Friday, February 27, 2009

28 February 1955 "Communism, Cleaning, and Clothing"

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), was an international organization for collective defense created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty or the Manila Pact, which was signed on September 8, 1954. The formal institution of SEATO was established at a meeting of treaty partners in Bangkok in February 1955. It was primarily created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia. The organization's headquarters were located in Bangkok, Thailand. SEATO was dissolved on June 30, 1977.
Despite being intended to provide a collective, anti-communist shield to Southeast Asia, SEATO was unable to intervene in the conflicts in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam because an intervention required a decision of unanimity, which was never reached; France and the Philippines objected. (again, here we see the turmoil bubbling up that would lead our country into the tangled web that would become Vietnam)

The United States sought, but failed, to make the Vietnam War into a SEATO collective defense problem.

Here is a stamp showing SEATO. This stamp is most likely from 1958 or on as in 1955 a stamp would cost you 3 cents. Interesting cost comparrison. A three cent stamp in 2009 money would be 24 cents. So, we can see the increase in postage has gone up.
(someone also mentioned on the last blog about the cost of housing today being higher tied to the smaller structures of those built in the 1950s. Perhaps it is just that I live in a more expensive area, but my friend bought a 1950s ranch a few towns over from me. It is very small and in the same square footage as when it was built in the late 1950s. Therefore as a model, it is the same size then available. This house cost almost $300,000.00 which in 1955 money would be $38,000.00 While records of the time state such a house in size would be around $3,500.00. I think that demonstrates the inflated real estate market at least in the area of New England that I live.)

Britain announced last week that it can and soon will produce its own hydrogen bombs. The decision was announced in a tough-minded White Paper on Defense.

"Communist military strength continues to grow at an impressive rate . . . The Soviet Union and her Eastern European satellites have some 6,000,000 men under arms. On the German front, the Soviet army could be increased to well over 100 divisions within 30 days."

The fear of Communism was fairly stong then. Yet we think little of it now, I think at least the average American, however one of the growing powers of the world is Communist China. Our country has a growing debt to that country and such places as Walmart and other big chains get their supplies from China both, I think, at the cost of their own peoples freedoms and our own, by allowind the small town America to dissapear.

That is enough news for today, onto the home:

I want to talk about cleaning today. We all have to do it in some form or another. For me it has become a new experience. I obviously cleaned before, but my version of cleaning was the "when it's dirty wipe it up, vacuum it, or attack the dust now that it has formed" sort of cleaning. I was like the person who didn't take vitamins or exercise and just waited to get sick and then took the antibiotics, but with cleaning.

Now, as it should be I suppose, I do what I call 'preventative cleaning'. This is really the revelation I have had with this project. Instead of waiting for the dust bunnies to grow and become a strong army under my beds and sofas, I vaccuum out their little burroughs before they get a chance. I am sure this is not a revelation to most of you out there, but it really was to me. Cleaning was the thing you did when it started to get bad. Then it was annoying and a chore that went on and on and took up an entire day without time for dinner. Now, thanks to my magazines and housekeeping manual, I treat this as part of the job of Homemaker.

It is interesting to me, as much has become with this project, how what I had once percieved as hours of drudgery, actually takes less time when done on a daily up-keep program. It also leaves me more time to do more things I like. When we view the 1950s housewife as either a lie or some superwoman we are doing it with these modern eyes. However, when you really do a small amount of upkeep a day, you really do have time to make that cake from scratch, suspend an entire dinner in jello and still have time to put on "somthing pretty" before hubby gets home. Now, how does this translate to a modern person who may not have a husband or who does not care how they look for their hubby? That is easy: More time to do what you want and still have a clean and happy home. I think that is an amazing discovery. I am sure it seems silly to most of you, as you are all probably better organized then I have been, but really this realization that has been coming on is phenomenal to my life. It is allowing me to really think, "maybe I can do all ( or most) of the things I do want to try to do in my life before the final end."

