IN THE SEWING ROOM
To Prevent Oil from Soiling Goods—To prevent a sewing machine that has been oiled from soiling the material, try the following method: Tie a small piece of ribbon, or cotton string, around the needlebar near the point where it grips the needle.
(a) Wet the spots with spirits of turpentine and wash out with cold water and toilet soap, or,
(b) Rub the spot with chalk as soon as noticed. Leave for a short time, then brush, and the spot will disappear.
A Sewing Suggestion—A small, inexpensive flashlight should be kept in the sewing machine drawer. It will not only save many precious minutes, but will relieve eye strain when threading a machine needle on a dark day or at night.
Protection Against Spilled Water in Sick Bed—If water is accidentally spilled in bed when attending someone who is ill, it can be quickly dried by slipping a hot-water bag filled with very hot water between the bed covers over the wet spot and leaving it there for a few minutes.
To Clean and Polish Brass Beds—Brass bedsteads can be cleaned by rubbing them with a cloth which has been slightly moistened with sweet oil; then polished with a soft, dry duster, and lastly with a chamois leather. If this is done occasionally, it will keep them in good condition for years. But it is a better plan to use the lacquer, given below, after cleaning.
Wooden bedsteads should be wiped every three months with a cloth moistened with turpentine to keep them clean.
To Keep Brass from Tarnishing—To keep brass beds and other forms of brass work from tarnishing, and also to avoid frequent polishing, the brass should be lacquered with gum shellac dissolved in alcohol. Apply the lacquer with a small paint brush. Ten cents worth will lacquer a bedstead.
Clear, hard-drying varnish is also good for this purpose.
New Way to Fasten Lace Curtains—The best way to secure lace or net curtains in place over the poles is to fasten with the very fine wire hairpins, known as “invisible” hairpins. These are so sharp that they can be pushed through the curtains without injury to the fabric, and are so fine that they are more invisible than pins. They have the added advantage of never slipping out of place like small-headed pins, or becoming entangled in the lace like safety-pins. Put them perpendicularly (up and down) in the curtain with the rounded head at the top.
Filling for Sofa Cushions—Cut a roll of cotton in small squares and put it in a pan in the oven and heat it for half an hour. Do not let the cotton scorch. Every square will swell to twice its original size and will be as light and fluffy as feathers for stuffing sofa cushions.
Onion Water for Gilt Frames—Flies may be kept from damaging gilt frames by going over the frames with a soft brush dipped in a pint of water in which three or four onions have been boiled. This is also good for cleaning the frames.
To Clean Gilded Picture Frames, use a weak solution of ammonia and water. Go over the gilt gently with a moist cloth, and after a few moments, when the dirt has had time to soften, repeat the operation. Do not rub hard, and dry by dabbing gently with a soft cloth.
To Clean Bath Tub and Wash Bowl—Some housekeepers like to use kerosene in the bath tub to take off the soapsuds and stain that will gather, but the odor is sometimes objectionable. To clean the bath tub and the wash bowl in a jiffy use a half lemon rind turned wrong side out.
A couple of teaspoonfuls of glycerine to a small tubful of water will soften the lather in which flannel pieces are to be washed.
To Protect Hand from a Gasoline Iron—When using a gasoline iron, a little steam always rises from the iron and burns the hand. Before putting on your glove, rub the side of the hand well with vaseline and this burning can be avoided.
To Make Linen Glossy—When a gloss is desired for linen goods, add a teaspoonful of salt to the starch when making.
Quick Method of Sprinkling Clothes—Turn the nozzle of the garden hose to a fine spray and sprinkle the clothes while they are on the line. All plain pieces can then be rolled up and laid in the basket as they are taken down. Starched pieces may need a little further hand sprinkling.
To Make White Curtains Ecru or Cream Color—First soak curtains over night in cold water to remove all dust. In the morning wash in usual way and rinse thoroughly to remove all soap. Then put them in boiler with a tan stocking and remove when the desired color is obtained.
To Stretch Curtains Without a Curtain Frame—Fold the lace curtain double lengthwise; then pin it on a tightly stretched line with many clothes-pins and slip a clean pole inside the folded curtain. This stretches the curtain satisfactorily and saves considerable time and money when a curtain stretcher is not available.
