Vintage Spring Cleaning Tips

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Saucepans with burnt on stains – soak in washing soda (aka soda crystals) and hot water, and the burnt offerings just lift off. Incidentally you can also soak stained clothes in soda crystals before washing, use soda crystals to keep drains clear, use them to remove grease when cleaning, and use them to remove moss and algae from patios. They will do practically everything except make you a cup of tea, I imagine.

Houseplants – wipe over with a soft damp cloth. You can also give them a quick hose with a hand shower if they are very dusty. A quick wipe with a cotton wool ball and some milk, mayonnaise or oil will make the leaves shine, but make sure it’s all wiped off properly afterwards, so the plant’s leaves can breathe.

Yellowed linens – boil on the hob in a pan with a bit of biological washing powder or soda crystals in there, and they will come up really white.

Wallpaper with scribbles and stains – take the inside of a large loaf of bread, and knead it into a ball of dough. You can then rub it over the wallpaper and many of these stains will come off. This technique should not be used on flock wallpaper, however.

Wallpaper with dust – if  your wallpaper has a velvet flock, you can clean this by hoovering it carefully on the lowest setting, with a pair of old tights tied over the end of your vacuum’s pipe. The tights trick is also a great way of finding earring backs and contact lenses that have been dropped on the floor.

Vintage furniture polish – take a quarter of a pound of beeswax pellets (these can be ordered reasonably cheaply from most chemists, if you ask nicely, or on the internet, or use old beeswax candle shavings) and put them in a large jar with enough turpentine to cover them. Stand it in a pan of hot water, and leave it until the beeswax melts into the turps. Screw the lid tight and use as required. (Do be a bit careful with the turps, as it is inflammable. Traditionally the advice was to leave this mix in a range oven on a low heat overnight, but I’m not advising that on the basis of the fire risk).

Leather balm – mix two parts of linseed oil (flax seed oil) with one part of vinegar, wipe on with a soft cloth, and buff with another cloth. Any spare linseed oil comes in handy to oil wooden doors that are looking a bit dry and neglected. You can also eat flax seed oil, for example in Eastern Europe it is eaten with Quark (curds). Avoid licking your leather furniture after you have cleaned it, though, because that’s just wierd.

Vintage rugs – you can clean these by tipping cool used tea leaves onto them, and then brushing the tea leaves off with a moderately stiff broom. Any dust sticks to the leaves, but this is not suitable for light coloured rugs. For this, you can use fresh grass cuttings instead, unless they are cream or light yellow, in which case you are better leaving them alone or having them professionally cleaned. Fragile rugs can be hoovered gently on the lowest setting as for flock wallpaper (see above).

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One thought on “Vintage Spring Cleaning Tips

    LetCleannessBe said:
    10 April, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    This was a fun read, these are helpful tips 🙂

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