Now, don't get me wrong,.I am definitely still in the beginning stages of the proficiency in cleaning. I would not go head to head with a seasoned 1955 housewife. Not yet anyway (maybe by December), but I am learning. I am also learning that although this is the decade that really begins the barrage of products for cleaning (as well as packaged foods endless ready made inexpensive clothes etc) we are still the women who went through the war. We were the individuals who had to wash their hands with the soap scum left in the soap dish as that was all that was left. We had to make a dinner with no meat left in our rations and potato flour. Although the aisles in my grocery store are now full to brimming with fun bright products, I am, I believe, still frugal. I think I really would be. Maybe if I were 20 in 1955 it would be different, but I am closer to 40 than 20, so I think my frugality and need to economize would be ingrained in me. This is good, as this is a trait I am trying to slowly adapt to my modern life.

When I started this project I thought I would have to put economy and caring for the environment on the back burner for awhile. That the 1950's were all plastic and waste. Yet, again, I am finding that our perceptions of that past are not always true. Though my magazines are filled with ads for new products, the articles are full of what to do with leftovers and how to economize in cleaning. Most housewives had a limited weekly budget in which to buy food, clothes, fabric for sewing, and cleaning supplies. Although all the new products for cleaning this and that sounded nice, I think many probably stuck with the old standbys.

I have never really thought about cleaning products until this project. I shopped for cleaning products like a person who could not read. "Ah, a picture of a toilet on this bottle, that's for that then. Oh, kitchen counters on the label, ok, in the cart you go. Hey, that has a bathtub sparkling on the back, better get that one, too." And so on until you have a cabinet brimming with all these cleaning products when you really only need a few.
Then I start to think about all the plastic and waste to make all these things and the energy it took to get me to think I needed all these separate things to clean. The consumerism is so ingrained into me and my generation, it never even dawned on me that you could buy one bottle to do it all. But, you can.

These are my two new friends. The first is the supermarket version of Pine-sol. If you follow the link there to Pine-sol you can find some interesting info, such as in 2008 they took out the pine oil to make it have a cleaner lemon scent favored by the country despite its losing its cleaning and disenfecting qualities! Seriously! The original formula is anti-bacterial. A phrase we hear much today and yet they changed the formula in the lemon scent and made it no longer anti-bacterial. Odd.

Anyway, I like the smell. I think it adds a vintage odor to my kitchen and cleaning, as I am sure it was used for many things. You can use this on almost everything. 1/4 cup of this mixed with water is great for floors AND if you keep it wet for 10 mintues while you are mopping, you do not have to rinse! I know if you buy floor cleaner it is mostly water. This is the concentrate and you mix it yourself. When I think of all the money and waste of using a swiffer. All those little pre-soaked pads to toss away and the packaging they come in. When a bucket of water and pinesol and a sponge mop does an even better job AND disenfects the floor to boot! You can also use it in laundry to boost your detergent and it works GREAT for stains of grease and it is the one thing I found the really works for grease on mens collared dress shirts. It does wonders in the bath, too. For more upkeep cleaning I prefer it to comet in the bathroom, as it really cleans AND it disenfects and it doesn't seem as harsh as straight bleach. I even pour it in undiluted into the toilet bowls and let it set for 10 minutes, give it a good scrub and flush. It really sparkles and keeps down hardwater stains. ( I sound like a commercial, I know! These are great revelations to me during the day. And don't think I haven't stood alone in my bathroom, hair in curlers, rubber-gloved for action, gripping my pinesol, saying alout, "Wow, this works great in the bath!" I am my own sitcom somtimes WITH commercials!)
The other product is Lemon oil. That bottle cost $5.00 but honestly I may have it for the rest of my life! I could put it in my will for my heirs, no doubt. According to the recipe in my Homemakers manual, you treat cheesecloth with it and it makes a REUSABLE dustcloth. And you know what, it really does and it works wonders and it smells WONDERFUL. You can also use it full strength on wood furniture. Again, I think of the spray on aresol stuff for dusting or even all the other 'swiffer' products that just get tossed, but you know what. A treated cheesecloth can be washed after awhile and used again! I know it is a strange idea things to clean with that you DON'T throw away.

