Spring has Sprung – Thirteen Spring Cleaning Tips……79 years ago!

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I am working on a very special cake for my grandmother’s birthday on Thursday and was digging through her cookbooks and even cookbooks of my great grandmother!! I will tell you more about these treasures on Thursday with her birthday cake post featuring a VERY special cake!!

In a book that I assume belonged to my great great grandmother with some printed and some handwritten recipes, there were all these little pages in the back torn out from a weekly publication from Kroger called “Thought for Food”.  The very first one I came to was dated April 9, 1934, so with the crazy coincidence that today is April 9, 2013, I found it only a twist of fate to share these tips with you.


“It’s SpringAnd we are bitten by the spring cleaning bug.  Rugs are being beaten on backyard lines.  Curtainless windows testify to sudsy activities in the laundry.  The scent of mothballs in laid-away winter garments vies with the smell of paint and floor wax.  Spring cleaning is on!

Yesteryear spring cleaning meant tired bodies and frazzled nerves……carpets were taken up, large pieces of furniture were moved and in the prolonged ordeal strong men were driven from home.

Today, with the modern cleaning routine and better equipment, it isn’t the job it used to be.  But even the most immaculately clean household likes to air nooks and crannies, cupboards and closets.  SPRING means cleaning, and spring cleaning means we need all the helpful short cuts we can amass.


  1. Shelves and cupboards are much more attractive when covered with cheery colored oilcloth, and finished with a narrow pleated edging.  Let the color either match or contrast with the color scheme of the room.
  2. A suggestion or two about window washing.  TO make them sparkle add about 2 tablespoons household ammonia to the water which you are using, and don’t wash them when the sun is directly on the glass, else the moisture will dry unevenly and the windows will be streaked.
  3. Windows that have become cloudy on the outside respond to the acid test.  Apply vinegar, let stay until it dries.  If necessary rub vinegar on two or three times.  Follow by polishing with whitening or any non-scratch powder.
    A safety razor blade will make short work of paint spots on glass.  Lift the paint off, don’t scratch.
  4. Now for a curtain talk: if it is not already your practice, you’ll have better results if you shake the curtains first, then allow them to soak in cold water before adding to hot suds.  Hot water will “set” all the dirt and streaks, if the curtains are not previously soaked.
  5. A bit of low-down on floors: Never use shellac or varnish on inlaid linoleum; both of these will cause it to crack.  The best treatment is a mixture of 2 parts linseed oil and 1 part turpentine.  Apply, after scrubbing the linoleum, and allow to remain for several hours, then wipe off with a soft cloth.  If desired, follow with a light coat of wax.  This adds life to the linoleum..
  6. Use a thin coat of colorless varnish on printed linoleum.  Allow several days for varnish to dry, then give the flooring a coat of wax to protect the varnish from scratching or wearing.
  7. When linoleum is “beyond repair” a common deck paint may be used effectively.  Terracotta tile colors, being lively and cheerful, give a pleasing bright effect to such floors and extend their life for years.
  8. After scouring tile floors, wax and polish.  It makes the tile look much better.
  9. To polish up: the most satisfactory method of applying furniture polish is to pour about 2 teaspoons of polish into a glass jar or coffee can, then pour it out, leaving only small amount left on the sides and bottom of the jar.  Place a clean, soft cloth in the jar, cover and leave for a day or two.  The polish will penetrate the cloth evenly and will not leave traces of the polish on the furniture when it is used.
  10. Gray spots left on wood by water or hot dishes may be removed with a few drops of ammonia.  Moisten a cloth, add 2 or 3 drops of ammonia, and rub the spot.  Wipe with a clean cloth, then polish.
  11. To refresh upholstered furniture clean well with vacuum, then rub briskly with cloth saturated with non-inflammable cleaning fluid.  Leather furniture coverings should be rubbed with commercial leather polish, or castor oil to restore the oil that gradually dries out.  Rub off any excess, otherwise it will darken the leather and soil whatever touches it.
  12. Use kerosene to polish up the bathroom tub and basins.  It will not only remove any rings but also give a high polish without scratching the enamel.
  13. For those soot-streaked walls above the radiator use Avalon Wall Paper Cleaner……..a putty like substance.  Simply draw it steadily over the surface and presto!  All traces of soot and dirt are gone.  It works like magic.  If the baby’s sticky finger prints are registered on your window shades use the paper cleaner on them, too”

And now for my FAVORITE part of the article!!!!!!!


“Be certain to have papa’s favorite chair and lamp back in place when he comes home with his afternoon paper to read in peace.  Serve  his meals on time, too.  This will keep him in a good humor – and you know there are those little odd jobs you’ve saved up for him to do.  With this dinner you can step from the ladder to the dinner table…….taking time out to get the smudge off your nose.  The entire dinner is baked in the oven.”

There are too many thoughts that I have on this article, but I will narrow them down to just a few……….

  • Thank goodness for modern day cleaning supplies, although, there are a few mentioned that I just might try especially the window washing techniques.
  • NEVER WILL I EVER have linoleum that I have to spend DAYS cleaning!
  • I’m digging the scouring and waxing of the tile floors for a high shine.
  • Kerosene in the tub?! Not so sure about that!
  • I would love to know if Avalon Wall Paper Cleaner still exists.

Now onto the best part………Poor Papa, you sure have it bad at this house…….enough said!

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“Roll it, pat it, and fix it with care.  Stick it in the oven and forget it is there”


Poor Papa's Dinner

Pork Chops en Casserole, Baked Apples, Wilted Lettuce with Bacon Dressing from Kroger's Thought for Food April 9, 1934 article.


    For the apples
  • 6 apples
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 6 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • For the Pork Chops en Casserole
  • 6 pork chops
  • 6 tablespoons rice, uncooked (not instant)
  • 3 tomatoes, halved
  • 6 slices large onion
  • 6 slices green pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • For the Wilted Lettuce with Bacon Dressing
  • 1 large bunch garden lettuce
  • 1/4 cup bacon
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 hard-cooked egg
  • 4-6 radishes
  • Chopped onion, if desired


    For the baked apples
  1. Wash and core the apples, forming a good sized cavity. Fill with the raisins, Add sugar and lemon juice to each apple, and dot with butter. Arrange in baking dish and pour water around the apples. Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on kind and size of apple. (I assume on 350 degrees F)
  2. For the Pork Chops en Casserole
  3. Brown chops in hot frying pan. Remove to a large baking dish, add rice, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, seasonings and water last. Cover closely and bake at 375 degrees F for 3 hours.
  4. For the Wilted Lettuce with Bacon Dressing
  5. Shred the clean lettuce. Fry bacon over low flame until crisp. Remove frying pan from fire, add vinegar and seasonings. Return to the fire and bring to the boiling point. Pour over the lettuce, add sliced radishes, hard cooked egg, and minced onion.

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