Right Way to Hang Skirts—In laundering skirts made of pique, cotton or woolen pin them to the line by the waistband so they will hang straight down. If pinned this way they shrink evenly all around instead of sagging, as they do when pinned at the hem.
Bleaching a Scorched Spot—If you scorch a piece of white goods while ironing, immediately rub the spot with a cloth dipped in diluted peroxide, then run the iron over it and the cloth will be as white as before.
To Iron Over Buttons, Etc.—When ironing over blouses or frocks with large buttons or hooks and eyes on, use several thicknesses of blanket or Turkish towels to iron them on. Turn the garment button-side down, and press on the wrong side. The buttons will sink into the soft padding and leave a smooth surface for the iron to run over.
Vinegar is also considered good for dark colors, using one-fourth cup of vinegar to one quart of water.
To Get Rid of Ants—To rid the house of ants, smear the cracks and corners of the infested rooms with balsam of peru.
A Cheap Floor Wax—A satisfactory and economical floor wax which is excellent for use on hardwood floors: To one-half cake of melted paraffin add one teacupful of turpentine. Apply to the clean dry floor with a cloth; then polish with a woolen cloth or weighted brush. It gives an excellent polish and keeps the floor nice and light.
(1) Drop a little paraffin on them, and after a short time they can easily be removed, or,
(2) Hold a red hot iron to the head of the screw for a short time and use the screwdriver while the screw is still hot.
To Put Hooks in Hardwood—When putting hooks in hardwood, use a clothes-pin to turn them, or slip the handle of a knife or any small steel article through the hook and turn until it is secure in the wood. This will save your fingers from aching.
Novelty Candle-Holders—Rosy-cheeked apples, polished and hollowed out to receive the end of a candle, make charming candle-sticks at a children’s party. Especially where a color scheme of red and white is carried out, nothing prettier or more suitable could be designed.
Handy Ice Pick—If an ice pick is not available or is misplaced for the time being, an ordinary hat pin gradually forced into ice produces a crack and separates the ice without a sound. Needles and even common pins are used in hospitals to crack ice for patients.
Help in Freezing Cream Quickly—If the freezer is packed half an hour before the mixture is put in the can the freezing will be speedier. Allow three times the quantity of ice that there is of salt. Mix before using, or put in the freezer in layers.
Cutting Off Old Bottles and Their Uses—A bottle may be cut off by wrapping a cord saturated in kerosene oil around it several times at the point you wish to cut it, then setting fire to the cord, and just when it has finished burning plunge the bottle into cold water and tap the end you wish to break off. Odd shaped or prettily colored bottles make nice vases. The top of a large bottle with a small neck makes a good funnel. Large round bottles make good jelly glasses.
Many other uses will no doubt suggest themselves to your mind.
More Serviceable Umbrella Jars—Place a large carriage sponge in the bottom of the umbrella jar to prevent umbrellas from striking the bottom of the jar and breaking it. The sponge will also absorb the water from a dripping umbrella.
To Lubricate a Clock—If your clock stops on account of being gummed with dust, place a small piece of cotton saturated with kerosene in the clock, and leave it there several hours. The fumes from the kerosene will loosen the dirt, and the clock will run again as well as ever.
For Worn Carpet Sweeper Pulleys—To keep the wood pulleys on carpet sweeper brushes from slipping after they have worn smooth, wrap once or twice with adhesive tape. This will also keep the pulleys from wearing unevenly with the grain of the wood.
To Protect Clothing Spread on the Grass for Bleaching—When linen pieces or small articles of clothing are placed upon the grass to whiten, much trouble may be prevented by spreading a strip of cheesecloth over them and fastening it down with wooden pegs or hairpins. This does not prevent bleaching, but keeps off worms and bugs, and prevents the articles from being blown away by the wind.
To soften brushes that have dried paint in them soak in hot vinegar or in turpentine or gasoline.
To Separate Postage Stamps—When postage stamps stick together do not soak them. Instead, lay a thin paper over them, and run a hot iron over the paper. They will come apart easily and the mucilage on the back of the stamps can be used as though it was new.
