1950s housewives did a lot of spring cleaning and used some unique methods that can help you with your spring cleaning as well.
I collect vintage homemaking magazines. I find them interesting to look through and sometimes you will find some helpful hints we have forgotten. You also will find a lot of advice that will make you laugh or even cringe.
I was reading through Better Homes and Gardens from April 1951 and found an article with some spring cleaning tips. I thought I’d share these with you as well as some others I’ve found. Newer isn’t always better, we can gain a lot of wisdom from 1950s housewives.
You’ll find lots of spring cleaning checklists on Pinterest and around now tips will start being shared but the truth is most aren’t doing a big spring clean anymore. It seems many don’t find it important now or just don’t think they have the time.
“Of those who don’t do the traditional annual clean, 36 percent said they are too busy, while 41 percent keep on top of the cleaning each week so a big clean isn’t necessary.” – Daily Mail
This is one of these things I think we are missing out on by dismissing vintage ways of doing things. Homemakers of the past were cleaning far more than we do now but still found spring cleaning to be important.
As far as not enough time goes we are less busy than we think. We spend between 20-32 hours on media each week on average. If we cut that in half that would give us a lot of time to put into spring cleaning.
One thing about cleaning like 1950s housewives is you burn more calories. Housewives in the 1950s burned about 1,000 calories every day doing her daily tasks, compared to just 560 calories now. Think of the treat you could eat with that 440 calories! Or how much more weight you could lose without going to the gym.
While a lot of those extra burned calories are due to the lack of modern equipment that makes household tasks easier and quicker, some are because women cleaned more in general.
It would seem the biggest spring cleaning tip from 1950s housewives is to do a spring cleaning. Don’t just print off some spring cleaning checklists, actually, do it. Create a stop doing list and find some time to put into a good spring cleaning, your home and waistline will thank you.
Once you are ready to do some spring cleaning you may need a few helpful hints, especially if you are new to spring cleaning.
Spring Cleaning Tips from 1950s Housewives
Windows and Glass
Collect your supplies in a cleaning caddy so you can easily carry them from window to window. Window cleaner and lintless cloths save your elbow grease.
When cleaning the outside of the window use lengthwise strokes and inside use crosswise. Then if there are spots you missed you know which side it’s on.
Avoid washing windows in direct sunlight, the glass may dry too fast and streak.
Dust frequently to prevent more difficult cleaning. A wall brush attached to your vacuum’s extension wand can help you reach more easily. Be sure to take down pictures and clean behind them to prevent dark outlines.
Use a protective wax on window sills to make dusting easier and quicker.
When washing walls start from the bottom to prevent streaks from water running down the soiled surface. Test your cleaning method on an inconspicuous spot first, if you are unsure how to clean your walls.
For water rings, rub a little liquid cleaning and polishing wax on the spot. If the ring doesn’t disappear put a dry cloth over it and press lightly with a warm, not hot, iron. Repeat until the ring is gone.
A pair of white cotton mitts will double your dusting speed. Be sure to wash your mitts often.
Furniture polish or wax brings out the beauty of your furniture. Pour a little on a clean cloth and rub it into the surface. Then polish lightly with a dry lint-free cloth.
If your books smell musty, sprinkle baking soda on the pages and allow time to air out.
When storing shoes and boots for the season, cover them with old pairs of socks. This will prevent dust and scuffing.
Use shampoo to pretreat grease stains before putting them in the washer.
If you really want to clean like a 1950s housewife be sure to wear a comfortable house dress and a cute but practical apron. I actually really recommend this. A light cotton dress will keep you cool and personally, I find them more comfortable than shorts or yoga pants. And an apron will keep your clothes protected.
Another thing I love to do when cleaning is put on a vintage record. Music is a great way to stay motivated while cleaning and if you want to clean like 1950s housewives a vintage record is the way to go! If you don’t have a record player you can check out my Born in the Wrong Decade playlist on Spotify.
You can find a cleaning caddy, lint-free cloths, and many of the other supplies I mentioned in this post at Grove Collaborative. It’s one of my favorite places to get cleaning supplies.
If you have never ordered from there can get a free 4-piece cleaning kit. It includes my favorite Mrs. Meyers all-purpose spray and dish soap.