Uses of Ammonia

March 17th, 2018

All housekeepers should keep a bottle of liquid ammonia, as it is the most powerful and useful agent for cleaning silks, stuffs and hats, in fact cleans everything it touches. A few drops of ammonia in water will take off grease from dishes, pans, etc., and does not injure the hands as much as the use of soda and strong chemical soaps. A spoonful in a quart of warm water for cleaning paint makes it look like new, and so with everything that needs cleaning.

Spots on towels and hosiery will disappear with little trouble if a little ammonia is put into enough water to soak the articles, and they are left in it an hour or two before washing; and if a cupful is put into the water in which clothes are soaked the night before washing, the ease with which the articles can be washed, and their great whiteness and clearness when dried, will be very gratifying. Remembering the small sum paid for three quarts of ammonia of common strength, one can easily see that no bleaching preparation can be more cheaply obtained.

No articles in kitchen use are so likely to be neglected and abused as the dish-cloth and dish-towels; and in washing these, ammonia, if properly used, is a greater comfort than anywhere else. Put a teaspoonful into the water in which these cloths are, or should be, washed everyday; rub soap on the towels. Put them in the water; let them stand half an hour or so; then rub them out thoroughly, rinse faithfully, and dry outdoors in clear air and sun, and dish-cloths and towels need never look gray and dingy–a perpetual discomfort to all housekeepers.

A dark carpet often looks dusty soon after it has been swept, and you know it does not need sweeping again; so wet a cloth or a sponge, wring it almost dry, and wipe off the dust. A few drops of ammonia in the water will brighten the colors.

For cleaning hair-brushes it is excellent; put a tablespoonful into the water, having it only tepid, and dip up and down until clean; then dry with the brushes down and they will be like new ones.

When employed in washing anything that is not especially soiled, use the waste water afterward for the house plants that are taken down from their usual position and immersed in the tub of water. Ammonia is a fertilizer, and helps to keep healthy the plants it nourishes. In every way, in fact, ammonia is the housekeeper’s friend.

Ammonia is not only useful for cleaning, but as a household medicine. Half a teaspoonful taken in half a tumbler of water is far better for faintness than alcoholic stimulants. In the Temperance Hospital in London, it is used with the best results. It was used freely by Lieutenant Greely’s Arctic party for keeping up circulation. It is a relief in nervousness, headache and heart disturbances.

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

If Hands Are Rough

February 19th, 2018

It is hard to embroider if hands are rough, as most women know. Let them try rubbing the hands with the finest sand paper, and they will find that the embroidery silks will not stick to the fingers.

Source: 1001 Household Hints, Ottilie V. Ames

Potatoes Used to Cleanse

January 26th, 2018

Small pieces of raw potato in a little water shaken vigorously inside bottles and lamp chimneys will clean them admirably. To clean a burned porcelain kettle boil peeled potatoes in it. Cold boiled potatoes not over-boiled, used as soap will clean the hands and keep them soft and healthy. To cleanse and stiffen silk, woolen and cotton fabrics use the following recipe:–Grate two good sized potatoes into a pint of clear, clean, soft water. Strain through a coarse sieve into a gallon of water and let the liquid settle. Pour the starchy fluid from the sediment, rub the articles gently in the liquid, rinse them thoroughly in clear water and then dry and press. Water in which potatoes are boiled is said to be very effective in keeping silver bright.

Source: Vaughan’s Vegetable Cook Book

Cure for Felons

January 4th, 2018

Boil up in any iron vessel of sufficient capacity, (say four or six quarts,) enough yellow dock root to make a strong liquor. When sufficiently boiled, and while the liquor is as hot as can be borne by the hand, cover the kettle with a flannel cloth to keep in the heat and steam, hold the hand or finger affected under the cloth, and in the steam, and in five minutes the pain will cease. If it should return, heat the liquor, and do as before.

Source: The Housekeeper’s Friend: A Practical Cookbook

Nail Care

November 25th, 2017

To give a fine color to the nails, the hands and fingers must be well lathered and washed with fine soap; then the nails must be rubbed with equal parts of cinnebar and emery, followed by oil of bitter almonds. To take white spots from the nails, melt equal parts of pitch and turpentine in a small cup; add to it vinegar and powdered sulphur. Rub this on the nails and the spots will soon disappear.

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

Stained Hands

November 17th, 2017

To remove stains, rub a slice of raw potato upon the stains; or wash the hands in lemon juice or steeped laurel-leaves.

Source: The White House Cookbook, F.L. Gillette

Chilblains

November 1st, 2017

Chilblains are the result of too rapid warming of cold parts, generally feet or fingers. Sometimes for years after being frost-bitten, exposure to severe cold will produce itching and burning, and perhaps swelling and ulcers.

Treatment:

Rub with turpentine or alcohol. The rubbing in itself is excellent. See doctor.

Source: The Mary Frances First Aid Book, Jane Eayre Fryer

Acid Salt

August 25th, 2017

This is the composition commonly, but erroneously called salt of lemon, and is excellent for removing ink and other stains from the hands, and for taking ink spots out of white clothes. Pound together in a marble mortar an ounce of salt of sorrel, and an ounce of the best cream of tartar, mixing them thoroughly. Then, put it in little wooden boxes or covered gallipots, and rub it on your hands when they are stained, washing them in cold water, and using the acid salt instead of soap; a very small quantity will immediately remove the stain. In applying it to linen or muslin that is spotted with ink or fruit juice, hold the stained part tightly stretched over a cup or bowl of boiling water. Then with your finger rub on the acid salt till the stain disappears. It must always be done before the article is washed.

This mixture costs about twenty-five cents, and the above quantity (if kept dry) will be sufficient for a year or more.

Ink stains may frequently be taken out of white clothes by rubbing on (before they go to the wash) some bits of cold tallow picked from the bottom of a mould candle; Leave the tallow sticking on in a lump, and when the article comes from the wash, it will generally be found that the spot has disappeared. This experiment is so easy and so generally successful that it is always worth trying. When it fails, it is in consequence of some peculiarity in the composition of the ink.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

Warts

July 12th, 2017

To remove the hard callous horny warts which sometimes appear on the hands of children, touch the wart carefully with a new pen dipped slightly in aqua-fortis. It will give no pain; and after repeating it a few times, the wart will be found so loose as to come off by rubbing it with the finger.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

Chapped Hands

June 4th, 2017

Take common starch and grind it with a knife until it is reduced to the smoothest powder. Take a tin box and fill it with starch thus prepared, so as to have it continually at hand for use. Then every time the hands are taken from the suds, or dish-water, rinse them thoroughly in clean water, wipe them, and while they are yet damp, rub a pinch of the starch thoroughly over them, covering the whole surface. We know many persons formerly afflicted with hands that would chap until the blood oozed from many minute crevices, completely freed from the trouble by the use of this simple remedy.

To rub the hands thoroughly, when damp, with wheat bran will have the same effect as the starch. It is also an excellent remedy for tetter on the hands — will stop the itching at once and effect a speedy cure.

Source: 76: A Cook Book