Soap Application When Eyeglasses Steam—To prevent annoyance caused by a deposit of moisture upon eyeglasses, when going from a cold into a warm atmosphere, moisten the tips of the fingers and rub them over a cake of soap. Then rub them over the lens, and polish as usual. One application every day or two is all that is necessary.
For Perspiration Odor—The unpleasant odor of perspiration often causes much annoyance. Instead of using perfumery, wash the body with warm water to which has been added two tablespoonfuls of compound spirits of ammonia. This will leave the skin sweet, clean, and fresh.
For Insomnia—A heaping bowl of bread and milk, seasoned with salt, and eaten just before retiring, is recommended as a sure cure for the worst case of insomnia.
Sulphur to Rid House of Rats—Sulphur will successfully rid the house of rats if sprinkled in bureau drawers, closets, and around holes where they are liable to come in. The farmer, also, will find that his corn will not be troubled if he sprinkles it about the barn.
Lumps of camphor placed about their haunts is another effective method of keeping mice away.
To Take Mildew Out of Leather—Mildew on leather may be removed with pure vaseline. Rub a little of this into the leather until quite absorbed, and then polish carefully with a clean chamois leather.
To Induce a Canary to Take a Bath, sprinkle a few seeds on the water. This added attraction will make the bath become a habit with the little pet.
A Handy Pen or Brush Holder for Your Desk—A sheet of corrugated paper is a handy thing to have on your writing desk to hold wet pens or brushes. The paper will absorb the liquid and the corrugations will hold the pens or brushes in convenient position.
A Novel Match Scratcher—To avoid matches being scratched on the wall-paper almost as much as on the match-scratch, try the idea of removing the glass from a small oval or square picture frame and framing a piece of sandpaper just as one would a picture. Put a small screw-eye on top of the frame, thus allowing it to hang perfectly flat against the wall. The frame prevents the match from being carried over the edges of the sandpaper onto the wall.
Emergency White Glove Repair—If your white glove rips or tears accidentally just as you are putting it on to go out, and there is no time to mend same, put a small strip of white adhesive plaster over the spot and it will never be noticed.
To Keep Rugs from Slipping—Cut a three-cornered piece of rubber sheeting to fit each corner and sew it firmly in place. Another way is to take a piece of heavy, rough sheathing paper a bit smaller than the rug and lay the rug on that.
To polish furniture, use a piece of velveteen instead of chamois leather. The former is much cheaper than the chamois and serves just as well.
An Easy Fly Exterminator—To drive out flies put twenty drops of oil of lavender in a saucer and dilute it slightly with hot water. The sweet, heavy odor of the lavender is very disagreeable to the flies, and the house will soon be rid of them.
For Leaky Vases or Other Ornamental Bric-a-Brac—If a valuable flower vase leaks, take some melted paraffin, such as is used over jelly-jars, and pour it into the vase and let it harden over the spot where the leak occurs. It will not leak again.
To Mark Place for Picture-Nail—When just the right position has been found to hang the picture, moisten your finger and press it against the place where the nail should go. This does away with the awkward reaching for hammer and nail while holding the picture against the wall.
(3) Cut flowers with woody stems will last much longer in water if the stalks are scraped for about three inches up.
To Clean White Enameled Furniture—First remove all dirty marks with a flannel cloth dipped in wood alcohol. Then wash at once with tepid water to which has been added a little fine oatmeal. Never use soap or soda.
New Uses for Macaroni—A stick of macaroni will serve in place of a glass tube for a patient who cannot sit up in bed to drink, or will sometimes induce a child to drink its milk when otherwise it would not.
To Drive Nails in Plaster without cracking the plaster, put the nail in hot water for a few minutes and it can then be driven in securely without damage to the wall.
Plaster of Paris for Mending Walls—When painting walls and the plaster is in need of mending, fix it with plaster of paris mixed with some of the paint you intend using to paint it with. This will prevent the mended spot from showing. To fix a white wall, mix plaster of paris with turpentine and oil.
To Remove Smoke Marks from the Ceiling, frequently due to a smoky lamp, mix a thick paste of starch and water, and with a clean flannel cloth spread it over the entire mark. Allow it to stay on until thoroughly dry, then brush off with a soft brush, and the discoloration will disappear like magic.
