Vixens need to clean too

Here are excerpts from the 1952 book "How to clean everything" by Alma Chesnut Moorre. Described as and "Encyclopedia of what to use and how to use it" this book seems to have solutions for cleaning or preserving anything in your house, and is especially useful for vintage things that newer cleaning books do not include. I have only used the silk scarf method, so I cannot tell you from experience how well the others work, but feel free to try one out and let me know :)


"The following general instructions are for all kinds of stockings. Wash them by hand as soon as possible after wearing, since perspiration is bad for all types. Remove catchy rings and use warm suds, made with pure soap flakes or detergent. Do not rub soap directly on your stockings, and do not twist, rub or wring them and you may break a delicate thread and cause a run. Instead squeeze them gently through the suds. Rinse in lukewarm water, roll in a turkish towel and pat to remove excess moisture. Ease gently into shape and dry away from heat and sunlight. Rayon stockings require careful handling because the fibers are weak when wet or damp. In shaping them dry, stretch the ankles gently crosswise. Allow them to dry at least thrity-six hours before wearing them. If rayons are not thoroughly dry when they are worn they will stretch and sag and threads will be broken causing runs. Nylons dry so quickly and are so sheer that they are likely to float right off rods and racks with the attendant danger of snagging. To avoid this place a dry towel on the rod and hang the stockings over that."


*There were three different types of plastics that made up various bakelite products, but this one was used for radios.*

"Molded Phenolic maintains it luster, strength and rigidity through repeated washings and under humid service conditions. Alcohol, oils and grease do not affect it. It will not transmit electricity. Trade-marks for molded phenolics are Bakelite, G.E. Phenolic, Indur and Resinox. Wash phenolic plastics with a cloth or sponge wrung of warm suds made with soap or detergent. Do not use scouring powders. Keep them from direct flame to avoid charring. They will not burn."


*Most silk garments should be taken to a professional cleaner, but most scarves can be washed by hand using this method*

"Synthetic detergents are much better for silk because silks are damaged by alkalines, and even the purest soap is likely to be alkaline in reaction. In hand laundering silks do not rub the fabric but squeeze and work in about in the suds in cool or lukewarm water. Rubbing is likely to break the fibers and dull the finish. Rinse carefully in water of the same temperature, then remove excess moisture by squeezing and patting it between dry towels. Do not wrinkle silks more than Necessary. Wrinkles, especially those caused by an extractor are difficult to remove. No not hand silks in the sun or place them near any source of heat. But do dry them as quickly as possible. Rapid drying in front of an electric fan prevents formation of watermarks, and aids in retaining the glossy finish. Exquisite bits of sheer silks, especially those inclined to run are sometimes dried by shaking them gently until of the proper dampness for ironing. Silks should be uniformaly damp when they are pressed. Iron them before they have dried completely for best results. (If allowed to dry, dampening may cause water spots.)If they are too wet when ironed, the material will be stiff and papery. Use warm (never hot) iron and press on the wrong side, preferably with a piece of clean cheesecloth protection the fabric. "


"Keep them will brushed and they will be damaged less if caught in the rain. To clean them, wipe with a cloth dipped in warm suds, made with a synthetic detergent or soap. Rinse with a cloth wrung out of plain water. Do not get a straw hat too wet or it may shrink. Limp straws can be stiffened by brushing them over with a light coat of sheer shellac, diluted with an equal amount of alcohol. To brighten color and renew the gloss of dark straws, rub them with a dark cloth dampened with denatured alcohol, diluted with one quarter the amount of water, then polish them lightly with a piece of dark colored velvet."


"You can keep felt hats neatly brushed and you can remove surface dirt with a clean rubber sponge. For a beauty treatment steam the hat gently, using the tip of your steam iron or the spout of a teakettle. Steam the crown first, turning the hat slowly until the surface has been covered, then brush it lightly in the direction of the nap. Steam the brim and brush it. Do not get the hat too wet or it will shrink."


"Veils that have lost their oomph can be restored with gum arabic solution. Dip limp veils in the solution, spread them on a towel and press them carefully with a warm iron. Another method is to press them between two pieces of waxed paper.

Thank you to Atomic Mama, Andrea, Roslyn Joyce, Kendra, and Casey for submitting you questions!


Andrea Eames said...

Yay, thanks!

Josephine Frances said...

Thats awesome, thanks for that, I can definately make use of a few of those, particularly the felt hat one! I had no idea you needed to be so careful with stockings... I really should take better care of mine!

Ella said...

Ah, i needed the felt hat one. I keep buying them from flea markets and they're never clean.
Thank you for your comment...I hope my early posts weren't too bad, i cringe at the things i wrote and wore. I shall most reverently return your complement, you are much more inspiring than me!
Thank you again

JINX said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting these! I always find old cleaning instructions to be rather interesting. Now I can clean my hats! lol!