It’s almost Mother’s Day, so it’s fitting that today’s blog post is all about moms! And while we love and appreciate our own moms, today’s post is not about them. Today we’ll be talking about our moms’ moms. That’s right, it’s all about Grandma today! :-)
My grandma lived through the Great Depression, as I’m sure many of your grandmothers did. And while that experience taught her to be thrifty and resourceful, it definitely didn’t lower her standards! She kept the house clean and tidy, kept her kids fed with homemade meals, and did it all on an extremely limited budget. She was a force to be reckoned with, as were all of the women who grew up during that challenging time!
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While modern technology and resources have made many housekeeping tasks easier, there’s still a lot we can learn from how Grandma used to do things. So today I’ll be sharing 24 brilliant housekeeping tips that come straight from our grandmothers. These tips make it easy to keep a clean and tidy house that Grandma would be proud of, and they’ll save you money and resources in the process!
24 Housekeeping Hacks We Can Learn From Grandma
1. Deep Clean With The Seasons
Many of our grandmothers used to plan bigger cleaning projects in sync with the seasons. It’s a good way to distribute more demanding cleaning tasks throughout the year! Here’s a basic outline you can follow to deep clean with the seasons:
- In the spring, deep clean the carpets and get rid of clutter.
- In the summer, clean the exterior of your house, including windows.
- For fall, wash the insides of your windows and change your furnace filter to prepare for colder weather.
- And in the winter, vacuum your mattresses (and flip them, if applicable) and clear clothes you don’t wear out of your closets.
2. Crisp Sheets With Less Ironing
Grandma had a super simple way to get bedsheets crisp without having to iron a full sheet, and you can do it to! After washing your bedsheets, remove them from the dryer before they’re fully dry and fold them into a manageably small size. Run your iron across the top layer of the folded sheet (but don’t iron the fold itself). Your sheets will look fresh and smooth in seconds!
3. Stock A Rag Bin
Being thrifty was second nature to our grandmothers, and they never let good fabric go to waste. They would keep old clothes and linens and cut them up into rags. Rags like these are great to use for all kinds of cleaning jobs, and they’re much better for the environment than using paper towels. So instead of tossing out your old clothes, use them to stock up a bin of cleaning rags!
4. Dye Linens With Tea
If you’ve tried everything to remove stains from cloth napkins, a tablecloth, or even a doily, you don’t have to toss it out! Back in the day, many women “tea-stained” these items to make the stains disappear. Add 4 or 5 black tea bags to a bucket of hot water and let them steep for 10 minutes. Then remove the tea bags, add your stained item, and swish it around a bit. Let it sit in the tea until it reaches a shade that most matches the stain. (The tea creates a lovely antique-looking shade of brown.) Let it dry to set the tea, then wash in cold water when necessary.
5. Wax Furniture With Shoe Polish
Shoe polish makes a great wax for your wooden furniture, and will keep it looking rich and vibrant. You can also use shoe polish to cover up nicks and scuffs on wooden furniture!
6. Dry Windows Directionally
When you’re drying freshly washed windows, use vertical strokes on one side of the window and horizontal strokes on the other. If any streaks get left behind, you’ll be able to tell with one look whether they’re on the inside or outside of the window!
7. Remove Spilled Candle Wax
To remove candle wax from wood floors or furniture, hold a bag of ice cubes against he wax for a few minutes. Once the wax has hardened, it will be easy to scrape off or chip away.
8. Wash Walls From The Bottom Up
With some cleaning jobs it makes the most sense to work from the top down, but that’s not the case when it comes to washing your walls. Working from the bottom and moving up is the best way to avoid drips, and drips can leave your walls looking streaky.
9. Cut Sponges In Half
Our grandmothers always new how to make things last, and the easiest way to do that is to divide things up. If you cut a new kitchen sponge in half, you’ll get twice the use of it than you normally would! And a smaller sponge dries much faster than a larger one, so it can help prevent bacterial growth too.
10. Damage Control For Spilled Grease
If you’ve spilled grease onto a wood floor, pour cold water on it right away. The cold water will make the grease congeal before it has a chance to penetrate into the wood and leave a stain.