(1) Use soap and water and not gasoline, as gasoline will injure the rubber. Lay out on a flat surface and scrub lightly with soap and water; then rinse with clear water. Do not wring. Put on a coat-hanger and hang out to dry.
(2) Pour some vinegar into a dish and dip a soft rag or sponge into it; then place the mackintosh on the table and rub the soiled parts lightly.
To Remove Soot from Carpet—Do not attempt to sweep the carpet until it has been covered with dry salt. Then sweep it and no smear will be left.
To Brighten a Carpet—First sweep the carpet clean. Then dip a soft, clean mop into a pail containing one-half gallon of water and one-half teacupful of ammonia; wring it well and rub it over the carpet; it will be as bright and fluffy as when new.
To Destroy Moths in Carpets, wring a thick towel out of water, spread it on the carpet, and iron over it with a very hot iron. The heat and steam will go through the carpet, thus destroying the grubs.
To Keep Moths Out of Pianos—Try rubbing turpentine occasionally over the woodwork on the inside of the piano, and you will never be troubled with moths getting into the piano, even when it is not used for a long time.
To Clean Leather Furniture, add a little vinegar to warm water (not hot) and brush the leather over with it. Restore the polish by rubbing with two tablespoonfuls of turpentine mixed with the whites of two eggs.
To clean tarnished brass use equal parts of vinegar and salt. Rub with this mixture thoroughly, letting it dry on; then wash off in warm, soapy water and polish with a soft cloth.
Alcohol for Cleaning White Kid Articles—Pure alcohol is better than gasoline for cleaning white kid gloves or other white kid articles, as it dries quickly without the unpleasant odor that gasoline leaves. Five cents’ worth of alcohol cleans a pair of gloves beautifully.
New Tag for Shoe Lace—If a tag comes off a boot or shoe lace, press a little melted black sealing wax round the end of the lace and shape it to form a tag. It will serve almost as well as the original.
To Remove Shine from Woolen Goods—Wet a piece of crinoline and lay it over the shiny surface of the goods. Cover with a dry cloth and press with a hot iron. Pull the crinoline away quickly, as you would a plaster, and this will raise the nap of the goods.
To Clean a Black Dress—Take a dozen ivy leaves and steep them in boiling water. Let it stand until cold; then rub well over the stained parts. This solution will remove all stains and make the cloth look fresh.
To Clean Men’s Clothing—Take a soft cloth, dip it in alcohol, and press it lightly over a cake of pure soap; then apply it briskly to the article to be cleaned. After sponging the garment carefully, press it.
In cases of obstinate grease spots, rub well with a lather made from pure white soap and luke-warm water; then sponge off with alcohol and proceed as above.
Wall Paper Remover—To remove wall paper in about one-half the usual time, take one heaping tablespoonful of saltpetre to a gallon of hot water, and apply it to the paper freely with a brush. A whitewash brush is best for the purpose, as it covers a broader space than other brushes. Keep the water hot, and after a few applications the paper can be easily pulled from the wall.
To Clean Wallpaper, make a paste of three cupfuls of flour, three tablespoonfuls of ammonia and one and one-half cupfuls of water. Roll it into balls and rub it over the paper. It will make it as clean as when new.
Tobacco for Plant Insects—One tablespoonful of smoking tobacco soaked in a quart of water for twelve hours or more makes a solution that will destroy insects and promote the growth of the plant. It must be poured on the soil about every two months.
When a Wax Candle is Too Large for the holder the end should be held in hot water until it is soft. It can then be pressed into shape to fit the hole and there will be no waste of wax, as when slices are shaved off the end of a candle.
To Lay New Matting—Cut each width six inches longer than necessary. Then unravel the ends and tie the cords together. When the matting is taken up to be cleaned it cannot unravel and there will be no waste.
To Clean White Furniture or Woodwork—Use clean turpentine and a soft cloth to clean white enameled woodwork or furniture. It will remove all spots without removing any of the gloss, as soap is liable to do.
To Clean Soiled Marble—Pound two parts of common washing soda, one part each of pumice stone and finely powdered chalk, mix together, sift them through cheesecloth, and make into a paste with water. Apply thickly and let it dry on; then wash well with soap and water and rub well with a soft cloth. Never use acids on marble as they destroy the gloss.
