Australian enquiry book of household and general information/The Household

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MANY a young housekeeper has felt at her wit’s end when left without a servant. The young wife, perhaps, looks ruefully at the clothes to be washed, and wonders “how on earth” Mary Ann ever got through them, and how she is going to.

Well, first sort out the fine from the coarse clothes, put handkerchiefs, collars, frilled pillow cases, table linen, muslin wrappers, and aprons together in one heap, then under linen, shirts, sheets, plain pillow cases, &c.; in another, towels, singlets, &c. Now, if you have enough tubs, soak these in separate tubs; if not, you must put the two first lots together and the last two.

To prepare your water—boil it with soap and soda. Say you put on a large boilerful, and when it is boiling put one bucket to two of cold into your tubs and soak the things in that. Shred your soap very fine before putting it into the boiler, and do not put too much soda or your clothes will be yellow. About two tablespoonsful to a large boiler is enough. Soak the clothes in overnight rubbing a little extra soap on any stains. Many young housewives rub their own knuckles instead of the clothes and use about three times too much soap, half a bar of soap is enough to use for a very big wash, say, 12 dozen white things, and the best way to manage it is to cut the half bar into three pieces, two large and the other small, use your own judgment at first and after the first wash experience will teach you. The smaller piece can be again cut in two and the one half will be enough to shred for the soaking in, and the other half is to be shred for the boiler you mean to boil the clothes in. Having soaked your clothes you start your washing as early as you can next morning. If you are quick you will get a boilerful on before breakfast so they can be boiling while you are at the meal and will be ready to come out when you have washed up and put your kitchen tidy. A washing board is a great help to a woman who has her own work to do, but like everything else she must learn how to use it properly or she will scrub the skin off her hands. The most approved way is to first lay the article or rather it will describe the position more clearly if I say draw it up from the tub on to the board, don’t squeeze the water out, soap it as it is (quite wet) turn it down, that is, soaped side towards the board and begin to rub, or scrub better describes the action, on or against the board. If it is a long article rub away, up and down, gradually rolling up or turning over the part you have done till you have come to the end of it and have turned it completely over, then rub that side in the same way, but unless your clothes are very dirty they will not need such very particular treatment. A few good energetic rubs on the board and they should do. As each article is washed wring it out, and if table linen just rub a little soap on any gravy or grease stains and put into the boiler which should be on the fire half filled with cold water, the soap shredded and one tablespoonful of washing soda in it. As you wash each piece shake it out and put into the boiler, the water in which may be warm at the time, but must not be boiling. To avoid this, when you have filled the boiler add more cold water and then let it come to the boil, and boil as fast as it likes for half an hour or more, never less. While that boilerful is on, go on washing, so that you may have enough to fill again directly those are out. Here will be the best place for me to say something about washing powders and fluids of which there are so many on the market. I think I have tried all or most of them and I do not believe any one of them has saved me half an hour’s labour or made my clothes any whiter than I could get them with the ordinary soap and soda. Some of them ruin the clothes, others turn them yellow after a few washings. When washing very greasy or dirty things a tablespoonful of kerosene added to the boiler is a great help, but unless put in just at the right moment, which is when boiling, it is useless. When your clothes have boiled the half hour and been properly poked under with the “pot stick” so that everything has been boiled, they are ready to come out. Place a tub close to the boiler, I am persuming that you have no proper copper but merely the large oval boiler placed on a few bricks out in the back yard. Put a couple of clean boards across the tub, a basket in it or anything so that you can drain the clothes. Leave them to drain while you are preparing the blue water, which is done as follows:—Fill or half fill (it is best to make fresh blue water now and then, so if you are or are likely to be short of water be economical with it) a tub with clean cold water. One thumb or fig of blue should last two washings, wrap it first in a little piece of muslin, then in a square of flannel, and lastly put it into a bag. The toe of an old sock makes an excellent blue-bag. These wrappings ensure your blue water being clear and not in streaks on the clothes afterwards. If the blue is very hard put it into the boiler for a few minutes till it softens, and then make the blue water by soaking and squeezing it in the water till it is blue enough, or as you like it. Now pour back into the boiler the water that has drained from the clothes, let them down into the tub, cover with clear cold water and rinse well up and down to get all the soapy water out, then wring out each piece, shake it, turn it, and plunge into the blue water, rinse about in it and wring out again, shake, and throw into your basket to be hung out on the line to dry. You can if you like rinse a lot of things and throw into the blue water together to be wrung out when the tub is full. But I could not advise a novice at the work to do this, as she is apt to get her clothes streaky. That is the whole process of washing. In hanging on the line there are a few rules to remember; first, all garments that are round such as night gowns, petticoats, shirts, &c., hang to catch the wind by two pegs at the hem or bottom. Jackets, coats, bodies of dresses and such like are hung by the neck band and turned on the wrong side, indeed everything is blued on the wrong side, being turned when rinsing. Trousers are hung by the band, but tweed things require special treatment in washing. Table napkins, handkerchiefs, and other small pieces can be hung by the corner several tegether.

Half a bar of soap, one thumb of blue and half a pound of washing soda is enough for a very large family wash.

To Clean A Copper—Scour with sand and muriatic acid and rinse with water; or use kerosene oil and sand.

Kerosene.—Its Uses.—Kerosene oil is one of the most useful oils we have, and not only as an oil is it valuable but there are quite a hundred uses to which it can be put one way and another. Of late it has come into almost general use. In the laundry every laundress now-a-days tells you she must have a drop of kerosene in her boiler, and no mistress will grudge it provided she knows it will improve the colour of her clothes. But like soda, washing powders, and many other so-called aids in the laundry, it is more often abused than properly used. And unless it is used in the proper way it utterly spoils the appearance of the clothes, rendering them yellow and impregnated with the smell of the oil. The correct and only way to use kerosene for washing is as follows:—Shred the soap into the boiler (using no soda) and let it come to a boil then, and not till then, stir in two tablespoonsful of kerosene. If a large copper three tablespoonsful may be used, stir well and then put in your clothes. If the oil is put in before the water boils it never mixes properly, makes the soap curdle, the clothes yellow, and the smell cannot be rinsed out, but will cling to the clothes no matter how long they are left in the air, for this reason the mistress should see the kerosene put into the boiler herself. Too much put into the boiler will make the clothes yellow and harder to wash next time. It is an excellent thing for kitchen towels, acting like magic on the most greasy and dirty. Many people have expressed surprise that kerosene should be used in washing, and that it should possess such wonderful cleansing properties. As a matter of fact it is not to be wondered at for this reason, the “American Washing Fluid,” or “Magic Washing Fluid,” I forget which it is called, a bluish fluid much used by some laundresses and laundries is made from the refuse after the kerosene has been extracted from the shale, it may undergo some slight preparation to disguise the smell but little more, so that kerosene is only a stronger agent than the blue washing fluid, but all depends on how it is used. This is only one use to which kerosene is put. Floors, kitchen tables, &c., &c., scrubbed with the washing suds in which it has been put, become beautifully white, clean and free from all stains. In cleaning pot lids, the insides of boilers, coppers, &c., it is invaluable.

It is also used for healing cuts, wounds and burns; and vermin in the fowl house are said to fly from it.

