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

Prickly Heat

February 13th, 2018

Rash, especially on young children, caused by heat. Wash with warm water and soap. Apply alcohol (one part to three of water). Dust with talcum powder.

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

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

Another Remedy for Scarlet Fever

January 18th, 2018

Undress the child and put it to bed at the very first sign of sickness. Give it, if it has already fever, sourish warm lemonade, with some gum arabic in it. Then cover the abdomen with some dry flannel. Take a well-folded bed-sheet and put it in boiling hot water ; wring it out by means of dry towels, and put this over the whole and wait. The hot cloth will perhaps require repeated heating, according to the severity of the case and its stage of progress. Perspiration will commence in the child in from ten minutes to two hours. The child then is saved ; it soon falls to sleep. Soon after the child awakes it shows slight symptoms of returning inclination for food ; if necessary give injections of oil, or soap and water, and its recovery will be as steady as the growth of a green-house plant if well treated. If the above treatment is applied in due time under the eyes and direction of a competent physician, it is said that not one in a hundred children will ever die of scarlet fever.

Source: The Housekeeper’s Friend: A Practical Cookbook

How to Keep Brushes Clean

November 29th, 2017

The best way in which to clean hair-brushes is with spirits of ammonia, as its effect is immediate. No rubbing is required, and cold water can be used just as successfully as warm. Take a tablespoonful of ammonia to a quart of water, dip the hair part of the brush without wetting the ivory, and in a moment the grease is removed; then rinse in cold water, shake well, and dry in the air, but not in the sun. Soda and soap soften the bristles and invariably turn the ivory yellow.

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

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

For Cleaning Hair

November 15th, 2017

Make a thick suds with castile soap and one pint of soft water; add one egg well beaten, two tablespoons of ammonia and two teaspoons of pulverized borax. Bottle it; pour a little on the hair and rinse it off with clean water.

Source: 76: A Cook Book

Shaving Compound

November 7th, 2017

Half a pound of plain, white soap, dissolved in a small quantity of alcohol, as little as can be used; add a tablespoonful of pulverized borax. Shave the soap and put it in a small tin basin or cup; place it on the fire in a dish of boiling water; when melted, add the alcohol, and remove from the fire; stir in oil of bergamot sufficient to perfume it.

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

Toilet Items

October 10th, 2017

Mutton tallow is considered excellent to soften the hands. It may be rubbed on at any time when the hands are perfectly dry, but the best time is when retiring, and an old pair of soft, large gloves thoroughly covered on the inside with the tallow and glycerine in equal parts, melted together, can be worn during the night with the most satisfactory results.

Four parts of glycerine and five parts of yolks of eggs thoroughly mixed, and applied after washing the hands, is also considered excellent.

For chapped hands or face: One ounce of glycerine, one ounce of alcohol mixed, then add eight ounces of rose-water.

Another good rule is to rub well in dry oatmeal after every washing, and be particular regarding the quality of soap. Cheap soap and hard water are the unknown enemies of many people, and the cause of rough skin and chapped hands. Castile soap and rain-water will sometimes cure without any other assistance.

Camphor ice is also excellent, and can be applied with but little inconvenience. Borax dissolved and added to the toilet water is also good.

For chapped lips, beeswax dissolved in a small quantity of sweet oil, by heating carefully. Apply the salve two or three times a day, and avoid wetting the lips as much as possible.

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

Scouring Soap for Cotton and Silk Goods

October 4th, 2017

Mix one pound of common soap, half a pound of beef-gall and one ounce and a half of Venetian turpentine.

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