Dozens Of Helpful Notes & Advice From The 1950’s

I’ve collected these from vintage magazines and articles from the 1940s and 1950s, some are old stand-bys but there are a bunch of interesting & new (to me) tips too. Enjoy!

  1. A button sewn to the corner of the dishcloth comes in handy to scrape sticky particles from the dishes.
  2. Attach two pot holders to your apron with snaps. When needed during the preparation of a meal, they are always at hand.
  3. Hang a shoe bag at the end of the closet and use the pockets for gloves, mittens and scarfs, then you will have no trouble in finding these articles in a hurry.
  4. If a vase won’t hold liquid, melt paraffin and pour into the bottom. Often this will seal a crack and prevent future seepage of water.
  5. If you are in a hurry and you find that you are out of silver polish, dip a piece of raw potato in baking soda and rub the potato on the silver. (Also see Homemade Silver Polishing Cloths).
  6. You can prevent any odor of mold in your bread box by rinsing it occasionally with a solution of vinegar and water.
  7. Wet a piece of rag with ammonia, put in warm oven for a few hours; this will loosen any burnt food that is sticking to the surfaces.
  8. It’s easy to keep your dresser from becoming stained and spotted from perfume and eau de toilette bottles. Place a piece of wax paper under your dresser scarfs for sure protection.
  9. To clean bottles, jars, or cruets thoroughly, place egg shells and warm soapy water in them and shake well. They will come clean in no time. (Also see How To Clean The Inside of Bottles & Vases).
  10. A cork that breaks in the bottle can be removed by this method: pour out the liquid the bottle contains, and put enough ammonia in the bottle to float the cork. Set away until the cork crumbles.
  11. For a lint-less dustcloth, soak it in hot soap suds with a few drops of turpentine for several hours. Wring out and let dry. These dustcloths give furniture a brilliant polish and hold dust. Repeat this process every two weeks.
  12. Are you just about to throw away that burnt aluminum saucepan? Pour some water in it and add an onion; set it on to boil and you will soon find that all the burnt matter will loosen and come to the top, leaving the saucepan clear and bright again. (Also see Cookware Stain Removal Tips).
  13. To store small bolts, screws, taps, washers and etc., place in empty glass jars. The one you want can be easily seen and found when needed.
  14. When hanging paper, place toothpicks in the nail holes so when replacing pictures the nail holes are easily found.
  15. Save old match boxes and use them for molds when making homemade soap. Simply tear away the box portion when ready to use.
  16. Wash windows crossways on one side and lengthways on other. Then you can tell which side the streak is on.
  17. For removing rust from refrigerator shelves, wash them in mild scouring powder and hot water. Dry well with soft cloth. Apply a thin coating of hot melted paraffin.
  18. To keep tiny cracks from forming on inside of new earthenware dishes, place them in pan of cold water. Then bring the water slowly to a boil and let it boil for about two minutes.
  19. An ordinary shoe buffer, a clean one, is fine for polishing furniture, especially pieces with curves and molding. The soft pad adapts itself to uneven surfaces.
  20. Boil potatoes or carrot peelings in the teakettle to remove lime.
  21. Tear the edges of wallpaper used in patching. When pasted down, they can hardly be seen.
  22. To remove dents in a wooden bowl or bread board, cover the dent with a damp cloth and steam with an iron.
  23. A common clothespin, split in half makes two ideal and economical pan scrapers which do not rust or scratch enamelware or precious aluminum.
  24. When typing up a package for mailing, wet the cords. They tighten as they dry, holding the package more securely.
  25. A small paint brush kept in the kitchen in a handy place will help you keep the crumbs from your toaster.

And here’s a fun note:

  • Spinach may be the broom of the stomach, but sauerkraut is the vacuum cleaner.

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    • Carol

    RE #24: The USPS no longer accepts packages tied with string – they can get jammed in the machinery. I had to take string-wrapped packages back home, unwrap them and rewrap using packing tape.

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