Soap Jelly.—Shred up some good soap in a basin. A small piece will make enough to do two or three dressing gowns. Pour over it some boiling water (about a cupful will be sufficient) let it stand by and when cold it will be in a stiff jelly. Put this into your tub and gradually add the hot water first and cool down to the right heat.

Household Soap—No. 1.—Slack six pounds of fresh quicklime in a tub, using just enough water to make it crumble perfectly. Dissolve six pounds of washing soda in four gallons of warm water. Add the slacked lime and the soda solution together and stir well, adding four gallons of boiling water and keep on stirring till mixed, then let it settle. Pour off the clear lye and you have home-made caustic soda. Put this lye into a clean kerosene tin over a gentle fire and add to it 12 pounds of clarified grease, stirring continually, then dust in, a little at a time, four ounces of powdered borax. Let the whole boil gently for 10 or 15 minutes, until it becomes thick and ropy. Have ready a box lined with a piece of calico large enough to hang well over the sides to allow of the soap being lifted out when cold. Pour the mixture into the box and let it stand for three or four days to harden. When quite firm turn it out on a table and cut into bars with a thin wire. Let the bars stand in a dry place for a while and it will be fit for use in a month.

Soap No. 2.—Buy a half pound tin of 98 per cent caustic soda and empty it into a basin containing one quart of cold water. Stir it, and it will at once become hot. Then let it stand till cold. This is the “lye.” Now in a large basin melt three pounds of fat, any kind will do, but it must be quite free from salt. Let it stand till just warm and then pour the lye into the melted fat, stirring it the while till it becomes like honey. Then pour the mixture into a box lined with a damp piece of calico to prevent it sticking. Now cover with a bag and set in one corner of the kitchen till next day when you will have about six pounds of good soap. Be sure there is no salt in the fat.

Soap No. 3.—Melt down six pounds of fat and pour it into cold water, this will clarify it. Boil together six pounds of washing soda and three pounds of quick lime in three gallons of water for two hours and then pour off from the sediment, and boil it for one hour and a half with the six pounds of fat. Pour into a wooden box, leave till hard and then turn out and cut into bars. You can make any quantity but you must keep to the above proportions.

Soap No. 4.—Take three pounds of washing soda, three pounds slacked lime and 12 quarts of water. Let these boil together half an hour. Then let it settle, strain from the sediment and add to the lye three pounds of clarified fat and four ounces of resin, let it boil very slowly for nearly three hours. Pour into a box and when hard turn out and cut into bars.

I have given several good recipes for making soap because I hold the opinion that in the bush every one should make their own soap. The cost is small and by so doing you will have a use for some of the surplus fat which, as a rule, goes to waste. Candles should also be made. For years I made every bit of soap we used and it really is no more trouble than many other things one is forced to do. To begin with you must have a fat tin, and for this purpose a kerosene tin answers very well. Throw into this all the scraps of fat, or better still if you can spare the time render them down first and then pour into the tin. Mutton fat is really the best, but any sort will make good soap, the only difference being that it is slightly harder when mutton fat is used. When you have enough melt it all down and pour into cold water to clarify it, and when cold lift off the cake of fat and store in another till wanted.

To Make Lye.—Put half a pound of unslacked lime into two gallons of of water, add to that six pounds of washing soda and boil gently for an hour or so. When cold pour off the liquor or lye.

Another Lye.—Ten quarts of water, six pounds of quick lime (shell lime if possible) and six pounds of washing soda. Boil for one hour, let it stand and draw off from the sediment.

Another—Take three pounds of soda, three pounds of slacked lime, and 12 quarts of water. Boil 20 minutes then let it settle and strain.

Many people have said to me, “But we never have any fat.” In every kitchen there must be a certain amount of fat. Unfortunately it is too often thrown out to save the trouble of clarifying. If you have soup there is always some fat to be taken off it. The scraps when trimming a joint all can be rendered down and turned to account. I had only a very small household when I made my own soap and candles, and would advise all young housekeepers who have to economise to try it.

To Wash Boys’ Tweed Clothes.—Cut or shred some common soap and boil it in as much water as necessary to wash the clothes. Let it boil and remove from the fire, now add to it two tablespoonsful of strong ammonia and three of spirits of turpentine, cool the water down by adding about one dipper of cold water to it. Place the suit to be washed in a tub and pour the prepared suds over it, let them lie in it till nearly cold then wash quickly, rinse in two clear waters and hangout to dry without wringing.

To Wash Coloured Fabrics—Make a lather of soap and hot water and according to the colour of the fabric use the following chemicals:—for blue and purple, sugar of lead; black and green, alum. Threepence worth of sugar of lead will do twice, and about a tablespoonful of alum is the quantity required. Mix it in with the water and when about milk warm wash the garments as speedily as possible. Rinse in warm water in which a spoonful of alum has been dissolved, and stiffen with bran water instead of starch. To prepare the latter tie about a pint of bran in a muslin bag and pour boiling water over it, let it stand till lukewarm and then use in place of starch. Borax is often used in washing coloured materials but all require to be rinsed in alum and water afterwards. With some materials in which a number of bright colours appear, it is an excellent plan to soak for 10 or 15 minutes, before washing, in strong alum and water, the alum fixes the colours and prevents them from running into each other. All coloured fabrics should be dried in the shade and as quickly as possible.

To Wash Blues and Greens.—Never soak any coloured things likely to run. Wash as quickly as possible, have some alum water handy and rinse in it. If the green runs or blurs rinse again in saltpetre and water, about one ounce to a good sized pail full of water.

To Wash Coloured Flannels.—Dressing gowns, &c., &c., of coloured flannel should be washed as quickly as possible in two lathers of warm water and soap jelly. Do not rub soap on the flannel on any account. Rinse in warm water in which put a handful of salt or two tablespoonsful of vinegar. Pass through a wringer if possible or failing that wring as dry as you can by hand, and then wring again in a thick towel and dry in the shade as quickly as possible and press with a very hot iron over a damp cloth.

How to Wash Blankets. No. 1.—Put one pint of household ammonia into sufficient warm water to cover the blanket. Have the blanket well shaken and beaten to remove all dust. Then place it in a tub and pour the warm water and ammonia over it, working it about with the hands till every part is covered and wet, flop it about or better still tramp it for some minutes. Rinse in the same way in warm water, and wring carefully and hang out in the wind to dry, the quicker it dries the better. Another blanket must not be put into the same water or it will receive all the dirt of the first.

To Wash Blankets No. 2.—Mix two tablespoonsful of ammonia to one of turpentine in a bottle. Then prepare a lather by shredding some soap into boiling water in a large tub, or it can be mixed in the boiler and transferred to the tub. Pour in the ammonia and turpentine directly it is off the boil, stirring well. Let it stand a few minutes and then soak in your blankets and leave them till the water is about milk warm, then rince twice in clear warm water and dry as soon as possible. Tweed suits can be washed in exactly the same manner, and if properly done will look as clean and as well as if new. Homespun, dresses, cashmeres, &c., can also be done in this way.

To Wash Black Lace.—Dissolve a piece of ammonia the size of a walnut in about a teacupful of water and sponge the lace with it. Do not make it too damp, spread it out carefully between two sheets of thin paper and iron in this way.


