14 Housekeeping Tips: Using What You Got

Here are 14 housekeeping tips on keeping a house tidy, including washing wood, bug repellent, mice, dampness and must, grease spots and stains, septic tanks.

| January/February 1976

Cleaning Supplies

There is no need to buy a bunch of spray bottles at the local store. These 14 tips will help homesteaders use things they already have around the home.


Friends, forget that Super-Duper Wonderworking Miracle in the plastic bottle with the spray attachment on top. You don't need such stuff — or vacuum cleaners, chemical spot removers, aerosol bombs, or detergents — to keep your home clean, tidy, and sweet smelling.

Many of the ingredients called for in the following housekeeping tips will be found in your kitchen cupboard or shed or growing beside the duck pond. Others can be bought at a pharmacy or hardware store for a fraction of what you'd pay for a name brand polluter.

When something breaks, sticks, gets dirty, or takes more elbow grease than seems necessary, you really don't have to go to the store for an answer. Instead, look around you. Use the materials at hand and make do. And if your ideas work, pass 'em on!

1. When you sweep, give your broom extra muscle by first sprinkling the rugs and floors with damp sawdust, bran, old tea leaves, fresh crass cuttings, or salt (best of all for taking up ashes and soot). Dust and dirt cling to these substances instead of just blowing around.

2. To prevent dampness in your cellar or milk room, place a box of fresh lime on the floor. A peck of the chemical will absorb three quarts of water and still appear dry. When the lime has served its purpose indoors, use it in the garden to condition overly acid soil.

3. Cover grease spots in carpets with buckwheat and repeat the application until all the oil is absorbed. If the stain is kerosene, sprinkle it with powdered chalk, lay a brown paper bag over the area, and place a hot iron on top of the sack to draw out the mark.

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