The sponge is brought alive from the sea. The living part, which is inside, being called the " sarcode;" the flexible skeleton to which it is attached being the actual sponge. They are mostly obtained by divers, the best being procured from the tideless waters of the Mediterranean.
Rubber or Complexion sponges are much in favour; they may be used with hot or cold water with or without soap, but do not become slimy. After use they should be rinsed in clean water. They may be bought from 8 1/2d. upwards according to size.
2. Pick off the dust and dab the brush up and down till clean, changing the water if it becomes very dirty.
3. Rinse thoroughly in warm water, then in cold salt water, shake well in the open air, and dry as quickly as possible.
The above instructions only apply to the washing of the hair or bristles. Handles, if of plain unvarnished wood, should be treated according to the rules for scrubbing wood (see Chapter XIV (Wood).). The handles should be attended to before the bristles, to avoid the water dripping from the latter.
Painted or varnished handles should simply be washed with warm water, soap, and a flannel, and dried with a cloth immediately.
A brush should be kept solely for the kitchen and scullery floors, as these become very dirty.
Cheap brushes are unsatisfactory, as they soon become poor and thin. Satisfactory hair brooms vary in price from 3/6 to 4/3 1/2; the latter being very durable. The handles are often sold separately, and cost 2d. each. Bass brooms for yards and garden paths cost from 1/0 to 1/6. Banister brushes, which have whisk on one side and hair on the other, usually cost about 2/6; carpet whisks from 2/9 to 3/3; scrubbing brushes from 3d. to 9d.; bass sanitary brushes 1/3; whisk furniture brushes 1/6; egg or pastry brushes from 6d.; saucepan brushes, 7 1/2d.
In large establishments it is well to have a brush cupboard to ensure tidiness and freedom from dust. Where there is a housemaid's cupboard, the best plan is to keep all brushes required for bedroom work in it, and so lessen carrying.
Brush handles should be bored and a loop of strong string inserted, and the long-handled brushes hung so as to be about six inches from the floor. If allowed to rest on the floor the hair or bristles will be displaced, wear out more quickly, and become dusty; or if the brushes are kept with the hair or bristles upwards, dust settles on them, unless they are kept in a cupboard, when this latter position is most excellent.
In order that these may retain their strength and not become brittle, they should, after all bits have been removed, be occasionally placed in cold salt water overnight.
Chamois leathers, prepared from the skin of the Swiss goat, are becoming comparatively rare. Washleather (made from sheepskin, which is soaked to make it swell, then split into two leathers) is more generally used.
Shake to remove dust, then wash by gently kneading in warm soap-lather containing a little ammonia, avoiding rubbing, which would quickly cause holes in the wet softened leather. Squeeze out the water, remembering that wringing by hand would probably tear it. Shake out as much moisture as possible, and while drying, pull, stretch, and rub at intervals to keep the leather soft and pliable.
Occasionally scald with boiling soda water, rinse well, beat on some hard surface, and as the dirt comes down remove it with an old skewer. When clean, rinse in cold salt water and dry in the open air.