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Household Hints From 1800s to 1960s Plus

Barbara believes in saving all the great hints left to her from the older generation. Now, she needs a wood stove.

Wood Stove

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The first one was probably used on a wood stove:

Today I am sharing household hints from my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother's handwritten old recipe notebooks and old Webster Composition Books.

  1. To clean the top of your stove, use a piece of emery cloth. This will keep the stove clean and bright. (This has to be a wood stove.)
  2. If a screw top of a jar or bottle will not come off, just heat it a little and it will loosen nicely.
  3. Use old silk stockings in an ordinary mop handle for a dry mop.
  4. Castor oil if rubbed nightly on corns and bunions will cure both. Use the oil until the corn aches, then soak in warm water for a time and the corn can be pulled out.
  5. To give house ferns a rich green color adds a teaspoon of household ammonia to one quart of water and pour over the ferns once or twice a month.
  6. To waterproof material, take equal parts of alum, isinglass and soap. Melt each separately, then combine and paint on the wrong side of the material. (Thankful for Scotchgard.)
  7. To kill dandelion roots, pour gasoline from oil can in the center of the plant.
  8. Hang an empty banana stalk in the chicken house. Chicken lice will cling to it, eat it and die.
  9. Cut off a good-sized carrot about four inches from the top and hollow out the center. Put a small stick through and hang upside down in a sunny window. Keep the hollow filled with water, and in a short time beautiful leaves will appear and grow up over the carrot, making a pretty and inexpensive hanging basket. (This would be a good project for children to do.)
  10. To cement a stove---make a paste of equal parts of wood ashes and salt. Add cold water to make a paste and apply to stove when cold. (Again, it has to be a wood stove.)

33 Useful Kitchen Tricks

Chicken Pen

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Chic-Chic

Household Hints from One of My Mother’s Old Recipe Notebook


  1. Add a generous pinch of baking soda to your beaten egg whites and meringue will stand high.
  2. To eliminate ants, place a small quantity of green sage in cupboards.
  3. When cooking cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage, place a slice of bread over top of vegetable to eliminate odor.
  4. Try adding ½ cup of cranberry sauce with other fruits when making a congealed salad.
  5. To clean aluminum ware, fill with water and add 2 tbs. cream of tartar. Boil for five minutes.
  6. If glue thickens, moisten with vinegar.
  7. To make rice white and fluffy, add 1 tsp. of lemon juice.
  8. Squeeze lemon juice or 1 tbs. vinegar in water of boiled potatoes to keep white.
  9. Peel a narrow strip around the middle of the apples before baking to prevent them from cracking.
  10. Mark pie meringue before baking to prevent from sticking to knife when cutting a cooked pie.
  11. If citrus fruit is warmed before juicing nearly double the quantity of juice will be obtained.

Before heating milk, rinse pan with water to prevent scorching and sticking

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26 Easy Household Tips

More Kitchen Tips

More Kitchen Tips from an Old Book of My Mother's:

1.) If your soup, chili, or any food you cook is too salty--just add sugar.

2.) If it is too sweet--you guessed, it--add salt.

3.) Perk up soggy lettuce--add lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak the lettuce for an hour in the refrigerator. (I did this for a party one time, and it worked.)

4.) To keep bacon from curling up in the frying pan, either soak it in cold water before frying or prick it with a sharp fork.

5.) Mama put rice in her saltshakers to keep out the moisture. It worked.

6.) Here is one my friends and I needed as teenagers left alone one weekend. We could not get the cork out of a bottle of wine--the preacher's daughter brought to the party. Mama's note instructed to run hot water on the neck of the bottle---the heat will expand the glass---and the cork will pop out.

7.) I observed Mama doing this after she and Daddy had finished grinding meat. She ran a piece of bread through the grinder before she washed it. It is easier to wash, she said—it is my cleaner—not so messy when doing it this way. My mama was a smart-common-sense woman. I guess it skipped my teenage generation.

Have You Checked the Attic, Basement or Trunks for Old Recipe Books?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Barbara Purvis Hunter

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