It is funny to me how we now claim to be trying to become green and I am sure I am not the only person who would have thought of the 1950s as a time of waste. Now we buy 'Green' products, but they are all divided into separate types of cleaners in more bottles to fill up more landfills. We have merely replaced buying the other brands with buying a 'safer' brand but have not done away with the waste and consumerism that lead to our polluting in the first place! It is very subtle how the marketing works. It lets us feel better about ourselves when we pay more for a product that is probably watered down old time cleaner in new packaging. But, is it green? The main ingredient in my knock off pine-sol is pine oil. Now I know that has to be green and is probably harvested from the wood from the processing of lumber and yet the NEW lemon pinesol does away with it. That now wastes a perfectly good byproduct of something we do need, lumber. Also, in concentrate form, which is what Pine-sol is, you have less packaging and less cost to you. I bet even the high-end 'green' cleaners are mostly water and of course packaging!
Now, don't get me wrong. Some of the cute bright fun quality of this decade is wonderful and can make cleaning more fun. This article I found sort of explains that and shows some cute retro inspired items. If you want to spend a pretty penny, why not make a lovely cleaning section in your house. However, what I am finding is it is more fun is to realize that the basic cleaning products Can be made pretty. For example the above image of my 'new discovery' looks more adorable when I affix this label I designed to it. Here you can see it on the bottle. Isn't it adorable? (the colors are truer to the image of just the label) Sure, you are thinking, do I have too much time on my hands. But, no! The time I saved on not lingering in the cleaning aisle over all the choices and the time I have from my daily cleaning ritual afforded it to me. I know, I know, it is a bit extreme, and really not '1955' to design and print out a new label on my computer, but honestly I don't see it any differently than cutting out a cute magazine picture and decorating with shelf paper that a real 1955 housewife may have done. A housewife has a NEED, I tell you, to beautify. We are artists, everyone one of us, and we need to express ourselves. I like a simple vintage cleaning product with a darling handmade label, so sue me.

Now, continuing on with our cleaning theme, I thought I would talk about tablecloths again. As some of you may remember, I used to have a somewhat nervous psychological disorder I like to call "Spillidous", that is the indescribable fear a homemaker feels when watching family and guests eat blueberry pie and other highly stainable items over her nice vintage linens. Its symptoms include feigned interest in a speakers story while being gripped with fear that the forkful of cherry/blueberry cobbler won't make it to the mouth of her guest as he drones on about God knows what, but, for cyring out loud, DON'T SPILL ON MY LINENS! A very serious condition I have since tried to rectify.
The add here for Oilcloth intrigued me, as did all of your comments on plastic tablecloths.
I found this site that has oil cloth made products with vintage inspired oil cloth. This cool site has some oilcloth placemats that I am considering. I think they are a good price. Then I thought, well I could sew my own table cloths and placemats. So this site has some yard goods. I do notice, however, that they call it oilcloth but it is in fact vinyl backed with cotton. The Vermont Contry Store has genuine oil cloth, but it is expensive and the only one I would even consider is the red gingham. I think the others are a bit 80's. So, I may do the yardage of the vinyl to start. I figure for only two yards I can make a nice size table cloth which would be under 20 dollars plus it says they are having a sale until March. However, the other site has a finished product for 20 dollars. Do you think that is alot to pay for somthing of this quality?
What do any of you think? I don't want to break the bank and I know the vinyl isn't really 'period correct', but what is a vintage gal to do? I think the cleaning aspect coupled with the price tells me to go with that, but the authenticity tells me to just buck up and pay a little more for the real thing. And I am having no success finding the real thing except for the Country store and I don't like the design. Oh, well. The dilemmas of the homemaker.

Now to the sewing room: As you know I am beginning to become obsessed with patterns and fabric. It is all very exciting to think that I can choose the design and color and cut of my own clothing. It also helps the pocketbook to make your own compared to the cost of a vintage dress on ebay. They often sell faily high and the cost of reproductions are often much greater than what it would cost to do it myself. This photo of this blue dress inspired the recent trip to the fabric store with my vintage friend and resulted in a new pattern and some fabric. I will post more about these tomorrow. I had also promised to talk more about finding vintage things, such a stocking and things online, but I think I will leave that for tomorrows post, as well.I had promised to talk more about finding vintage things, such a stocking and things online, but I think I will leave this for tomorrows post.
Speaking of clothing, however, sometimes I need to mix modern with vintage to stretch my wardrobe (until I get more sewing done at least)
Here I am wearing a vintage cardigan, but wore one of my husbands tuxedo shirts with pearls and the skirt is actaully from ebay. It is Talbots and I don't think it is old. I think it does look vintage though, do you?
I really will begin to put more photos of different outfits I wear as well as my clothes I am making as they progress. I just need to get into the habit.
Speaking of such photos, yesterday was a lovely warm 50 degrees here in New England, so on the way back from our fabric shopping, my vintage friend and I stopped and snapped these pictures of one another. I tried to make them look like a tinted vintage photo. Nothing like heels and hose at the beach. (My vintage friend is in the pencil skirt and orange sweater.)

