in the Kindergarten schools.

Garden Chairs.

These can be made out of old barrels. The barrel should be sawn half through the middle, and correspondingly from top to middle—thus leaving the lower end intact, but only half of the upper half remaining to form a neatly curved back. A circular seat is then nailed in place. The barrel may then be attractively painted in some bright colour, and the hoops picked out in black. If such a seat is required for the nursery, it may be neatly padded and covered with cretonne or cheap rep.

Ink, Copying, may be made by dissolving granulated • sugar in ordinary writing ink of good quality, in the proportions of four drachms of sugar to the pint of ink. In default of a copying press, pressing may be satisfactorily done with a slightly heated flat-iron.

Knife Sharpener, A handy, can be made by fastening a piece of fine emery cloth on a board.

The emery should be wrapped over the edges of the wood and nailed thereto.

Linoleum, Old pieces of, can be put to manifold uses. Tacked on to a piece of stout board, with a little powdered bath brick poured on it, an exceedingly efficient knife-cleaner and sharpener is to hand. Knives regularly cleaned on this knife board retain a perpetually keen edge. If not too far worn, old linoleum is quite effective for roofing outside sheds and, given a coat of tar or creosote, proves very serviceable. It can be put to good use by nailing along the wall behind the sink.

Orange boxes (the partitioned type), if set on end and covered with wall-paper, or other dis-guising medium, are admirable as book-shelves.

Petroleum Drum, An old, filled with concrete, makes an effective garden roller. A hole should be bored through the concrete before it is properly set to receive a length of metal tubing, which, bent upwards at either end of the drum, serves the purpose of a handle.

Scissors, Old, when beyond efficient use for the purpose designed, may still do . yeoman service for trimming fish, cutting tin. &c.

Screws, To remove.

Apply a red-hot iron to the head of the screw for a minute, and then use the screw-driver while the screw is still hot.

Tags for Shoe Laces.

If the metal tag of a shoe lace works loose, a substitute may be quickly fashioned from a small dab of scaling wax, moulded to shape whilst still hot.

Tins, Old, can be used for a variety of purposes. Individuality and a pair of strong old scissors will soon devise a host of useful gadgets. The sharp-edged lids of tins are useful _as pastry cutters. and a number of sizes and shapes should be saved for this purposes Those lids which are saucer-shaped, make satisfactory patty-tins, provided the paint and varnish is removed therefrom. }¦>

Trousers Buttons are less apt to come off at embarrassing moments if stitched on with fine wire. Provided the wire is stout enough to pierce the cloth itself, no needle is required.

Trousers Press, A useful, can be constructed of stout board, two pieces of equal size, three feet long, by fourteen inches wide at one end, tapering to eight inches at the other. The trousers should be correctly folded and placed between the two boards; the latter can then be clamped together by means of six clothes pegs.

Alternatively, the boards could be shaped to lit rather tightly into the trouser legs, and when pushed into position, a neat crease is soon obtained.

Vegetable Chopper, A useful, can be made out of an old razor blade. Two pieces of fairly thin wood, each about six inches long, should be trimmed so that the centre of each is roughly the shape of a razor blade, but just a shade narrower. The ends should then be whittled down to form a handle. Holes must now be bored in the wood exactly corresponding with the holes in the razor blade. The wooden frames are then clamped down, one on either side of the blade, and fixed into place by means of small bolts and nuts driven through the holes.


There are many people still who prefer the old-fashioned oil-lamp on account of the subdued tone of the light given. It is also, in many cases, the cheapest means of illumination, and is convenient in that no permanent fittings are required. For this reason the oil-lamp is the countryman’s friend—a never-failing one—provided the oil-can is kept well replenished. Another advantage is that for winter use in a small room the oil-lamp is rather warmer than either gas or electricity. There are now on the market incandescent oil lamps. These are fitted with an incandescent gas mantle, which is illumined by the flame from a circular wick, and give a brilliant light of from 200 to 300 candle power.

Gas is, however, in many ways more convenient than oil, both for heating and for illumination. It is not nearly so dirty and affords a much more powerful light. Nor does it require so much attention. Furthermore, it has an advantage over both oil and electric light, in that it can be turned down to a small glimmer when not required, which, while not using much gas, affords just sufficient light to enable one to find one’s way about. Gas is, nevertheless, somewhat dangerous, on the two counts of poisonousness and danger from explosion.