About Starching Shirts.—Shirts and collars must be quite dry before starching, and cold water starch is the best to use. For strong starch allow four ounces or about three tablespoonsful of starch to one quart of water. To make it properly, pour a little water on and let it dissolve into a paste, then add the rest by degrees stirring continually. Dissolve half a teaspoonful of borax in a little water, and add it to prevent the iron sticking. Another way to mix cold water starch is to boil the required quantity of water with a few shreds of common soap, let it stand till quite cold and then make the starch. This is an excellent way as I have tried it constantly, and never found the irons stick; but all these devices, and, as I once heard a laundress call them, fiddy-faddy ways are only required by the amateur laundress, an experienced hand either has her own dodges, which are often trade secrets, or uses nothing at all but her hot iron and elbow grease. For boiled starch a little sperm from the candlestick is generally used to prevent the iron sticking, or a teaspoonful of the universal home requisite, kerosene—best of all I think is a teaspoonful of salt. But, as in everything else, each person has their own way of working ship, and as the old sailor said “Lay aft there and haul the jib down.”

To Make Collars and Cuffs Stiff and Glossy.—Professional laundresses use powdered gum arabic in their starch but almost the same effect may be obtained by starching twice, first in boiled then in raw starch. A great deal depends on the heat of the irons, also on practice. An inexperienced hand is sure to spoil her work a few times before she becomes clever at it. I have given several recipes for raw-starching, but in case more minute particulars are looked for here, I give the manner of mixing the starch adopted by myself for many years and with unfailing success. For every two shirts allow one teaspoonful of starch, but if you have only two shirts to do you must allow more or your starch will be too thinned by the quantity of water you have to use. Having put the starch into a basin, pour in as much water as you think will be sufficient (for four or six spoonfuls of starch not less than a pint of water) and let it stand for an hour to soak. Then stir and mix well with the hand and add one good tablespoonful of thick soap jelly and about half a teaspoonful of borax (powdered). If you use powdered gum you must pour hot water on it an hour or so before adding it to the starch, and you will not require the borax. Having thus prepared your starch do your shirts in the manner I have directed elsewhere in this volume, and let them lie rolled up for at least one hour before ironing. Iron with clean hot irons, one will remain hot enough for just one shirt. Unless particularly quick you cannot do a second with one iron.

Starch for Shirts—To every ounce of starch add a teaspoonful of powdered borax. Blend in sufficient water and strain through muslin. Let the irons be perfectly clean, smooth and hot, and use with a firm, steady hand. To clean the irons, kerosene and salt is very good, and to prevent sticking rub the iron with a cloth slightly bees’ waxed.

How to Starch a Shirt.—I have given several recipes for making starch for shirts, and it has just now occurred to me that there may be many young housewives who would be glad to know how to set about the starching of a white shirt. So I will for their benefit give the details. First be quite sure that the shirt you are about to starch is quite clean, then gather up the front in your hand so that the body of it does not become wet. Dip the front into your basin of starch, squeeze dry and open out to see that the whole of the front is wet with starch. Place the cuffs together, dip them into the basin and wring out, place the cuffs on the front, roll up tightly and lay by till required for ironing. It is best to starch your shirts at least four or five hours before ironing. To iron them be sure your irons are clean and hot, if they are not your shirt will be smudged. Do the cuffs first, on the right and wrong side too, bearing upon the irons well, and going over the cuff back and forth till a good gloss appears. To do the fronts, it is best to have a board just the size of the shirt front; a piece of pine or anything will do. Cover it first with a flannel, then with a white cloth, and when about to iron the front slip it under it, smooth out all creases and go over it carefully with a very hot iron. The old saying re “practice makes perfect,” applies to shirt ironing, the more one does the better they become by degrees. Elbow grease has a lot to do with glossing a shirt front, it does not all depend upon the starching. Collars are done in the same way, and lace and muslin ties are often done with raw starch.


Staining Floors.—Be sure to have the floor thoroughly clean. Then go over with the hand to find any inequalities, which must be planed carefully and fill up any holes with plaster of Paris or putty. Put the stain on with the grain of the wood. Let it dry thoroughly before sizing. Size twice. A quarter of a pound of bought size should do a large room. If bought size is used be sure it is properly melted before using. Melt a quarter of a pound in one quart of water and apply warm with a brush. Allow two days between sizing and polishing with the bees’ wax and turpentine. To make the mixture for polishing or varnishing—scrape some bees’ wax into an earthenware jar or pot, cover it with spirits of turpentine and let it stand by the fire or in a cool oven till melted. When cold it should be of the consistency of thick cream. Rub on the floor with a piece of flannel and polish with a hard brush The first time of polishing it is very hard work, but afterwards the floor can be kept in good order very easily by brushing once a week. Apply the bees’ wax and turpentine about every month.

Staining Wood Black. No. 1.—There are several ways of doing this. The simplest is to drop a little sulphuric acid into a small quantity of water, brush the wood over and hold it to the fire. The result is a fine black color, which will receive a good polish.

Staining Wood Black. No. 2.—Take half a gallon of vinegar, half a pound of dry lamp black, and three pounds of iron rust, sifted. Mix these together and let stand a week. Then paint three coats on the wood, hot, and rub with linseed oil and a fine deep black will be produced. Some people add to the above an ounce of nut galls and half a pound of logwood chips and a quarter of a pound of copperas. Lay on three coats and oil well.

To Stain Wood.—It is quite possible to make pieces of furniture of very common wood, and stain it to represent mahogany, rosewood or any one of the more valuable woods:—

For Rosewood Stain.—Take two gallons of alcohol, three pounds of camwood, one pound of red sanders, aqua fortis a quarter of a pound. Apply three coats, rub with sand paper and varnish or polish; or you can, after sand papering, grain with iron rust and shade with asphaltum, thinned with turpentine. In staining any depth of colour wanted can be obtained by giving extra coats of stain. Always rub with sand paper, and give at least one coat of size (two is best) before varnishing.

For Mahogany Stain.—Take eight ounces of madder, two ounces of logwood chips and boil these in about one gallon of water. Apply while hot, and when dry paint over with a solution of two drachms of pearlash in one quart of water. Afterwards size and polish.

To Stain Wood Black.—Take logwood nine parts, sulphate of iron one part, water 25 parts. Apply as the others. It is best to get all ingredients made up at the chemists in the exact quantities, as too much or too little of any one ingredient may spoil the whole.

Paint for a Black Board.—Three ounces of rotton stone, four ounces of powdered pumice stone, lamp black eight ounces, red lead one ounce, glycerine one ounce. Mix well and make into a paint with shellac varnish gradually stirring in about two quarts. Apply several coats.

Bush Varnish.—Take half a pint of methylated spirits of wine and about two ounces of grass tree gum. Pound up the gum and gradually dissolve it in the spirit, when it is ready for use. There is another bush gum that makes an equally good varnish, only of a darker colour, but I do not know the name of the tree. Be careful not to take too much varnish on the brush at once and to see that the articles to be done are quite free from dust and grease.

A Good White-wash.—Into a clean cask or wooden tub put one bushel of lime. Over it pour a couple of buckets of boiling water stirring all the time. When the lime has been well slacked, dissolve in water four pounds of sulphate of zinc and two of coarse salt. These are to prevent the wash cracking and slaking off. If preferred, the above may be made cream colour by adding to it three pounds of yellow ochre.

To Paint a Bush Room.—When ordinary paint cannot be afforded this will answer very well. Make the white-wash according to any of the recipes given and then for a blue-grey tint use one part of lamp black and about one and a half parts of indigo. Make a little first to get the desired tint. To obtain a good stone colour mix in some brown ochre. From two to two and a half buckets of wash will do a room of ordinary size.

