When preparing to sweep a room, it is important to begin by dusting all the bric-a-brac and carrying it to a place of safety. The smaller articles can be placed, in a wide shallow basket kept expressly for this purpose, or on a tray. Next, with a soft cheese-cloth or other duster and a whisk, clean carefully all the upholstered furniture ; carrying out the small articles, and covering the larger ones with dusting sheets. The glass globes of gas fixtures must be washed in warm, soapy water, and rinsed in cold water, in which a little whiting has been dissolved. Shake the window curtains and fold them up as high as you can reach; pin them there, taking care not to tear them.
Brush down the walls, carefully dust the picture frames, and then begin your sweeping. Use a whisk to rid the corners and the edges of the carpet of dust, then gently, but with a steady stroke, sweep all the dirt into the middle of the room, and take it up in a dustpan. Repeat this operation to secure any dust that may have blown back. Should the carpet be very dusty, moist tea leaves or Indian meal, scattered over the floor before beginning to sweep, will gather up most of the fine dust and prevent its rising and settling on the walls, etc. It freshens and cleans a carpet wonderfully to wipe it thoroughly with a woolen cloth wrung out of water mixed with household ammonia.
Ink stains in the carpet may be removed with 6alt. If they have dried, slightly moisten the salt with water, scatter it over the stains, and keep gently brushing it back and forth until it is quite black, substitute more salt, and so continue until all the ink is drawn out of the carpet and absorbed by the salt. If the ink is freshly spilled, you need not dampen your salt.
Should your window panes need washing in freezingly cold weather, it is best to do it with a soft cloth dipped in alcohol; at other times a little whiting dissolved in the water adds to the brilliant transparency of the glass. In all cases polish with old newspapers. Having attended to your windows, carefully dust again the walls, pictures, gas-fixtures, and all cornices and moldings; draw down your shades, unpin and drape your curtains ; fold up the dust sheets so as to gather up all the dust that has settled on them, and carry them from the room, which is ready now to be put in order.
If you burn lamps, keep them scrupulously clean. Wicks soaked in strong vinegar and dried before being used, will not smoke. Two or three times a year the part of the lamp containing the wick should be boiled in water in which washing soda has been dissolved ; this will improve the quality of the light and obviate the danger of an explosion. 436
Nickel-plated lamps must never be washed with soap, as this spoils the polish and makes them look like pewter. Wipe them, instead, with a soft cloth dipped in vinegar. Lamps are more satisfactory when attended to every day.