THE following are a number of suggestions that have been helpful to many homemakers. Of course, circumstances differ in each home, so that what may be a time-saver to one may not help another. However, perhaps you can benefit from these practical suggestions.
● CLEANING APRON—Buy or make an apron with large pockets (or use a clothespin apron) to carry some of your rags, sponges, etc., or to use for stray items you pick up as you clean.
● PAINTBRUSH “DUSTER”—A small (1- to 2-inch [2- to 5-cm]) soft paintbrush can be used for dusting delicate items and hard-to-reach places (knickknacks, lampshades, picture frames, even louvered doors).
● WAX WINDOWSILLS AND SASH—They will be easier to dust and keep clean if, after you wash them, you coat them with a hard-finish wax.
● EASIER OVEN CLEANING—Before it becomes dirty, line the bottom with aluminum foil (also line the trays under the gas burners) and coat the interior surface with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 cup of warm water. Though you may have pale-gray streaks on your oven walls, the muck will come off easier when cleaning. Mix a little ammonia in a pan of water. Set this in the oven overnight for easier cleaning the next day.
● PROTECT FLOOR WHEN MOVING HEAVY FURNITURE—Slip an old sock or mitten over each of the legs (you may have to use string or a rubber band to hold them up) so that the legs will not damage the floor and the piece will be easier to move.
● WASHING VINYL OR FORMICA—Simply use a mild hand soap and warm water. Do not make the solution too sudsy. Dry with a soft towel or cloth. Often the leftover pieces from bars of soap can be saved and used in this manner.
● ENERGY-SAVER—Alternate hard tasks with easy ones. Start with something strenuous, such as mopping and waxing the kitchen floor, and then do an easier job, such as sorting dirty clothes or mending. If you have been on your feet ironing, try to make the next job one you can do while sitting down.
● BUCKET “TOOLBOX”—If you carry all your rags, cleansers, brushes, waxes and polishes, window sprays, etc., in a small bucket, it will save you hundreds of extra steps.
● VENETIAN-BLIND “GLOVES”—To wash venetian blinds at the window, wear a cotton glove or an old sock dipped in a pail of thick suds. Squeeze out the excess moisture.
● EFFICIENT DUSTING—Use a soft, damp cloth folded into a pad so that no loose corners will catch on things or leave loose threads on them. Start with the highest items and work down. Dust after you have made the beds but before you clean with water and cleanser. Otherwise the dust may become light mud.
● SCORCHED POTS AND PANS—Soak these overnight in bleach, diluted about 4 to 1. They may require several days to come clean. When food sticks, making the pans very messy, boil a little water in the pan and squirt in some dishwashing liquid before you remove the pan from the stove.
● “DUSTLESS” SWEEPING—To keep dust from flying when you sweep, dampen the broom bristles and the inside of the dustpan. Also, controlled strokes will keep the flying dust at a minimum.
● GREASE SPOT ON RUG—Rub cornmeal into the spot and vacuum it the next day.
● BATHTUB “MOP”—To avoid bending over to remove the dirty ring from the bathtub, go to the toy department and buy yourself a child’s toy wet mop. It will be the perfect size to tackle that “ring” and yet you will not have to bend over and scrub.
● SHAKING OUT A DUST MOP—This unpleasant task can be made simpler by placing the dirty end of the dust mop (while still attached to the handle) in a large paper sack. Close the paper sack around the handle of the mop—holding it firmly shut—and then shake it. If you shake it with the handle pointing up, the dirt will settle to the bottom of the sack and can then be discarded easily.