A Good Furniture Polish.—There is no reason why people should not make their own furniture polish if only they will take the trouble, as it is a troublesome undertaking, the following is an excellent polish if properly mixed. Get from the chemist half an ounce of balsam fir, quarter of an ounce of sulphuric ether, half an ounce of spirits of turpentine. Mix these well together with two ounces of alcohol and two of raw linseed oil. As you add each ingredient shake them well together. For ordinary polishing boiled linseed oil and vinegar is very good. Many housewives use kerosene to polish all their furniture, it should not be used on varnished wood.

French Polish.—To one pint of spirits of wine add half an ounce of shellac, half an ounce of lac, half an ounce of sandarach. Put these ingredients in an enamelled saucepan over a slow fire stirring continually until the gums are melted. It is as well to get the exact quantities made up, as a little too much of one or the other spoils the polish.

Renovater for French Polished Furniture.—Rectified spirits of wine half a pint, shellac two drachms, benzine two drachms. Put these in a bottle and stand near the fire, or in a warm place till dissolved. When cold again, add two tablespoonsful of good linseed oil. Shake well and it will be fit for use.

A Good Furniture Polish.—Put into a tin or enamelled saucepan two ounces of white wax, let it melt and add to it four ounces of spirits of turpentine. Remove from the fire and stir gently till cool when it is ready for use. This is excellent for polishing up old furniture of all kinds and is what is used in many of the secondhand furniture stores.

To Clean Old Furniture.—Articles of furniture bought second-hand at the auction room, may often be made to look like new if well cleaned. Mix together half a pint of linseed oil, quarter of an ounce of resin, quarter of an ounce of gum shellac and half a pint of spirits of wine. Mix well together and apply with a sponge to the furniture and rub in well with a soft linen cloth.


Banana Stains can be removed with salts of sorrel.

Mulberry Stains can be removed from the fingers and hands by the application of the unripe fruit. Bruise and rub on where the stain is.

Ink Spots can be taken out of paper by the application of blotting paper which has been prepared by soaking in a solution of oxalic acid or oxalate of potassium.

Those who write much should always have a piece of this prepared blotting paper, for drying up blots made on letters or M.S.S.

Tar Stains.—Spots of tar can be removed from black cloth or tweed by the application of naptha or benzine as a rule. Obstinate stains may need softening with olive oil first, then apply turpentine in successive applications. The oil should be rubbed in with a piece of wadding.

Ironmould Stains.—These can be removed by an application of salts of lemon. Wet the stain in hot water and rub some of the salts on; then dip in boiling water again and let lie in the hot sun. If the stain is very large the best plan is to use an old tooth brush or nail brush with which to rub the salts in, and pouring the boiling water over from a cup or dipper while the cloth is on the grass in the sun.

To Take Out Mildew.—Take two ounces of chloride of lime and on to it pour one quart of boiling water, then add three quarts of cold water. Steep the mildewed article in this for twelve hours, and every spot will have disappeared.

To Remove Fruit Stains from Linen, &c.—Rub the stain on both sides with common soap, then tie a small piece of pearlash up in the cloth and soak well in hot water, or put into the boiler with other things to be boiled. Afterwards put in the sun to dry. Children’s pinafores treated in this way when stained can be almost always cleaned.

To Remove Grease Marks from Wall Papers.—Mix a thick paste of pipeclay, water, and three or four drops of ammonia. Apply thickly and let it remain two or three days, then remove with a brush or pen-knife, and the marks will be gone.


To Restore Oilcloth.—Melt half an ounce of beeswax in a saucer of turpentine. Rub the surface of the oilcloth all over with it and then rub in with a soft dry cloth.

To Prevent Glass Cracking Easily—Place a wooden tray perforated, or some wooden slats in the bottom of a large boiler. Stack your tumblers, wine glasses, glass dishes, jars, &c., on this. Fill the boiler with cold water and let it come to a boil and boil for two or three hours. Then draw the fire and let it cool off slowly. This process toughens the glass very much.

To Waterproof a Horse Rug.—Rub the rug with bees’ wax till it is all impregnated, and has become a grey colour. Then smooth over with a hot iron till it appears to have absorbed the wax. Let it cool and then give it a good brushing with a hard brush on each side. If necessary repeat the waxing.

To Colour a Meerschaum.—Pour a little whiskey, rum, or any spirit, the latter is best, into the bowl till it reaches the height to which you wish to colour it. Let it stand 15 or 20 minutes and then pour the spirit out through the stem taking care not to touch the upper part of the bowl. Use cut tobacco, smoke as often as you please, but never more than half way down. Leave the dottle in as long as the pipe will draw without cleaning, or till a good colour shows through. It should show lightly up to where the spirit soaked in, after four weeks or so. This recipe is from an experienced old smoker.

To Waterproof Boots for Sportsmen.—Make an ointment of four tablespoonsful of lard, four of olive oil and one of caoutchouc or raw rubber. Melt these ingredients together on a slow fire. Then moisten the sole of the boot with hot water, and smear the stuff over it. It will render the boots quite waterproof.

To Preserve Buggy Harness.— First rub in one or two coats of lamp black and castor oil (mixed) just warmed sufficiently to make it rub readily. Then sponge with warm soap suds. When quite dry rub over with a mixture of oil and tallow and enough lamp black or Prussian blue to colour it. Rub in well, using very little mixture at a time, till it looks like new.

Moths, Silver Fish, &c.—Every housewife knows to her cost the ravages of these tiny creatures. They are, in many parts of the colonies, even worse than cockroaches, eating into every kind of cloth and muslin. Camphor is a preventative to a certain extent, though by no means a sure one. Wood of the camphor is better almost than the gum, tack chips of it inside wardrobes and drawers, it will also drive cockroaches away. Carpets when put away are liable to be totally destroyed by moths. Salt will preserve them. The coarse salt sprinkled through the folds. It is a good custom to sweep the carpet once a month or so, for sometimes the moths eat away under the sides and corners and do damage unknown to the housewife. Salt sprinkled lightly round the edges will prevent all this. And if the drawing room suite is treated the same way, that is salt sprinkled into the folds before brushing, not a moth will come near it. Coarse salt scattered about wardrobes, closets, cupboards, etc., will keep moths and silver fish away. Any rooms where they are, should be swept with salt. It does not injure carpets, on the contrary it tends to brighten the colours, and is a great purifier removing stuffy and musty smells. Dresses, gentlemen's clothes, &c., that are continually left hanging up should be well beaten with a light cane to drive away all insect life. Then dissolve a drachm of camphor in two ounces of spirits of wine and with this sprinkle each article plentifully. It will not injure the most delicate colours and the smell will go off if hung in the air a few minutes before wearing.

To Keep Moths Away.—Brush every part of the wardrobe and drawers with spirits of wine, being sure to get into all the cracks and crevices. Cedar chips and sawdust will also keep moths away. It is a good plan to sprinkle a thin layer under the carpet before it is tacked down, or else soak sheets of brown paper in a solution of spirits of wine and lay them under.

To Clean Carpet Without Removing it.—To one large bucketful of water add three pints of ox gall (you can get your butcher to bring it to you). Wash the carpet with this until a lather is the result and then wash off with clean water.

