It is Mrs. Grundy's theory, strengthened by practical experience, that it is better to extend the weekly sweeping and cleaning over two days than to condense it all into one; and so Phyllis takes the bedroom cleaning as her special Thursday work, and armed with broom, dustpan, pail, and cleaning cloths, she ascends to the upper regions as soon as she has reduced the lower to their everyday nicety.
The daily brushing up with broom or carpet sweeper removes the surface dirt, but sweeping day means a good "digging out." She commences operations by sweeping out the closet and wiping off the floor with a cloth wrung out of hot borax water. Then she brushes down, rolls or folds all curtains and draperies, and fastens them up as near the pole as possible, perhaps slipping a case over each as a protection from the dust. If the bed is hung with a valance, that, too, is pinned up. All small toilet articles and knicknacks are dusted and placed on the bed, and covered with a dust sheet of coarse unbleached muslin, or calico; bowl, pitcher, and other crockery are washed and dried, inside and out, and placed in the closet, with dresser and stand covers, which have been shaken out of the window. These, if soiled, are relegated to the clothes hamper, to be replaced by fresh ones. Chairs and easily moved articles of furniture are dusted and set outside of the room. If there is a fire the ashes are carefully removed and brushed from the stove; the windows are opened unless there is a strong wind, when they are opened a little after the cleaning is done, and the sweeping begins.
The broom should be of about medium weight, held almost perpendicularly and passed over the carpet with a long, light stroke and steady pressure which will not scatter the dirt, and turned every few strokes that both sides may receive equal wear. Steps can be saved by sweeping to a central point, going with the nap of the carpet, never against it, taking special care to dislodge the dust which gathers between the edges of the carpet and the baseboard. Shreds of dampened paper, or damp bran scattered over the carpet facilitate its cleaning; or in lieu of these the broom may be wet and shaken as free from water as possible before using. Any method of keeping down the dust saves much cleaning of woodwork, walls, and pictures. Rugs are swept in the same way as carpets. After they are cleaned the edges are turned up and the bare floor gone over with a long-handled hair brush, Úr with a broom covered with a Canton-flannel bag. If the floor is painted, follow the duster with a damp cloth; if hardwood, rub well with a flannel slightly moistened with crude oil and turpentine. Small rugs are taken out of doors and shaken or beaten. They must be held by the sides, never by the ends. Matting should be swept with a soft broom and wiped over with a damp cloth, using as little water as possible, and no soap, which stains and discolors it. Rubbing with a cloth wrung out of hot water will usually take out the spots which the regular cleaning has failed to remove, while grease spots yield to the application of a thin paste of fuller's earth left for three days and then brushed off. Rooms not in daily use do not need a thorough sweeping oftener than every two weeks, a whisk broom and carpet sweeper sufficing between times.
While the dust is settling put a fresh bag or a clean, soft duster on the broom and brush off ceiling and walls, using a straight downward stroke for the latter. The cloth must be renewed when it becomes soiled. A long-handled feather duster is handy for cleaning moldings and cornices. This, by the way, is the only legitimate use to which a feather duster can be put, in addition to dusting books and the backs and wires of pictures. Instead of taking up the dust, it simply sets it free to settle elsewhere, making a lingering trouble, long drawn out; for though one may whisk around with it and then enjoy the conscious virtue which comes with having "one more thing out of the way," the complacency is short-lived and the cheesecloth duster finally has to come to the rescue. All dusters should be hemmed, otherwise the ravelings are apt to catch and pull down the bric-a-brac. After the walls Phyllis dusts the woodwork and goes over it with a clean, damp cloth, not omitting doorknobs, and looking out for finger marks in likely places. If these are stubborn, a little kerosene in the cleaning water will help on the good work. She brushes and wipes off the window casings and gas fixtures, dusts and replaces the furniture, polishes the mirrors, and washes the windows the last thing, provided the sun is not shining on them at this time. If so, the work will have to be deferred and slipped in with special work of some other time. In localities where there is little smoke the weekly washing may be dispensed with, dusting off each pane with a soft cloth being all that is necessary. In freezing weather this is the only cleaning possible, though if the glass is much soiled it can be gone over with a sponge wet with alcohol; or with whiting mixed with diluted alcohol or ammonia, followed by much the same rubbing process employed in cleaning silver, with a final polishing with soft paper, tissue preferably, which gives the finest possible shine to any vitreous surface. If there are inside or outside blinds, they must be well brushed, and casings and sills which are much soiled washed, before the glass is cleaned. The requirements for successful window cleaning are a third of a pail of hot water containing a little ammonia or borax, plenty of clean, soft cloths free from lint, a complete absence of soap, and a decided presence of energy - aye, there's the rub! The less water used the better. Instead of allowing it to run down in tears, squeeze the cloth out nearly dry, going quickly over one pane at a time, following immediately with a dry cloth, and then polishing. Wrap the cleaning cloth around a skewer and go into the corners and around the edges of the glass. Nothing is more productive of distorted vision than looking through a glass darkly. "Wherefore, for the sake of the mental as well as the physical eye, see that Phyllis's window cleaning is a success.