And, finally, the radio station in Australia that interviewed me sent me the l final show they broadcast. My only problem is I am trying to figure out how to post audio to my blog. They didn't send me a link but rather the MP3 of the interview. If anyone knows how to do this, chime in with some help. Also, the TimeWarpWives website is going to interview me for their site. That is a written interview, so I won't have to worry about MP3's and such. They do want some photos to go along with it. I will let you know with a link when that is published.
Until tomorrow, then, happy homemaking.


  1. This may sound strange, but I love the smell of Murphy's Oil Soap when I mop my wood floors and wash my woodwork (my house was built in 1917 -- lots of woodwork!). To me it is such a "clean" smell.

    I remember a tips for home-sellers article I once read, in which you were advised to rub a little Lemon Pledge on the lightbulb in your living room. Prospective buyers were inclined by the smell to assume that the house was clean and well-cared for!

  2. I forgot to mention Murhpys oil soap. I also use this on my woodfloors and it does wonders and smells so fresh and clean.

  3. I really enjoyed today's post. Such a variety of topics and lots of nice pictures!

    I'm so glad you have an IRL friend to share your experience with. I think that was what was lacking for Marzipan when she attempted to "go 50s."

    I also love the revelation that is coming about caring for your HOME (not just a house) and how being a superwoman has just never happened!


  4. Just finishing off our vintage evening, the guests just left and Gussie and I just cleared the dishes and put those in the dishwasher (so nice to have back!) we could and put the pots to soak. Now, we are all off to bed. It was a successful night. I will post pics of dinner with recipes tomorrow.
    Roxanne-I agree, that poor Marzipan would have been happier with some vintage friends. I also think maybe her husband wasn't really thrilled about the whole endeavour, luckily I have a sweetheart who is excited about meals done and home cared for and he NEVER feels bad that he doesn't get to cook!
    I hope everyone had a fun Saturday.

  5. I love seing photos of you! :) You look very lovely! I think you have to live the fifties life for many more years to come with that lovely collection of clothes.

    Your view of cleaning is very Danish. We have a saying that three to four cleaning products are enough for doing all kinds of jobs: soap flakes (vintage products that is great for cleaning wooden floors and the like), soft soap (the vintage brown type) is great for doing almost all kinds of cleaning, modern detergent for dishwashing does most cleaning jobs too, and of course a modern toilet cleaning product. That's all. I almost live by that rule and it works fine.

    About your tablecloth problem, as I mentioned before I think you should buy a modern white damask tablecloth for daily use and then use your vintage tablecloths for dinner parties. In Denmark the oilcloth didn't become common until the early seventies. I think most fifties housewives would have used ordinary tablecloths.

    Have a lovely Sunday. :)

  6. I have seen vinyl by the yard at my local fabric store. I use it all the time on my table. It will last a long time and then when it is looking old I use it for picnics or drop cloths etc. I think it would be cheaper than online.

    I love your blog. Thank-you for sharing all of your great vintage ideas.

  7. I posted above about the vinyl by the yard above.
    I forgot to mention that you can also buy clear vinyl at the fabric store. My grandmother used to (I do too) put her cloth tablecloths on the table with the clear vinyl overtop. It is wipeable and you get to enjoy the beauty of your tablecloth and not worry about spills for everyday use. Use a cloth without the vinyl only for very special occasions.

    Also wanted to comment on the cleaning products. I agree that companies and marketing has gone way overboard. I use mainly dish detergent to clean most of my home. I use disinfectants only when needed. Vinegar and baking soda clean most things. I do use Comet in the bathroom.