To Patch Old Boots.—In the far bush, where one cannot get to a cobbler, it is as well to know how to put a patch on an "old friend." Make a cement by dissolving a small lump of gutta percha in chloroform—make it the consistency of honey. Cut the piece for the patch from an old boot, a little larger than the hole. Heat the two surfaces at the fire, spread the cement on the boot, and quickly place the patch over it. Very small patches can be put on so neatly that they cannot be seen. Six pennyworth of chloroform will last a long time if kept well stoppered. It is a very good plan to varnish the soles of shoes and boots in the country, as it renders them quite impervious to damp, and also makes them last longer.

Men's boots can be made waterproof by applying with a rag the following mixture:—Beef fat, 4oz; resin (or grass-tree gum), 1 oz.; beeswax, 1 oz. Melt together slowly, and when quite cold add about 6oz., or as much as the whole, of neatsfoot oil. Make the boots hot before applying, and then rub in well with the hand, and do the soles as well as the uppers.

To Make a Mackintosh.—Make the coat of any material preferred, strong unbleached calico being the best. Holland has a better finish, but does not do so well. Having finished off the coat lay it piece by piece on a board, and rub with a lump of beeswax (perfectly pure). Go over every inch of the garment, and then iron with a hot iron, and brush with a hard brush while still warm.

This is very effective if properly done. It may want two or three rubbings with wax and brushings afterwards to complete it.

To Clean White Straw Hats-No matter how dirty the hat or bonnet looks, it can be made clean by the following process:—First, wash thoroughly in warm water and soap, scrubbing with a nail or tooth brush, and dry in the sun. Then dilute a good teaspoonful of oxalic acid in nearly a cup of boiling water. When the straw is quite dry take a tooth brush and brush all over with the acid and water. You will notice the straw changing colour and becoming white as you work round. Let it dry in the sun, and you will find it as good as new. If a glaze is liked an application of white of egg will produce it.

To Clean a Sponge.—Dissolve two or three ounces of carbonate of soda or potash in two and a half pints of water. Soak the sponge in it for twenty-four hours, then wash it in pure water. Make a mixture of one glassful of muriatic acid to three pints of water; let the sponge lie in it for some hours, finally rinse in cold water, and dry thoroughly. A sponge should always be dried in the sun after using.

To Clean a Sponge. No. 2.—Very often sponges are found by those living by the sea on the seashore. Generally they are useless, but now and then one may come across a really good one, and then it is well to know how to cleanse it. First get all the sand and grit out by beating and shaking and by washing in warm water in which has been added a spoonful or two of solution of potassium permaganate; wash well several times and then hang in the wind to dry. Then make a solution of ½lb. sodium hyposulphite to a gallon of water, and about 1oz. of oxalic acid; let the sponge soak in this for ten or fifteen minutes, then remove and wash thoroughly. It is as well to rinse in several waters after the oxalic acid.

Sponges can also be bleached by being dipped in a weak solution of sulphuric acid and quickly washed afterwards.

To Cure and Bleach Sponges.—Make a weak solution of hydrochloric acid, and soak the sponge in it to get rid of all the lime. Then dry and beat the sand out and wash again in warm water. To bleach it wash in water having a little sulphuric acid, or, which is better, a little chlorine. Wash several times in this, and then dry in the wind.

To Polish Sea Shells.—Make a solution of muriatic acid, the strength must depend upon the shells to be cleaned, if delicate let the solution be weak, but in any case it is as well to test it upon a common or valueless shell before using on good ones. With a strong camel's hair brush pass the solution over the shell quickly and at once plunge into cold water to prevent injury. Repeat this till the shell or shells are all clean, then dry carefully and rub salad oil over the smooth parts, drying it off with a flannel. Before using the acid at all, all the shells must be thoroughly washed with soap and water, and all extraneous substances scrubbed off with a brush. Those parts not requiring the action of the acid can be preserved by a thin coating of beeswax applied warm and afterwards cleaned off. To fill up the tiny holds made by sea worms, use a mixture of whiting, flour and liquid gum. If these places show out too plainly afterwards they should be coloured in imitation of the shell with water colours.

To Clean Gilt Picture Frames.—Cut up some soap into boiling water and beat it into a lather. When milk warm, wash the frames gently with a soft flannel or sponge, rinse with clean warm water (not hot), wipe dry with a soft cloth and polish with a silk handkerchief. Judson’s gold paint can be used to touch up old frames, but it requires care and judgment or the two golds will not match.

To Clean Patent Leather Shoes, &c.—Sponge with warm water and dry quickly, then, while still warm, rub a little sweet oil into them, rub it well off and polish with a leather. New patent leather shoes should be put before the fire to dry when taken off. And when first worn they should be pressed gently with the hands to mould them to the feet. When getting dull white of egg will revive them.

To Clean Tan Shoes.—In about a cupful of warm water dissolve one tablespoonful of salt, and in a pint of cold water dissolve one ounce of salts of lemon. Mix the two together and you have an excellent wash for tan shoes or boots. Wash them well all over, and then having dried them well take a piece of flannel and rub them over with boot cream, and polish with a soft cloth.

To Clean Discoloured Coral.—Put it into boiling water with about two tablespoonsful of kerosene with it. Coral, if not very dirty, can be cleansed by being placed in running water for a time. Or boil with a little good shell lime in the water.

To Restore Tarnished Jewellery.—Buy one fluid ounce of liquid potassa from a chemist, and make a solution of it with twenty times its quantity of water. Wash the tarnished jewellery in this and rinse in clear cold water. Then make what is called a gilder’s pickle by mixing one teaspoonful of common salt and two of saltpetre in sufficient water to cover the articles, immerse them in this for five or six minutes, stirring them about now and then till the golden appearance is restored. Then rinse in clean water and dry, and polish with a leather.

To Preserve Kid Boots.—While kid boots or shoes are fresh and new, all they require in the way of polish is a rub now and then with a small sponge wetted in a little milk. But when they begin to rub and look shabby they can be restored by rubbing in a little oil and ink. Mix the oil and ink together till smooth, and apply with a sponge or piece of linen and rub dry with a cloth. Kid boots should always be kept in a boot tidy, as they get rubbed if left about.

To Purify a Room.—Very often it is necessary to fumigate or purify a room from some objectionable smell. A dead mouse found under the carpet will leave a very unpleasant perfume. One way to purify the air is by pouring some vinegar on to powdered chalk until it ceases to foam, and when the mixture has settled drain off the vinegar. Then put the dry sediment in a shallow dish when required for use, and pour over it some sulphuric acid. The fumes that rise act as an agreeable fumigator. It is as well to keep a little of the chalk already prepared in a bottle handy in case of it being required.

Another mode of purifying a room is to pour a few drops of vinegar on to a few hot coals, or on to a red hot pan.

To Purify Vessels that have been lying by.—Powder some charcoal and put into the saucepan or vessel with a little water; let it boil for half an hour. This must be after the vessel has been well scoured with sand and water. If the first application is not successful try a second. The charcoal is sure to clean the foulest utensil if used properly.

To Fix the Loosened Handles of Table Knives.—Melt four parts of resin with one part beeswax, and stir in one part plaster of Paris, and fix into the handles while warm.

