This section is from the book "The Principles And Practice Of Modern House-Construction", by G. Lister Sutcliffe. Also available from Amazon: How Your House Works: A Visual Guide to Understanding & Maintaining Your Home.
Though the great aim of the architect and householder should be the prevention of dust, absolute success is unattainable, even in a house warmed and ventilated without open windows or coal fires in the rooms. This subject has already been touched upon in these volumes, particularly in Section II., Vol. I., and Section XII., Vol. II. so that one hint must suffice here, namely, that much dust will be avoided by fitting to all fire-grates movable bars and pans to receive the ashes.
Sweeping, as ordinarily done, contributes largely to the production of dust, and dusting, so-called, utterly fails to remove it. Flues and snippings, etc, may be take up by a dust-pan and soft hand-brush, and carried out of the room, and carpets, which arc nailed down, are best swept by the mechanical sweepers, which cause the minimum of friction and raise no dust. But loose carpets or rugs on polished floors have this advantage, that they may be rolled up and carried out of doors to be beaten or shaken, while the boards are wiped with damp cloths.
All mantel-pieces, ornaments, picture-frames, and the wood and leather of furniture, should be wiped down with cloths, wrung out in water so as to be just damp, and frequently renewed by dipping and wringing as fast as they become soiled. The quantity of dust thus removed is surprising, whereas dry dusting simply raises the dust into the air to be deposited again in the course of an hour or so. Non-absorbent walls and varnished or waxed floors, as well as tiles and natural or artificial stone, may be kept clean by wet cloths without soap, but bare boards must be scrubbed In doing this, however, the brush should follow the grain, and not be moved in circles, as this is apt to give a smeared appearance to the wood when dry.
Furniture polish, composed of spirits, turpentine, and oil, with or without other ingredients, should be indulged in as sparingly as possible, for it acts as a solvent on all kinds of varnish, and simple hut vigorous rubbing with a damp cloth is much to be preferred Even 0n plain unvarnished mahogany, as dining-room table-tops, the shine given by "polisliing oils" is transient and illusory.
Oil-paintings should never be touched with soap; gentle rubbing with a handful of cotton-wool, with a to-and-fro movement, first in one direction and then at right angles, not round and round, will generally suffice, though if vel dirty a soft handkerchief, just moistened with water, may be used. Gold frames are best cleaned by rubbing with a cloth wrung out in the best palatini oil, which will soon evaporate if the excess be removed by a clean dry cloth. So long as a painting is protected by varnish the colours are unaffected by the products of the combustion of gas, but should the paint be found after cleaning to be exposed, a fresh coat of mastic should be laid on as thin as possible, and any "bloom" that may appear on drying removed by gentle wiping with dry cotton-wooL
Gas is most destructive to the leather bindings of books, but they may In-protected against its action, and if not too far gone, restored to a great extent, by the application of gold size, which is also very useful for renovating French-polished furniture.