Electricity is quite the ideal form of luminant from every point of view. In most cases it is tolerably cheap, and can be installed without considerable trouble ; thanks, also, to modern improvement, the ‘juice’ is always handy, at a touch, for light, heat or power. It is also extraordinarily clean, and possibly (although not certainly) presents less dangerous features than the older forms of illumination. For some reason or other, electricity has not made the same strides in England that one notices on the Continent. In France, Germany and Italy, one is struck by the fact that, even in the most inaccessible spots—whether in town or country—every little outhouse, cowhouse and chicken-house is efficiently served with a brilliant electric lighting system. GLASS AND PLATE.

Both glass and plate should be kept scrupulously clean. Cut glass particularly, with its many facets, is a great harbourer of dirt. The latter should be well washed periodically in strong soda water —not hot, but fairly warm. It should then be rinsed out well in clear water, and dried, afterwards being carefully polished with a clean glass-cloth, and put away out of the dust until required again. Plate should be washed in very hot soapy water, rinsed and dried. It should then be well polished with a soft cloth. At least once a week all the plate should be well cleaned and polished either with whitening or with one of the many plate polishes which are on the market. Care should be taken that everything—particularly articles which are to contain food—are polished clear of any plate polish. Plate which is not often used should be wrapped up in old newspaper and put away. GOOD TASTE AND BAD IN THE HOME.

There is one high road to good taste in the home, as elsewhere — appropriateness; a grand piano of concert pattern in a six-roomed cottage would be as out of place as a pint mug on a nobleman’s dinner table. Neatness and a reasonable consistency in furnishing are the keynotes of good taste. Tastes and fashions are so perpetually on the change, as to what may and what may not be considered the ‘thing,’ that it is hard to lay down any rule; however, a few hints may be useful Never overcrowd a room—apart from looking outrageous, a heavily crowded room is difficult to keep clean. In a small house with diminutive rooms, avoid all efforts at ornateness—let simplicity be the rule. Don’t mix styles; if you are furnishing a rooin in Tudor period, never introduce ormolu or Louis Seize ornaments. If you have no knowledge of antique furniture stick to modern types. Don’t make your garden too formal. Don’t give your house a high-sounding name which renders it ridiculous; avoid foreign and pseudo-foreign names. There is really no necessity to name a house at all if it has a number.


These are often particularly obstinate when an attempt is made to remove them. Wrap a clean piece of rag round a finger, moisten it with methylated spirit, and rub the stains lightly. Keep changing the rag when it becomes soiled. Finally, wash with clear water. GREASE STAINS.

To remove grease or oil stains from cloth, or from books or paper, place a piece of brown paper over the stain, and press with a hot (but not too hot) iron. The hot paper should soak up the grease. Repeat the operation several times until the stain has gone. Rubbing with eucalyptus oil will also remove grease stains from cloth. To remove grease from the hearth, cover at once with live coals or hot ashes.


This is not cookery in the strict sense of the word. The hay-box is constructed on the principle of a thermos flask—hay being substituted for the vacuum. The food to be cooked is brought to the boil on an ordinary fire, and then instantly placed in the hay-box and well covered up until required for the table. During that time, the process of cooking continues, for the simple reason that the hay is a non-conductor of heat—hence, the heat is retained in the pan or casserole, and the food continues to boil. HOUSE PESTS.


Drop some quicklime on the mouth of their nest, and wash it in with boiling water. Camphor, or a sponge saturated with creosote will prevent their infesting a cupboard. Sprigs of wintergreen or ground ivy will drive away red ants; wormwood will serve the same purpose with black ants.

Cockroaches. —

Black beetles may be destroyed by the use of insect powders, by traps or by fumigation.

Furniture Beetles.

The grubs which destroy woodwork by riddling it with holes are the larvae of beetles, but the worm-holes which show at the surface of worm-eaten furniture are made by the beetles themselves in making their exit from the wood. The common furniture beetle emerges from the wood generally in the month of June. The females deposit their eggs in slits or cracks in the wood or in old worm-holes. The larvas hatch out in 3 or 4 weeks and at once begin to burrow in the wood. They are white in colour. The death-watch beetle comes out in April and May. It is larger than the common beetle, being about a quarter of an inch in length. The powder-post beetle is longer and narrower. It attacks hard wood like oak, ash or hickory. Paraffin or turpentine applied to the joints and all unpolished parts of furniture should protect it from egg-laying.