To Clean Ivory Ornaments.—Wash well in warm water and soap, using a soft brush if necessary to scrub them with. Dry carefully and polish with a soft brush on which a few drops of alcohol have been poured. Hold to the fire now and then as you brush, and the colour will be quite restored.

Lamps.—Lamps should be thoroughly cleaned every little while—the oil poured out and the globe well washed with warm water and soap, rinsed in clear soda and water, and dried. They should then be filled with fresh oil. The burners must be boiled in strong soda and water until every particle of dust and dirt has disappeared. If the wick is clogged and dirty, replace it with a fresh one.

Smoky Lamp Glasses.—To prevent glasses becoming blackened with smoke, when cleaning them put a teaspoonful of diluted sulphuric acid into a cup of water, then with a sponge or mop on a small stick, or a feather will do, rub the glass well inside and out, rinse in warm water, dry and polish. Be very careful in using the acid, as it burns everything.

Some people may discredit the fact of this preventing the glasses getting smoked, and I can give no reason for it doing so, save that I imagine it is on the same principle as the sulphur puts out a fire in a chimney. The acid certainly does prevent the glasses becoming smoked, if applied as above directed.

Cement for Sticking on the Tops of Lamps.—Very often the top or screw part of the kerosene lamp becomes loose from the action of the oil. A very good cement for sticking on the brass part can be made of resin and bath brick. Melt the former in an iron spoon over the fire, and gradually dust in the bath brick. Apply while hot.

Never light a nearly empty lamp, as the space between the oil and the top of the bowl is filled with explosive gas.

Home-made Cement for Mending China, Crockery, etc.—Whip the white of an egg to a stiff froth, and work into it some unslaked lime; with a knife spread the broken edges of the china and then press firmly together and let the article mended lie by for three or four days. Mix only as you need it, as the lime and egg has a tendency to harden in the air. Things mended in this way will hardly bear hot liquids, but vases, ornaments, etc., can be so repaired.

Easily Made Cement.—Curdle about a cupful of milk with a teaspoonful of good vinegar. Take the whey from this, mix it with the white of one egg, and add powdered lime till it is a stiff paste. When mending crockery or glass ware, first dry in the air and then over the fire. I have used vegetable dish-covers mended with the above cement for years.

Cleaning Cooking Utensils—When saucepans, gridirons, frying-pans, baking dishes, etc., have been in use a long time they generally become very dirty and impregnated with grease round the outside edges. An excellent plan then is to put them into a large boiler or an old tub filled with water, in which is dissolved half a pound of washing soda. Place the tub over an outside fire,and let them boil for an hour or two. The result is surprising.

To Polish Black Marble.—Wash thoroughly with soap and water and dry with an old linen towel. Then rub steadily and long with white wax and a flannel rubber.

Perfume for Linen Presses, Drawers, etc.—Pound some cloves and mix with the same quantity of cinnamon, nutmeg (grated) and mace. Place in muslin bags and hang here and there about presses, &c., and no moth or silver fish will come.

To Get Rid of Rats.Miz ordinary white wash and sufficient copperas in it to make it a yellow colour. Paint the shelves, room or floors where the rats come, and in every crevice or hole put a few crystals of copperas and scatter the powder freely about their haunts.

To Get Rid of Ants' Nests.—Very often these little pests build in all sorts of inconvenient places. The only thing that seems to dislodge them is borax. Sprinkle it freely round and about their holes, then with a fine rose on a water can water all over it. The ants will very soon leave.

Another method is poisoning them with a little vitriol mixed with sweetened water and placed near their haunts, but the borax is the best and most harmless.

Cockroach Poison.—Mix red lead, flour and sugar in equal quantities and place it near their haunts. There is a green powder, very good for the purpose; it is sold by all chemists I think. The phosphate is best of all, but be careful to burn all dead cockroaches or the domestic animals and fowls may get them and die. In one of my periodical raids on the nimble 'roach I managed to poison 16 pure bred game hens, a pet kitten and a pet oppossum, so it hardly compensated me for the three hundred and odd cockroaches I did pick up.

To Clean Furs.—All light coloured furs, such as grey, brown, white, &c., &c., can be cleaned by rubbing the wrong way of the fur with a piece of flannel dipped in flour, or sprinkle the flour on and then rub, when one flannel is soiled take a fresh one at once, and when the fur is clean shake and rub again till all the flour is out. Bran can be used in place of the flour but it must be heated in a pan then thoroughly rubbed into the fur and shaken out again.

To Wash Chamois Leathers.—Make a solution (weak) of soda and warm water. Put in the leathers, rub well with soft soap and let them soak for a couple of hours then rub well till quite clean. Rinse thoroughly in some warm, soapy, soda water, if clean water is used the leathers will dry hard. Wring in a rough towel and dry quickly, then pull till soft and pliable.

To Put Out Fire in a Chimney.—Throw some flowers of sulphur on to the fire in the grate, or if that has been drawn light the sulphur in a tin dish and hang a blanket in front of the fireplace, the sulphur fumes will effectually extinguish the burning soot. Very often the blanket alone will put out the fire by stopping all draught. It should be well wetted. The very first thing to do when the chimney is on fire is to rush for a blanket, wet it, and hold it in front of the fireplace, when the roaring noise will stop directly, and unless the chimney is known to be very dirty there will be no need to burn the sulphur or take any other means to extinguish the fire as it will be the better for burning out and thus clearing out all soot.

A Delicate Glue for Mounting Ferns, Shells, Photographs, &c.—Two teaspoonsful of gum arabic melted in half a cup of water, half a teaspoonful of sugar, and one of starch. Boil till thick.

To Wash Windows.—Brush away all cobwebs with a clean paint or white wash brush, then wash the wood work thoroughly before touching the glass. Use no soap to the glass, but simply warm water with a few drops of ammonia in it. Use a small pointed stick and a piece of cloth to get into the corners, wipe dry with a soft cloth, not linen on account of the fluff, or lint. Polish with tissue paper or old newspaper.

To Clean Old Brass and Copper.—Make a solution (strong) of washing soda and water boiling hot and dip the article to be cleaned into it, and then into clear water rubbing the while. Then rub some sulphuric acid and sal-ammoniac, one part of each, and two parts of nitric acid with four parts of water. Dip the article into this for a moment then into clear water again, and bury in hot sawdust to dry. Brass candlesticks, piano sconces, &c., no matter how dirty or tarnished, treated in this way will look like new.

Brooms.—Some people imagine that a broom never requires washing, this is a mistake as the dust and cobwebs that collect round the hairs, all clog and take from its usefulness. The hair brooms should be washed in warm suds at least once a month. In choosing a millet broom take one with a greenish tinge through the straws, and notice if all the twigs reach to the bottom, as when some are uneven or short, only reaching half way, the broom will not wear well, the straws and twigs breaking off. Also see that all the twigs go up to the handle and are not only fastened under one or other of the wires. A good plan is to put a cape or cover on a new millet broom round the shoulders and reaching a short distance below the wiring. It will keep the straws from breaking off or catching in curtains, vallances, &c., as they often do. Brooms should always be hung up when not in use, and if this plan is not convenient they should be stood with the brush end up, if otherwise they soon lose shape. An excellent thing to sweep carpets with instead of tea leaves is cut grass. Another plan is to wet the broom. Millet brooms should be washed as often as the others, and, besides cleaning it often keeps the twigs from breaking.

