THE regular routine of the winter's work, no matter how care-fully performed, leaves ample necessity for the annual or semi-annual return of that domestic revolution popularly termed "house-cleaning." An event so punctual, proper, and at the game time so disagreeable and wearisome in its recurrence that a few hints as to simplifying its details will be by no means out of place.
Begin with the cellar. Empty the ash bin, clear the furnace and dispose of the useless rubbish. See that no decaying vegetables are left in dark comers to render the atmosphere of the whole house prolific of disease. If the air of the cellar should seem very close, all impurities and parasitical growths may be destroyed by closing the doors and windows and burning a little brimstone (powdered) in an old pan. This may not always be necessary, but every year the following:
White-wash for CEllars should be liberally coated over ceilings and wood-work. Make a common white-wash after any of the rules given, and add to it copperas, which is a cheap article, in the proportion of 6 or 8 pounds for 1/2 bushel lime. This has cleansing and disinfecting properties not to be over-estimated, and is a preventative of the ravages of rats and mice. Some apply this wash twice a year. It is also useful for applying to kitchen closets.
To prevent damp cellars and milk-rooms, place a peck of fresh lime in an open box and stand on the floor. This is invaluable. A peck of lime will absorb about 7 pounds, or more than 3 quarts of water. In this way a cellar or milk-room may soon be dried, even in the hottest weather. A bushel of lime absorbs 2? pounds of water and still appears as a dry powder. In this condition it will be very useful to spread over the garden, lawn, or around fruit trees, or it may be used for a white-wash. With lime in the cellar, chills will be an unknown quantity.
Dissolve 2 pounds of copperas in a pail of water; should be washed down all drains, sinks, vaults, etc. All pipes leading from the kitchen should have boiling lye turned down them once a week, at least, in sufficient quantities to eat away the accumulation of grease that coats the interior of the pipe. A few drops of carbolic acid should be poured down the pipes leading from stationary wash-stands. What little odor that escapes into the room is very beneficial to any one afflicted with throat trouble. Any decomposing substance may be rendered odorless by a layer of powdered charcoal, quicklime or common road dust, which is in itself a good disinfectant.
Closets should be next in order. Examine all cast-off clothing in attic and store-rooms and distribute to the needs of others. Sort and put in paper sacks or pasteboard boxes the "odds and ends " that every thrifty housewife reserves for time of need, labeling each distinctly for convenience sake.
Wash and wipe floors and shelves; while these are drying have the garments and bedding on lines airing in the sun and wind. Damp cloths only should be used for shelves, as it is desirable they should dry quickly. Sweep the walls and ceilings. Dust Persian powder in all the cracks to prevent moths and other insects, or sprinkle benzine plentifully in the crevices. The odor will evaporate quickly. Be careful in handling it as it is very inflammable. These rules apply to attic and closet.