Thursday, 18 April 2013

Cleaning like it's 1938

While begrudgingly cleaning my house this morning I wondered how often I really need to clean. I am not talking about putting toys away but about hygiene. I put off most of the big cleaning jobs, week after week.

In the last six months my shower has been cleaned twice. The toilet gets a weekly clean but the shower is forever avoided. Mopping the floor is another neglected area. The last time I mopped the floor we were in the middle of a gastro outbreak.* The kind where vomit ends up on the floor and you really just can't use a tea towel to mop it up.

Have you ever wondered how often you need to be cleaning certain things? I started an online search but this only led me to find hundreds of cleaning freaks who were spruiking their OCD-style cleaning schedule. No thank you!

Cleanliness = happiness according to my nana's 1938
domestic science handbook. 
I then began an offline search and found an old domestic science book my Nana gave me. It was written in 1938 and was full of all kinds of old fashioned cleaning goodness.

According to the author, "cleanliness is the foundation of modern life" and that it is because of cleanliness that "we can all live together in comfort and happiness."

It sounds like cleanliness is the answer to achieving a happy household or even, dare I say it, world peace.

The reader is urged to keep three things in mind when maintaining a clean household:

  • Flies are evil - Flies are described as deadly creatures that harbour the "summer diarrhea that kills many babies annually".  

  • Heat - Heat is a good bacteria killer. One of its best uses is natural sunlight. The author suggests that a housewife can simply, "open [the] windows and strong sunlight will kill most germs in a couple of hours." Now this is too easy!

  • Ice - Food on ice is an "excellent hygiene method." No mention of a fridge here. It is 1938 after all.  

In looking at these three simple cleaning criterias I don't feel so bad. Time to rip off my apron, open the windows to let the sunshine in, put the food on ice, get my fly spray ready and put my feet up!

I would be quite happy cleaning 1930s style.

* This post was actually written a couple of weeks ago and since then I have been forced to mop the floor more times in this last fortnight than I did all year! There have been a number of wee-wee accidents, large spillages and mud trampled through the house that has moved me to such great cleanliness. With such a clean floor I am thoroughly enjoying dropping food and eating it straight off the floor without a worry.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lis. It was a bit of fun reading through the book.

  2. This made me smile. Thats a lovely thought the breeze blowing through open windows where the streaming sunlight kills the germs! Too easy!

  3. You make me laugh! So good to read from someone who is not afraid to say how it is in real life; and great to know I'm not the only one who's neglecting some of the house work.

    1. Thanks Steph. Neglecting the housework is important if we're ever going to rest, sleep, eat, play. It will never be done unfortunately!