Dry Earth.—It is acknowledged that dry earth is the very best deodoriser and disinfectant known, being more powerful than any other agent. Therefore in every household there should be a supply kept handy for the purpose of covering offensive matter. For instance, meat that has gone bad, vegetables thrown out from the kitchen. In most cases these things have a strange way of coming to the surface of the dust bin, they should be buried, but often as not they are thrown out with the other refuge from the kitchen. If a quantity of dry earth is kept at hand a shovelful or two thrown over the refuse when emptied into the dust bin or thrown out will prevent ill effects and unpleasantness. A small tin of dry earth should be kept in the nursery where there are young children, and the attendant should be impressed with the necessity for using it. Every water-closet should have a kerosene tin fitted in one corner filled with dry earth. Some people cry out about the difficulty of getting it, but in reality there need be no trouble if they set about it properly. A sieve or riddle is necessary to remove stones and trash, but that can be made with a piece of perforated wire netting. Powdered charcoal, wood ashes, street dust, all are equally effective. And if freely used by every member of the family, there will be no occasion for carbolic acid or any other disinfectant. Where it is necessary to use carbolic acid, for instance in drains, sewers, &c., &c., the proper quantity is a pint of coarse commercial acid to two gallons of water. Infected clothing, bed hangings, &c., should be boiled in water in which carbolic acid is mixed, and floors should be scrubbed with it after fever or any infectious sickness.

To Clean Oil Paintings. No. 1.—Mix some whiting in a saucer with a little warm water, to the consistency of thick cream, and with a piece of flannel or a small sponge rub the picture briskly, and wash off with warm water. Some people use stale bread as you would an indiarubber. I have found the above effectual.

To Clean Oil Paintings. No. 2.—If very dirty the best way is to take all the varnish off and re-varnish. This is done by rubbing or washing the painting with good whiskey. The varnish will come off in a froth, be careful to get every bit of it off, and then wash well with cold water; dry and then re-varnish. Keep the picture covered from dust till the varnish is quite dry.

To Waterproof Calico.—One quart of boiled linseed oil, one ounce of soft soap, one ounce of beeswax, boil down to three-fourths the previous quantity. Apply with a brush on one side of the calico only.

Shark Oil.—This oil is much esteemed by seamen for the purpose of waterproofing or preserving their sea boots, &c. The process of extracting it is far from pleasant as the liver becomes putrid before all the oil is out of it. I have only seen it done in a primitive manner, so it may not be so unpleasant if done over a fire. Hang the liver on a nail or strong peg in a place where the hottest of the sun will be upon it, putting a receptical underneath to catch the oil, which will begin to drip directly the liver begins to decay.

Another way is to throw the liver into something. A piece of bark bent together does as well as anything, or a blackfellow’s “Cooloman.” Chop up the liver roughly, and then raise one end of the bark so that the oil will run down to the other and into a receptacle placed there to receive it. Iguana oil is tried out in just the same way. It is wonderful what a quantity of oil there is even in one liver. I have only given the most primitive way of extracting in use in the bush where but a small quantity is required for personal use. Where the extraction of shark oil is an industry they try it out by fire, in large pots.

Machine Oil.—A good machine oil may be made by mixing three spoonsful of olive oil with one of kerosene.

Another.—Melt one teaspoonful of vaseline and add to it by degrees seven teaspoonsful of kerosene. Let it cool, and decant from the sediment.

To Colour an Old Portmanteau—Box or Bag.—First wash well and then rub over with a sponge dipped in warm water and a little oxalic acid. Then make a paste as follows—three ounces of ivory black, one ounce of sulphuric acid, one ounce of muriatic acid, two ounces of coarse sugar, one lemon, one tablespoonful of sweet oil, and one pint of vinegar. Mix the ivory black and the sweet oil together first, then the lemon juice and the sugar with the vinegar, then the other two acids. Mix well and apply with a brush.

Arsenical Soap.—This can be bought from any chemist ready made, but being very expensive I give a recipe which is cheaper made than bought as a rule. Cut up one pound of common soap into shreds and put into an enamel saucepan with just two tablespoonsful of water over a slow fire. When the soap is melted remove from the fire and put into a basin, and add to it six ounces of salts of tartar and one ounce of powdered lime, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. It should now be about as thick as cream, and when nearly cold stir in about one pound of arsenic and six ounces of camphor, the latter reduced with a little gin. Put into pickle jars and in a week or so it will have hardened. This is a very good preparation and also very cheap. When using it gloves should be used to protect the hands and nails from the poison.

Home-made Candles.—Few people now-a-days make their own candles—because of the trouble they say—because they can’t make them as hard as the sperm candles in the shops. One cannot make sperm candles from tallow, but very good servicable candles can be made with a little care and trouble. First you require a mould, collect your tallow or mutton fat, cut it up and add about one pound of bees’ wax to about five or six pounds of tallow. Throw it all into water and boil for an hour in a large pot. Let it get cold and then cut the cake of fat out, and scrape off the soft underpart. Now make a weak lye of either ashes or soda, cut up your fat again into this and add to it one pound of alum and one pound of saltpetre for each 30 pounds of tallow. Skim carefully while it is simmering, when cold take it out of the water, and then it is ready to be rendered down and poured into the candle moulds. But don’t do as I did at my first attempt, viz., make them without wicks.


No household should be without a bottle of turpentine. It may almost be called the universal remedy, it is useful in so many ways. A few drops sprinkled in the bottom of the drawers where the boys’ tweed clothes or the winter dresses, furs, etc., are kept, will prevent moths touching them. Sprinkled in the safe, cupboard, and store-room shelves, it will keep ants away. In the beds it is a preventative of bugs, and if a house is infested with them it should be used in the cracks of all the woodwork. It will clean the dirtiest paint if added (a spoonful to a bucket) to the warm water used for washing it. In burns, if applied at once, it gives instant relief. It is good for rheumatism and sore throat. Worms in children, half a teaspoonful for a dose, on an empty stomach. And in washing tweeds, winter dresses, etc., it is invaluable used with ammonia as described elsewhere.



To brighten the colours in an old carpet wipe it over with a cloth wrung out of warm water in which has been added a teaspoonful of strongest ammonia.

Dirty door plates can be cleansed with ammonia and water.

One tablespoonful added to a basin of water is better for cleaning windows than soap.

A few drops of ammonia in a cupful of warm water will remove spots from paintings and chromos.

To remove grease spots from delicate fabrics use a solution of ammonia and water, then lay soft paper over and iron with a hot iron.

Ammonia will kill most acids if applied at once. If on coloured clothing use chloroform to restore the colour.

Old brass can be made to look quite new if rubbed with strongest ammonia.

The yellow stains made by sewing machine oil can be removed by rubbing with a cloth wet with ammonia.

Equal parts of ammonia and turpentine will take paint out of clothing, even if ever so hard and dry. Saturate the spots frequently, and wash out with common soap.

To wash tweed suits add one tablespoonful of strong ammonia and two of spirits of turpentine to strong suds. Soak the suits in this while hot (not boiling) let them remain till cool and then wash, without any more soap. If not clean repeat and then rinse two or three times through ammonia and water, and hang out without wringing. Tweed dresses, jackets, &c., &c., can be treated the same way.

Blankets can be washed in warm water and about two tablespoonsful of ammonia and a little soap. Soak some hours and rub very little.


