Labour-Saving Equipment

Time is important to the housewife and labour-saving equipment can mean much less and much easier cleaning. Here are some suggestions for really useful equipment for the home:

Vacuum and carpet cleaners

There are three basic types of vacuum cleaner:

1 A light-weight or junior upright model, which is reasonably priced and is useful if you want to carry it upstairs. There are attachments for upholstery cleaning and stairs.

2 A heavier, more sophisticated upright model, useful if the whole house or flat is carpeted. It is less manoeuvrable, but efficient. It too has attachments.

3 A cylinder model has the best suction (but no brushing action), is easily stored and useful for small areas and stairs. It can be a nuisance to cart about from room to room.

You can hire very efficient carpet cleaner/shampooers for a reasonable hire fee — usually for 24 hours. You can also buy the cleaning solution on a use-or-re turn basis, and 24 hours is usually enough time to clean all the carpets in the house, if you really get down to it. This is particularly useful for an annual spring clean.

Dishwashers These are a luxury. Few people really need one, except perhaps those with a very large family of small children and those who have to entertain frequently. Indeed, many British kitchens are not large enough to take one; most must be plumbed in and take up quite a lot of space.

However, let us dispel some myths about them, if you really are considering one.

They are quicker than doing the dishes by hand. You could only stack them in the time it takes to load and unload your machine. They do cope with pans and baking trays, and they certainly get most if not all the food off.

They are more hygienic than doing the operation by hand because the water used is so much hotter than your hands could bear. They dispense with the need for teacloths, too.

They will wash almost anything, but care should be taken with cutlery that has handles attached with animal glue, some types of glassware and some plastics — if in doubt, do these by hand.

Dishwashers, however, can be expensive to buy. Add to that plumbing and running costs and they can be an expensive luxury. If your circumstances are such that you feel that having more time is more essential than wasting endless hours washing up, you might consider one. But take a careful look at the whole range before deciding. Size and noise are two priorities; some machines only take four place-settings, others are noisy.


There are a great variety of these on sale in every super-market and the choice is bewildering. It is helpful to have some idea of the different categories of cleaners available in order to make a sensible choice to suit your requirements. By doing this you treat all things in your home in the way that is best.

The following table gives a quick guide to the different cleaning problems around the house, the various products available and their suggested uses

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