The House Fly, apart from being a source of annoyance, is a danger to health, being a carrier of disease, and it is the duty of everyone to assist in its destruction. In stable or farm-yard, the manure may be treated with powdered borax dissolved in water (half a pound to three gallons). Apply with a watering can or a sprayer. To prevent breeding in household refuse, the receptacles should be fly-proof. They should be treated with borax as above. Measures against adult flies may be taken with traps, tanglefoot, poisons, spraying fluids, petrol fumes and fly-killers. INK STAINS.

Try to remove with milk or salt and lemon before using acids. If ink is dropped on to a table-cloth, a white handkerchief, a light dress or a carpet of delicate shade, take p. juicy tomato, and rub the part affected. Leave the wet pulp on the stain for a day, then lightly scrape off the fleshy matter, and wash with a clean rag and warm water. If the fabric can be stretched over a frame during the process, so much the better. Remember that it is the juice of the tomato and not the flesh and seeds which have the cleansing property ; therefore, select a fully ripe tomato.

For stains on wood, put a few drops of spirits of nitre in a teaspoonful of water; touch the spot with a feather dipped in the mixture, and, as soon as the ink disappears, rub it over with a rag wetted in cold water or it will leave a white mark.

For stains on carpets, cover thickly with salt, and remove with a spoon, applying fresh salt until no more ink is absorbed ; then rub the spot with a cut lemon and rinse with clean water.

For stains on a coloured material dissolve a teaspoonful of oxalic acid in a teacup of hot water; rub the stained part well with a rag dipped in the solution. A simple but effectual method is to squeeze some lemon juice on to the stains, which will disappear when the article is washed.

If, when ink has been spilt on boards, cold water is immediately poured over the ink to dilute it, and wiped up at once, no stain will result.


This may usually be taken out of washable materials by rubbing with a fresh cut lemon dipped in salt, then plunging the part being treated into boiling water, lifting it promptly out, and pouring on a spoonful of weak household am monia. All the materials should be collected together before com mencing, and the work should proceed without hesitating.


In the leisurely days of our grandparents, ‘elbow grease’ was the only necessity in housework, but to-day the stress of life makes the labour- saving device not a luxury but an absolute necessity. The vacuum cleaner does its work quite as efficiently and in a tenth the time taken by the hardworked maids of our ancestors; the washing machine, the gas cooker and electric iron are now as vital to the amen ities of life as the motor car. In the steam laundries, carpet beat ing establishments, dry cleaners, •&c, the housekeeper enjoys con veniences unheard of by their grandparents, whilst the latest essays in stainless steel, enamel and aluminium ware, and washable distempers, halve the womens’ work and attain an attractiveness undreamed of a centurv ago.


Clothes when steeped in blue water are often coloured in patches. Put a spoonful of salt in the water, and the blue will be distributed evenly.

Put a spoonful of powdered alum in the bowl of starch; this will prevent the iron sticking and give a more glossy finish.

Garments provided with buttons should be ironed on a Turkish towel, folded many times. The iron will depress the buttons into the soft towel and not smash them.

If half an ounce of methylated spirit be added to the last rinsing water, a tablecloth need not be starched. If anything, it will look more glossy than usual.

If blankets are hard and felted after washing, shake them vigorously, then hang on a line and beat them gently with a clean carpet-beater. The fluffy fee! will return and the appearance will be as new.


This is a microscopic fungus which attacks various articles when kept in cupboards and, similar places of storage. Mildew-infected articles should be washed and exposed to the sun and fresh air.



An employer cannot legally make a servant pay for breakages, unless he has specifically stated this intention at the time of engaging the employee.


A servant cannot demand a character from an employer ; it is a voluntary act.


If a servant falls ill or should be injured during his service, the employer cannot turn him (or her) away, but remains legallv responsible for wages due.


Generally speaking, cheapness is not an economy, because it so often presupposes inferiority. It is, nevertheless, a great economy to shop in a market, in preference to a small dealer. Persons living in London cannot possibly better their bargains than by purchasing vegetables in Covent Garden, and meat in Smithfield Market. In various parts of the country, trade fairs are held (as the August Pot Fair in Preston), when extraordinary bargains in the particular commodities can be obtained. For the ordinary shopper with limited means, however, it is safest to deal only with well-established tradesmen with a good reputation, and by trusting to their sense of equity, on the whole, better value will be obtained than by haggling; a man with any conscience will do more when put on his honour than any amount of arguing will achieve. SILVER, CLEANING.— Select a large china pie-dish and fill it with hot water containing three or four spoonsful each of salt and bicarbonate of soda. Keep this always handy, so that it can be used whenever required without remaking. When desirous of ridding spoons, forks, or, indeed, any articles of silver of tarnish, place in the pie-dish as large a piece of sheet zinc as will lie on the bottom, and then immerse the silver articles. After two or three minutes they will be quite bright and need nothing more than rinsing and wiping. When not in use, remove the zinc from the dish. SPOONS AND FORKS.— See