To cleanse greasy hands, and to take the unpleasant smell from them, cut an orange or a lemon in halves and rub over the hands thoroughly.

Always wet the tea and let it draw about five minutes before filling up the pot.

Steel will not rust if washed now and then with carbonate of soda and water.

A handful of coarse sugar will revive a dying fire better than paper. Kerosene should never be used to revive a fire, as there is always danger of explosion.

When ants swarm into the house take a watering can with the rose on, fill with boiling water in which is a little carbolic, and water the ground infested by them.

Epsom salts dissolved in beer and applied by a brush to the windows silvers and whitens them very prettily.

Brass is cleaned with sweet oil and crushed rotten stone.

To make paper stick to white-washed walls, make a sizing of glue and water about as thick as oil, and apply with a white-wash brush; then put the paper on in the usual way.

Fleas can be kept out of carpets by sprinkling oil of wormwood about the room.

When hot fat or grease has been dropped on a floor, throw cold water on it at once to harden it before it penetrates the wood.

In soaking the clothes for the wash, add one tablespoonful of pure ammonia to the tub of water. It will lessen the labour of rubbing.

A teaspoonful of salt to each pint of starch prevents sticking.

To harden plaster of paris so that it will not break easily, mix it with a small quantity of marsh mallow root powdered.

Paper can be rendered transparent for copying purposes by an application of pure benzine rubbed on with cotton wool or a small clean sponge.

Whiskey will take out nearly every fruit stain. Before sending to the wash dip the stain in raw whiskey and let it dry.

Cucumber cut in strips and put where ants are found will generally drive them away.

Spots of paint on the windows can he removed with very strong hot soda and water. Wash with a flannel.

A strong solution of muriatic acid applied with a cloth, and the spot well washed afterwards will take ink stains out of wood.

Cretonne should be sponged with ammonia and hot water, and hung out to dry at once, instead of washing. Do not make it too wet, or the colours will run.

Washing the hands in borax water will keep them soft and smooth. To make the borax water, dissolve as much in warm water as the latter will take up, and use a spoonful in one pint of water when washing.

To bleach grey calico under-wear, use one spoonful of salsoda, and 1 lb. of chloride of lime dissolved in soft water. Soak the things in this for ten or fifteen minutes and rinse in clear soft water, and hang out at once.

Always iron embroidery or raised work of any kind on the wrong side.

In all cookery, sweet or savory, salt should be used; even in a sponge cake a pinch of salt is beneficial.

If baking soda is used you must use acid, as one is imperfect without the other.

Never use baking soda and baking powder, or baking powder and acid. In making soda bread or scones you must not use baking powder and soda. The powder alone contains both soda and acid.

Use sour milk with baking soda.

To clean jewellery use prepared chalk.

For washing marble use ammonia instead of soap.

To clean zinc and brass use kerosene after washing with hot suds.

To cleanse drains, sinks, &c., use copperas, about 1 lb. to pail of water.

To purify water in iron tanks, use alum, ½ an ounce to every 100 gallons. The best way to do it is to dissolve the alum in hot water, and keep in a bottle well corked, and to every gallon of water to be filtered add one teaspoonful.

Stain your floors with diamond dye and varnish them.

A floor can be stained a very pretty shade by washing it daily in cold tea. When the desired colour is obtained, polish with beeswax in the usual way.

Tomato juice will remove ink stains from linen. Dip the stained part into the pure tomato juice and let it dry. If the first application does not remove it, repeat.

Cane bottom chairs should be washed with a sponge, and hot water and soap, in which a handful of salt has been dissolved.

Tea and coffee should not be kept near each other, as they impregnate each other, and the flavour of both is injured.

Spirits of camphor will remove fruit stains if applied before the clothes are wet. Put it on them, and then send to the wash.

Wash combs and brushes once a week in tepid water containing a few drops of ammonia. Place the bristles down to dry.

If the pantry shelves are washed regularly with strong carbolic acid and water, the ants will keep away from them. Sulphur is also a remedy if sprinkled about their haunts.

A little borax put into the water in which red bordered cloths and towels are washed will prevent the colour fading.

A teaspoonful of salt put into the kerosene lamp will improve the light and make bad oil burn brightly.

A teaspoonful of ammonia in a quart of water will cleanse brushes and combs.

A chalked line round the sugar basin or jam dish will keep the little golden and black ants away.

When re-gluing any piece of furniture or anything that has been glued before, be sure and scrape every particle of old glue off.

To economize starch, pour it mixed into boiling water, instead of pouring the water on the starch. You can save all that is not required by letting it settle and dry, then return to the starch tin.

To destroy the smell of cabbage while cooking, add a lump of charcoal to the water.

Old silk can be renovated and cleaned if sponged with water, in which raw potatoes have been grated. Two large potatoes to one quart of water. Then iron the silk on the wrong side.

To clear the room of mosquitoes take a piece of camphor half the size of an egg, and set fire to it in a tin vessel. Let the smoke fill the room. Do not let the camphor flame, only smoke.

Equal parts of boiled linseed oil and vinegar is good for polishing furniture.

Starch, glycerine, and plaster of paris makes a cement for pottery that does not need washing.

An old silk handkerchief makes the best duster for polished furniture.

Never oil walnut wood furniture, or rub with an oily rag—it will make it dull looking. Put in a bottle a pint of linseed oil, ounce of butter of antimony, and half a gill of vinegar. Shake together before using on your walnut furniture.

Another good furniture polish is three parts sweet oil, two parts turpentine. Wash the furniture over with vinegar, dry lightly, and then apply, following the grain of the wood.

To bring out dents in furniture, wet the place with warm water, double a piece of brown paper several times, soak in water, and having laid it on the dent place a warm iron on it, or against it till the paper is quite dry. If not successful at first try again.

A good size for amateur work is made as follows:—Put half an ounce of isinglass into a clean jar, pour half a pint of clear cold water on it and let it stand ten or twelve hours to dissolve. Then place the jar in a saucepan of boiling water until the liquid is quite clear.

A good perfume for linen presses and drawers is made by powdering one ounce each of cloves, cedar, and cinnamon. Place in paper cases gummed close, or in small bags.

To remove iron mould wet the spot in boiling water, rub on salts of lemon, and place in the sun.

Hot oxalic acid will take out ink spots.

To purify foul cooking utensils scour first with soap and sand, then boil some powdered charcoal in them.

A good glue for very delicate work is made of five parts gum arabic, three parts white sugar, two parts starch, and a little water. Boil till thick and white.

When packing silver away for any time, put a lump of camphor in the box with it to keep it bright and free from mildew.

To wash chamois riding gloves put them on the hands and wash in warm water with soap. Take off under water to preserve the shape, wring dry in a towel, open the fingers with a glove stretcher, and hang out to dry, and they will look as good as new.

To take out spots and stains from dirty linen, rub with yolk of egg before soaking.

Ink on floors.—Scour with sand wetted in oil of vitrol and water, and rinse with strong pearlash water.

To cleanse coffee pots, boil a little borax in them about once a week.

To remove paint and putty, one part pearl ash to three parts quick lime slaked to the consistency of paint, lay on with a brush and wash off in twelve hours, when the paint will easily scrape off.

For creaking hinges, grease with a little bit of mutton fat.

To clean the kitchen table, scour with soap and bath brick powdered. Sprinkle the latter on, then soap the brush, and scrub.