This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
It is suggested that whitewashed walls which it is desired to paper, with a view to preventing peeling, should be treated with water, after which the scraper should be vigorously used. If the whitewash has been thoroughly soaked it can easily be removed with the scraper. Care should be taken that every part of the wall is well scraped.
To clean wall paper the dust should first be removed by lightly brushing, preferably with a feather duster, and the surface then gently rubbed with slices of moderately stale bread, the discolored surface of the bread being removed from time to time, so as to expose a fresh portion for use. Care should be taken to avoid scratching the paper with the crust of the bread, and the rubbing should be in one direction, the surface being systematically gone over, as in painting, to avoid the production of streaks.
Mix 4 ounces of powdered pumice with 1 quart of flour, and with the aid of water make a stiff dough. Form the dough into rolls 2 inches in diameter and 6 inches long; sew each roll separately in a cotton cloth, then boil for 40 or 50 minutes, so as to render the mass firm. Allow to stand for several hours, remove the crust, and they are ready for use.
Bread will clean paper; but unless it is properly used the job will be a very tedious one. Select a " tin " loaf at least two days old. Cut off the crust at one end, and rub down the paper, commencing at the top. Do not rub the bread backwards and forwards, but in single strokes. When the end gets dirty take a very sharp knife and pare off a thin layer; then proceed as before.
It is well to make sure that the walls are quite dry before using the bread, or it may smear the pattern. If the room is furnished it will, of course, be necessary to place cloths around the room to catch the crumbs.
A preparation for cleansing wall paper that often proves much more effectual than ordinary bread, especially when the paper is very dirty, is made by mixing 2/3 dough and 1/3 plaster of Paris. This should be made a day before it is needed for use, and should be very gently baked. If there are any grease spots they should be removed by holding a hot flatiron against a piece of blotting paper placed over them. If this fails, a little fuller's earth or pipe clay should be made into a paste with water, and this should then be carefully plastered over the grease spots and allowed to remain till quite dry, when it will be found to have absorbed the grease.
Mix together 1 pound each of rye flour and white flour into a dough, which is partially cooked and the crust removed. To this 1 ounce common salt and 0.5 ounce of powdered naphthaline are added, and finally 1 ounce of corn meal, and 1/8 ounce of burnt umber. The composition is formed into a mass, of the proper size to be grasped in the hand, and in use it should be drawn in one direction over the surface to be cleaned.
Procure a soft, flat sponge, being careful that there are no hard or gritty places in it, then get a bucket of new, clean, dry, wheat bran. Hold the sponge flat side up, and put a handful of bran on it, then quickly turn against the wall, and rub the wall gently and carefully with it; then repeat the operation. Hold a large pan or spread down a drip cloth to catch the bran as it falls, but never use the same bran twice. Still another way is to use Canton flannel in strips a foot wide and about 3 yards long. Roll a strip around a stick 1 inch thick and 10 inches long, so as to have the ends of the stick covered, with the nap of the cloth outside. As the cloth gets soiled, unroll the soiled part and roll it up with the soiled face inside.
In this way one can change places on the cloth when soiled and use the whole face of the cloth. To take out a grease spot requires care. First, take several thicknesses of brown wrapping paper and make a pad, place it against the grease spot, and hold a hot flatiron against it to draw out the grease, which will soak into the brown paper. Be careful to have enough layers of brown paper to keep the iron from scorching or discoloring the wall paper. If the first application does not take out nearly all the grease, repeat with clean brown paper or a blotting pad Then take an ounce vial of washed sulphuric ether and a soft, fine, clean sponge and sponge the spot carefully until all the grease disappears. Do not wipe the place with the sponge and ether, but dab the sponge carefully against the place. A small quantity of ether is advised, as it is very inflammable.