  8. Wow, your waist is so tiny in that photo! I reckon with the scarcity of attractive oilcloth, you should just use a 50s style print in the vinyl. Thanks for the info about the stockings, I think I'll try some reproduction 50s ones and see how long they last.

  9. I love your blog! Each post is just so interesting and well-written :)

  10. I'm always stunned at the housing prices in the Northeast and other expensive areas of the US. I'm guessing your friend's house is around 1000 sq feet or less? I went over to and looked at the houses for sale in my area. The most expensive house that was over 50 years old and around 1000 sq feet was less than 100K!

    I saw a commercial a while back for some window cleaner that was advertising that they had added vinegar to their formula. I thought to myself that vinegar mixed with water has worked fine for me for years without an expensive advertising campaign. Those companies don't want you to figure out that you can get a whole lot of frugal cleaning done with basic items like vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, bleach, oil soap, dish soap etc... (Be careful as some of these items should never be combined!) Of course the companies that make the new cleaning products, won't get rich if everybody makes up their own mixes!

    Thanks for the tip about using a pine oil based cleaner for grease stains in the laundry! I've always just dabbed a little dish washing soap on grease stains.

    Love the pictures of you and your friend by the sea!

    Have a good week!

  11. baking soda and vinegar add a lovely shine to my bathroom, ie. shower base, basins and bathtub... and at $1 for 500g of baking soda and $2 for 2 litres of white vinegar it's quite a steal

  12. I always thought baking soda and vinegar made a foamy explosion as you would use in a science experiment volcano, so I will have to try.
    My waist is not really that skinny but thanks to my merry widow and its tightening buckles and zipper. I only wear it when I am going out and doing fun things and want to look nipped in. My daily normal wear girdle brings my waist in about 1 to 2 inches but the merry widow (the dior foundation for the new look) does wonders but you don't want to go hiking in it or scrub floors. My girdle, however, is rather comfortable and I clean with it on and never really notice it chafing or uncomfortable.
    I am going to bottle my 'own brand' of window cleaner too with a fun label for my pantry. Good advice and I am going to try the vinegar and soda, does anyone know the proportion to use and can I decant it and keep it for awhile?
    hairball-yes my friends 50s house on the Cape is definitely under 1000 sq feet. It was most likely a summer cottage in the 50s and about 2000 to build. The prices have fallen somewhat out here, but not much, we live in an area by the ocean and many people vacation here so the prices tend to stay very high. you couldnt by land for under 100,000 here and I am talking under 1/2 acre of land. Across the street from us is a 1 acre lot for 250,000 for the land only, if that gives you any idea of costs. It is crazy out here, but I would not want to live anywhere else in the country I don't think, I love New England. Don't get me wrong there is so much pretty country in the usa but I guess I am just a New Englander at heart.

  13. Re: Comet. My housewifing in the '50's mom alway taught me to use scouring product BonAmi, with the little yellow chick on the front and the logo "Hasn't scratched yet!" *wayyy cute* because it really doesn't scratch yet still does a great job. Sadly Comet has pumice in it and will polish off the sheen on the porceline fixtures, such as tubs and sinks. I saw neighbors houses that were brand new in the 50's need new sinks and tubs in the 70's because once the sheen is gone, the porceline absorbs grime. My mom still has her original sinks almost fifty years later, and they still look great!
    When in doubt, scrub with baking soda, if that doesn't do it, upgrade to Bon Ami..I even use it to take silvery utensil marks off of china safely.

  14. Wow, great tip Thooughts on life, I will try that. I guess I need to look up the combination of vingear and soda as no one will tell me the combination to use and I am scared of a science experiment gone awry!

  15. The pictures of you and your friend are great!

    I'm with everyone else on using baking soda and vinegar. I use those for almost everything. I have the books, Vim and Vinegar by Vickie by Melodie Moore and Baking Soda by Vicki Lansky. Both books show you how to clean just about everything with these two products. The smell of vinegar only lasts a short time, so don't let that frighten you. And, as someone else pointed out, you can put a drop of your pine scented cleaner on your light bulb if you want that pine clean scent.

    I really like your homemade labels, they are much nicer looking than the original labels. How did you affix them to the bottle?

