412 IDEAL HOME LIFE
ble substance for water pipes in houses, and not more expensive than lead, is desirable.
In many houses the traps in waste pipes are badly .constructed. They become clogged with more or less solid material, especially with filth; they often fail to prevent the upward passage of noxious gases from sewers and cesspools, which may be the more harmful because odorless. The trap is merely an obstruction which is formed by a crooked pipe and a column of water. It is not impossible that many gases can penetrate this obstruction and not lose their power to produce mischief. It is, therefore, a very difficult matter to decide that one is sufficiently protected from such evils. The use of suitable disinfectants in traps—like chloride of lime, or chloride of iron—will • be of service, but the complete remedy will come only when a more perfect system of house plumbing has been developed.
The abandonment in many houses of the systems of water pipes is a confession of weakness. Besides, even when this has been done, it has usually been done only in part, the bathroom and watercloset pipes being retained, so that if infection were present in a given house, it would still be present, even though in a minor degree, when any waste pipes at all remain.
In addition to the foregoing, there are certain general considerations which should always be regarded, if the home is to be considered as satisfying fundamental sanitary requirements. It must be kept clean and free from dust and dirt. " Cleanliness is next to godliness" in more respects than one. It should be kept from bad odors, that is, the air supply should be ample. It should not be overloaded with furniture, and particularly with curtains and hangings, which shut out air and light, and accumulate dirt, disease germs, etc. From the sanitary standpoint it would be better to do away with these things, and substitute those which can be freely washed and scrubbed, and which can harbor no elements of disease. From an aesthetic point it is to be feared that such a crusade would at least be premature. Beds and bedding must be an especial object for sanitary regulation. Iron or brass bedsteads, hard and clean hair mattresses, sheets of cotton or linen always clean, blan-