The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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To make Shirt Bosoms Glossv.—Dissolve 3 ounces of gum arabic, clean, powdered and white, in 1 pint of water; when dis­solved thoroughly, strain it shrough a piece of muslin, or cotton cloth, and bottle for use. One spoonful of this gum water added to a pint of starch will give a beautiful smooth gloss to cotton or linen fabrics.
For Washing and Bleaching Laces.—Put one teaspoonful of borax to 1 pint of boiling water, leave your articles in soak in the solution for 2 hours, then wash with a little soap.
To Clean Thread Lace.—When the thread lace has been tack­ed to a bottle, take the best sweet oil and saturate the lace thorough­ly. Have ready in a wash kettle a strong, cold lather of clear soap and water, immerse the bottle in it, and boil it for more than one hour, till the lace is clear and white through. Drain out of the suds and dry'it on the bottle in the sun. Then take it off, and lay it in long folds between sheets of white paper in a heavy book.
Silks, when washed, should be dried in the shade on a line or linen horse, taking care that they are kept smooth and unwrinkled.
To clean Silk Ribbons.—One-half pint of gin, 1-2 lb. of clear honey, 1-2 lb. of soft soap, 1-2 pint of salt water; mix the above in­gredients together, then lay each breadth of silk upon a clean table or dresser, and scrub it well on the soiled side with the mixture.
Silk handkerchiefs should be washed alone, soaked an hour or two in cold water and soaped as they are washed, then rinsed in soft water, in which a handful of common salt has been dissolved.
To prevent Silk Handkerchiefs losing their Color.—Dip them,or any other colored silk article, into salt and water before they are washed, which will preserve the color, (a small handful of com­mon salt in a wash-basin of water.)
Black Silk Dresses, if very dirty, must be washed, but if not soiled, soaking for 24 hours will do; if old and musty, a pint of com­mon spirits should be mixed with each gallon of water, which is an improvement under any circumstances. Brewers beer is good, whether soaked or washed ; it should be hung up to drain, and dried without wringing.
Flat Irons, when irot in use, should be kept in a perfectly dry place. They should never be allowed to stand on the range after the ironing. The bottoms of them should be thoroughly clean and polished smooth.