  16. I used good old fashioned Scotch tape. Simple. I still need to know the ratio of vinegar to baking soda, anyone? ALso, I am STILL trying to figure out how to get my MP3 of my interview to embed in my blog and cannot figure it out even though I visited many sites and uploaded it many times. HELP!

  17. I don't usually mix baking soda and vinegar except to clean a clogged drain. For a clogged drain pour in about 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. After about a minute pour boiling hot water from the kettle down the drain.

    I use baking soda to clean burnt pots and pans, the broiler pan, aluminum marks on the counter top or even fruit juice spots. It is great for scrubbing sinks - both porcelin and stainless steel. Add it to your laundry (1/4 to 1/2 cup per load) if you have hard water. Put some in a water bottle for a few hours and then wash your water bottle well as usual before you use it - the baking soda will absorb any odors in the water bottle. Baking soda will also take crayon marks off walls without removing paint if you are gentle. I use it for a gentle scour where ever dish soap will not remove what I am cleaning.

    As for vinegar - it works great to clean windows and mirrors although for windows and mirrors I also clean them with very warm water to which just a drop of dish soap has been added. No need to rinse. Most times air drying is all that is needed. I learned this from my father who washes his vehicle windows with warm water and dish soap.

    Other uses for vinegar - it will help to remove cooking odors from the home if you set a couple of glasses on your counter after cooking fish or something odorous.
    Vinegar soaked cloths can be set over hard water stains on sinks and faucets. To prevent hard water on sinks and faucets wipe them down frequently after use.
    I do not use fabric softeners but 1/2 cup vinegar used during the rinse cycle will help remove remaining soap residue from clothes. I don't use it all the time but when my children were babies I used it in the final rinse on their clothing and crib sheets. I used 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 1/2 gallons of water to keep down odors in the diaper pail (cloth diapers) and always used vinegar in the first rinse of the diapers followed by a clean water rinse.

    Another use for vinegar - I rinse out our camping water jug with some vinegar and water and let it air dry (after washing it of course). This seems to keep it odor free.

    Sunshine is great for whitening clothes and is also a natural disinfectant - or so I've been told. I love hanging the laundry out to dry to get clothes their whitest and brightest. It is natural and environmentally friendly.

    I think it is easier on everything in your home to clean it with the mildest cleanser possible such as dish soap. If the dish soap won't clean something then try gently scrubbing with baking soda. If that won't do it then resort to something stronger. Be extra careful not to ever mix cleansers.

    The bathroom is where I would definately disinfect around the toilet and possibly the sink.

    In the kitchen I am careful to use clean dishcloths and towels daily or even twice daily. After wiping up after handling raw meat I wash down the area carefully with hot soapy water and dry - then the towel and dishcloth go in the laundry and new ones come out. You may use bleach water as directed on the bleach bottle to disinfect as well.

    Hopefully this helps.
    Michelle (as above)

    p.s. Hot water and a sheet of tin foil in the bottom of a pan with baking soda added to the water can be used to clean tarnish off silver. I don't remember the exact proportions. However I would not use it on pieces where there is etching and dark areas that are supposed to be there as it will remove all the tarnish. If you use your silver often and wash and dry it, it won't need to be polished often.

  18. Oh, I forgot to mention your lovely hair and waist! You definately don't look like one who needs to drop some pounds. :)

    And I also forgot that in Denmark everybody uses cloths (rags?), that we use for the cleaning job and then wash and reuse until they are completely worn. The last job they do is to e.g. polish silver ware and then they are finally trashed.

  19. I use mainly distilled white vinegar and Bon Ami for my cleaning. Bon Ami has no bleach or dyes and has been around since the 1880s. I absolutely love it, it makes my stove sparkle.

  20. If you can find a plastic cheese shaker like you sometimes see at pizza places, you could put your baking soda in that to make it easy to use for scouring. I wonder if you could reuse a plastic jar (like the kind that mayonnaise comes in) and carefully drill or punch some holes in the lid? That would be very frugal but, I don't know if the plastic would crack when you tried to drill or punch the holes? Hmm, I should try this when I empty out my next jar!