To Clean Oil Spots from Marble, first wash the stone thoroughly; then place a sheet of blotting paper over the spots and set a hot iron on it; this will draw the oil out and the blotting paper will absorb it.
Handy Fruit Picker for Farmers and Suburbanites—Take a large tomato can or other tin can and cut a V-shaped hole in one side at the top, about 1½ inches wide and 2½ inches deep. On the opposite side of the V-shaped hole, nail the can to a long pole. This device is useful for picking apples and many varieties of fruit from upper branches where it is almost impossible to reach them by ladder. It also prevents damage to the fruit by falling.
All spots and stains can be removed much more easily before washing. Fruit stains are probably the most common and they will usually disappear if the stained portion is held taut over a basin and hot water poured over and through it.
Butter or Salt for Stains—To remove fruit, tea or coffee stains from cotton or linen goods, rub butter on the stains and then wash with hot water and soap. Remove wine stains by sprinkling salt on them and then pouring boiling water through them.
To Remove Indelible Ink—Use equal parts of turpentine and ammonia to remove indelible ink when all other methods fail. Saturate the garment well, and let it soak; then rinse it thoroughly in warm water.
To Remove Perspiration Stains—The stains caused by perspiration can be removed from garments by the application of a mixture consisting of three parts of alcohol, three parts of ether and one of ammonia.
(2) To Remove Fruit Stains from Linen—Before sending table linen and white garments to the laundry all fruit stains should be well dampened with alcohol. All traces of discoloration from the fruit will have vanished when returned from the laundry.
Starch for Removing Blood-Stains—To remove blood-stains from material which can not be washed, cover the stain with lump starch that has been dampened to about the consistency of very thick paste. As the starch dries, the stain will go.
(1) Buttermilk for Mildew—Articles that have become mildewed should be boiled in buttermilk. Rinse well in warm water after boiling and hang in the sun. The same process will effectively bleach materials that have grown yellow from lack of use.
(3) To Take Out Mildew, mix equal parts of powdered borax and starch with half as much salt; moisten the whole with lemon juice, spread the mixture on the mildewed spot and place the garment in the sun on the grass. Renew the mixture every morning until the stain disappears.
To Remove Wax Stains—To remove wax or tallow stains, lay a piece of brown paper over them and apply a hot flatiron. After one or two applications the paper will absorb all of the wax or tallow from the cloth, leaving no trace behind.
(3) To Remove Rust Stains—Spread the rust-stained part over a bowl of boiling water and rub it with salt wet with lemon juice; then place it in the sun. Repeat this process until the stain is light yellow; then wash the cloth in weak ammonia water and afterward in clear water.
Chinese Plan for Removing Ink Stains from Clothing—Wash the article with boiled rice; rub the rice on the stain as you would soap, and wash with clear water. If first application is not effective, repeat the process.
This has been found to work like magic, even with stains not discovered until entirely dry.
A Sure Cure for Ink Stains—To remove ink stains from wash materials pour a tablespoonful of kerosene on them and rub well; then rinse in kerosene and the spots will immediately disappear. This should be done before being washed.
To Remove Ink Stains—To remove ink stains without damage to the fabric, place the stained portion over a saucer and cover the stain with powdered borax; then pour peroxide of hydrogen over the borax. Do not pour water over the borax. The stain will disappear almost immediately.
Ink Stains Can be Removed without injury to the most delicately-colored material. Mix some mustard to a thick paste and spread it over the stain. After twenty-four hours sponge thoroughly with cold water; no trace of the ink will remain.
To Remove Ink from Linen After it Has Dried In—Wash out as much of the ink as possible in a pan of milk. Then put the article to soak in another pan of milk, letting it stand until the milk turns to clabber. Then wash out and not a trace of ink will remain.
Ink on Carpet—If ink is spilled on the carpet, wash it out at once with sweet milk and sprinkle it with white cornmeal. Let it remain over night. The next morning sweep it up and the colors will remain bright.
To Remove Ink from a Carpet, soak up as much of it as possible with blotting paper. Then saturate the spot with plenty of milk, and after some time, having removed the milk with blotting paper, rub the carpet with a clean cloth.