Back in the day, when Grandma had few of the myriad stain-grabbing products that flood the market today, she learned and shared a few old-fashioned methods for getting the family’s clothes clean.
California homemaker Nancy Hayven, who is collecting hundreds of such tips for publication in a new book, shared nine of her favorite old-tyme methods for removing the most worrisome stains and dirt:
Ink, wine or fruit stains – Saturate well in tomato juice for at least 30 minutes before washing. (Tomato juice also works well for removing stains from the hands.)
Grass stains – Simple fixes are to spread the stain with butter, then lay the article out in the sun – OR wet it with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt before laying it out in the sun.
Grease stains – Mix four tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with a tablespoon of salt. Shake or stir until the salt is dissolved, then apply with a sponge.
Blood stains – Grandma’s best remedy was soaking in cold water, then laundering in cold water with soap or detergent.
Cocoa or chocolate stains – Use borax and cold water. Launder after soaking and add a few tablespoons of borax to the washload.
Carpet stains – (ONLY works on a fresh stain.) Combine one part white vinegar to three parts water. Soak into the stain for three to four minutes. Using a sponge, rub the area gently from the center out, then blot with a soft cloth.
No-streak window cleaning – Wash with a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water. Dry with a soft cloth.
Non-drip candles – Soak candles in cool salt water before burning to prevent the wax from dripping. To remove wax drips from candlesticks, out the candlesticks in the freezer for a few hours before scraping.
Cleaning copper – (including copper-bottomed pots) Mix lemon juice and baking soda or cream of tartar into a paste about the consistency of toothpaste. Rub onto the copper with a soft cloth, then rinse with water and dry.