Silver Cleaning. SPRING CLEANING. —

The reason why spring has been chosen as the date for the annual house-cleaning, is because the time when fires are being discontinued and fogs cease to trouble, is regarded as the most appropriate time for thoroughly cleansing and sweetening the home. If the constant periodical cleaning is efficiently carried out, spring cleaning should not present any overwhelming difficulties, but it should be understood that, for the ritual to be at all effective, it must be thorough—the whole house must be turned out from attic to cellar. Treasured possessions which are retained for sentimental reasons, but never used, should bq sorted out, cleaned and repacked; whatever can be disposed of should be ruthlessly destroyed, and if any repairs to the premises are necessary, now is the time to put them in hand. Carpets must be taken up and cleaned, pictures taken down and cleaned, walls dusted, chimneys swept—in short, every nook and corner must be effectually overhauled.

It is better to start at the top of the house and work downwards, in order that treading about, etc. may not disturb what has already been cleaned. If, however, it is imperative that lower rooms be cleaned first for any reason, after the operation, such rooms should be locked up until the rest of the cleaning is completed.

If the weather is fair, it is an excellent plan to turn all the furniture out into the open air, during the process of the cleaning.


Put a few drops of glycerine on the spot, leave for a little while, and then rinse with cold water. The glycerine acts more energetically if it is warmed, and before use the bottle may be placed in hot water for a short time. One great advantage about the use of glycerine is that it will never harm even the most delicate fabrics.


Unused starch can be kept for use another day. Place on one side until the starch has settled, then pour off the surplus water. Place the basin in the oven for a few minutes and the starch will dry into a lump.


Steel will polish quickly and brilliantly if rubbed over with a little vinegar. When cleaning steel fenders, should there be an accumulation of rust, rub away with fine emery, and keep bright with the juice of an onion mixed with about four times as much brown vinegar. This mixture should be dabbed on the fender and left for about ten minutes, then it must be well rubbed over, and afterwards polished with a rag. STOPPERS, TO LOOSEN.

Rub a drop of salad oil round the stopper, close to the mouth of the bottle or decanter, which must then be placed before the fire at a distance of about eighteen inches; when it has grown warm, gently strike the stopper, first on one side, then on the other. SUNLIGHT IN THE HOME — Direct sunlight is very injurious to all forms of bacterial life ; that is why sunlight and fresh air are so essential in a sick-room. It is a great mistake to let down your blinds on a sunny day—it may save the colour of your carpet, but it makes for unhealthy rooms. WASHING UP.

The task of washing dirty crockery is perhaps the most unpopular in the home, but it can be made quite a pleasant occupation if done properly. First and foremost—it is quite impossible to wash up efficiently without plenty of hot water. After adding a little soda, a good lather should be made with soap, and the less greasy articles should be first disposed of. Glasses and knives, together with all the spoons and forks, are best cleared off first. The crockery should be placed on a draining board after washing, and left for a while, after which they can be polished with a dry cloth. If all saucepans, etc., are washed before the actual operation ox washing-up starts, more room is left in the sink to work.


It is often a difficult matter to clean window-panes without leaving smears. To avoid this, do not use water, but moisten a clean piece of rag with paraffin, and go carefully over the whole of the surface, then rub dry with a duster. If the work is done when the sun is shining—not too fiercely, however—through the window, it will be easy to see just where the rubbing has been sufficient. The traces of paraffin will prove unpleasant to flics, moths, etc. description is quite within her range. As regards women’s outer garments, unless they are what is known as ‘tailor-made,’ meticulous perfection in cut is not so vital as in men’s wear, and therefore may reasonably be attempted in the home. Patterns and books of instructions are published by numerous firms, and such works should be consulted HYGIENIC CLOTHING.

Hygienic clothing must be such as will give a maximum of comfort and warmth, whilst fitting loosely and lightly, allowing of superfluous exhalations from the skin and giving entire freedom of movement. Except in very warm weather, it is well, for those who perspire profusely particularly, to wear wool, no matter how light, next the skin. This absorbs the sweat as linen will not, and precludes the fear of chills. It is a great mistake to pamper the body; it is impossible to be healthy if one is swathed and padded like a mummy—air is as necessary to the skin as to the lungs.

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