    I also use vinegar instead of fabric softener. I have a front loader and just fill up the dispenser. When I used to use commercial fabric softener, I would dilute it 50% with vinegar. The smell of vinegar will not linger on your clothing so don't worry about smelling like a salad! :)

    I had read about using vinegar to remove odors from plastic containers and tried it this weekend. I had a stinky plastic container that I wanted to reuse in my kitchen. I poured about an inch of vinegar in the bottom and put the lid on and shook it up so that the inside surface was completely wet. ( You might want to do this over the sink, bathtub, or even outside in case it leaks!) Then I just let it sit overnight. The next morning I poured out the vinegar and rinsed out the container with water. I was amazed that the odor was completely gone!

    LOL my verification word was "retio"!
    So very close to "retro"!

  21. 50sgal,

    You don't combine the vinegar and baking soda until you are actually ready to clean something. For example, in my book, if you want to clean your shower head, you combine 1/4 C. of baking soda and 1 C. vinegar into a strong bag and tie it onto and over the shower head. You let that sit for an hour. For the tub, you sprinkle baking soda (the baking soda is basically a substitute for scouring powder)on the tub and scrub with a cloth saturated with vinegar and then rinse. For all-purpose wiping down of counters, etc., you can mix half water and half vinegar into a spray bottle. If a little scrubbing is necessary, sprinkle a little baking soda onto the counter and then spray with the vinegar/water mixture.

    If there is any specific task that you want a "recipe" for, just let me know and I'll pass along to you what the books recommend for that specific task.

  22. Love the pictures, you look marvellous!

    So I am going back and reading from the start, too, in my spare time (and insomniatic nights). Hubby was still up and we were both amazed about the removal of pine oil from Pine-Sol! But of course the store brand still uses it. You know, though I make our mac & cheese from scratch, a year or so ago we realized that the store brand used real cheese, while Kraft no longer does. It's a soy or corn product instead of cheese (soy and corn both being quite bad for us). Remarkable!

    Lately I've been using boiling water & vinegar to clean everything, everything! We have a Pergo floor in the kitchen, and I'm not sure pine-cleaner is safe; I do know that I don't like the manufactured chemical-ly stuff sold for the purpose, especially with pets who tend to wander over it.

    For furniture and wood I use a freshly well-whisked mix of warm water, veggie oil, and about a drop of vinegar on old rags (like old, soft cotton jammies that were faded and gross; instead of junking them, I cut them up and use them to clean! The ladybugs and butterflies are quite cute to look at while cleaning, too.). We have a growing collection of 1940s and 50s furniture, though, so perhaps I'll have to look for the lemon oil. Cleaning it makes me nervous.

    I also use a mix of vinegar, water, and a little liquid dish soap to clean mirrors and wonders! That I mix up when necessary in a spray bottle from the dollar store; the 'recipe' is written neatly on the outside, but I may have to add a cute picture. :)

    Will definitely have to try Bon Ami. Our home, built in 1951, was occupied solely by bachelors until we purchased it a couple of years ago (just 2 previous owners, actually, but both were single). Solid house, but the tub...! Eeeek! I've done everything short of set off a nuclear weapon in the tub and fear that the sheen is gone and we'll have to refinish it or something, but perhaps Bon Ami will save the money, the tub, and finally allow me to take a bubble bath in my own home. Thankfully, the rest of the bathroom (almost all original, beautiful aqua & black tile) looks lovely and is quite a joy to me.

    Funny you brought up communism and China, especially now and with how much of our debt they hold. It's rather frightening...And amazing, when a month or so ago at some international summit...Well, maybe you don't want to hear that since it's 2009 stuff and not 1955.

    You are also quite right about cleaning/straightening daily and beautifying. I think some folks just don't ever clean because by the point they realize it has to be done, it's just too daunting and they KNOW it will take DAYS. Sometimes I recommend (being the housewife, they cry to me) that they just take one room or one surface at a time...Say, clean the living room one day, then the bathroom, then the kitchen, or clean the countertops one day, then the closets, then the floor (some folks have stacks of stuff on the floor, of course). Plus it's amazing when we do so to learn what we're thrilled to give away or put in the garage sale box.

  23. Just a little comment on pine oil - if you have cats don't use it... it's poisonous to them!


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