11. Shine Silver With Toothpaste
If time has gotten away from you and you need a quick way to shine your silver, don’t panic! Just grab your toothpaste. Rub a bit of toothpaste (paste, not gel) onto your silver, rinse it clean, then dry with a soft cloth. Beautiful!
12. Put A Pillowcase On With Ease
Grandma knew all the best tricks for making beds, including this trick for putting on a pillowcase. Flip the pillowcase inside out and put your arms inside. Then grab the corners of one end of the pillow and pull it towards you, while sliding the pillowcase down onto it. How easy is that?
13. Use Flour Sack Towels
You can save yourself quite a bit of money by switching from paper towels to flour sack towels. They’re great for drying dishes because they don’t leave any lint behind. Flour sack towels also hold up well to repeated launderings and they dry really fast. (Just make sure you don’t use fabric softener when you wash them, or it will affect their absorbency.)
14. Use Wax On Your Air Vents
Apply a little bit of car wax to the air vents around your house to prevent dust from building up on them. Anything that reduces the amount of dusting I have to do is a thing worth doing, in my book! :-)
15. Freshen The Air Naturally
Use 100% vanilla extract to make your house smell amazing, without any unnatural chemicals. You can put a few drops on cotton palls and hide them in plants or underneath furniture. Or visit the link below to get the “recipe” for one of my favorite simmering potpourri!
16. Steam Stuck-On Food
There’s an easy way to remove stuck-on food that doesn’t require hours of soaking. Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stovetop, then hold the messy dish over the pot for a few seconds. The steam treatment will loosen up the stuck-on stuff, and you’ll be able to scrape it off easily.
17. Have A Weekly Wash Day
Have a “wash day” once a week instead of doing different loads of laundry every day. It simplifies things a lot, and you’ll never have to wonder if a certain item is in the washer, the dryer, or waiting to be folded.
18. Remove Stains And Odors From Hands
Handling certain foods can leave behind stains or odors on your hands. Remove stains and odors rubbing tomato juice or sauce on your hands! You can also rub your hands together with table salt for the same effect.
19. Have A Baking Day
It seems like our grandmothers always used to have a cake or homemade cookies at the ready to offer guests. That’s because many of them had a weekly “bake day!” Thanks to our modern freezers, you can even do a monthly bake day where you prepare several batches of cookies or cakes, then freeze the extras for later. Having a bake day is a great way to keep homemade treats on hand for company (or for an after-dinner treat!)
20. Prevent Shower Curtain Mildew
The next time you get a new shower curtain, cut 2″ or so of the material off the bottom. This is the part of the curtain that sticks to the side of your tub, and that’s where mildew loves to grow. By removing the material, you can prevent the mildew from forming in the first place to make cleaning your tub easier down the line.
21. Use Crisco To Silence Squeaks
Have a squeaky door or cupboard hinge that’s been bothering you? Lube it up with a little bit of Crisco! It’s a simple fix, and you’ll wondering why you didn’t do it sooner!
22. Freshen Your Mattress With Sunshine
Grandma knew that few things clean and deodorize as effectively as good old sunshine and fresh air. It’s a great way to freshen up your mattress once the weather warms up in the spring. Just pull your mattress out into the yard on a sunny day, then leave it there for a few hours. It’ll help kill dust mites, dry out any moisture, and leave your mattress smelling fresh and clean!
23. Practice An Ounce Of Prevention
When it comes to keeping the house clean, it’s like Grandma always used to say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you can prevent bigger messes from happening, you won’t have as much to clean! So squeegee your shower after each use, place rugs in doorways to keep dirt out, vacuum high-traffic areas frequently to keep dirt from getting ground into the fibers. These little chores will make it less likely that you’ll have to spend hours and hours on a bigger project later on!
24. Keep Up, Don’t Catch Up
Grandma had a list of little chores that she would do every day. Not only did it keep her house nice and tidy in case anyone stopped by, but it also made keeping the house clean easier overall. You can follow in her footsteps by choosing a few things to do every day, like making the bed, doing the dishes at the end of the day, and sweeping the kitchen floor. (If you’re only going to choose one tip from this list to try, this is the one that will make the biggest difference!) :-)