How to Improve Your Cleaning Routine Based on Grandma’s.

by | Feb 4, 2022 | 10 comments

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“Let’s just say that if I had to clean like in the old days, I’d rather have a double shift in work.”

House cleaning has been around for centuries, and the methods used have changed over time. This blog post will look at the History of house cleaning and how our moms did it!

Cleaning duties were indeed a more significant challenge for our grandmothers or mothers than for modern ladies. The principal work was washing clothes and dishes, and there were no methods, or they were highly primitive.

The first step in house cleaning is to gather your supplies. You will need hot water, a bucket, ammonia, baking soda, Borax, carpet cleaner, chlorine bleach, glass cleaner, and laundry detergent liquid. Just kidding 😉, this post is not about how to clean but about how our mothers cleaned in the past.

We don’t realize or remember how mothers, aunts, and grandmothers used to clean houses in this day and age. It’s not that they used different products. Still, the techniques were other because there weren’t any vacuum cleaners or mops, and they had to scrub everything by hand with soap and water!

One day I was cleaning and wondering how my great grandmother ever got everything clean without a vacuum cleaner, and it hit me. She probably didn’t have to do as much since they only had dirt floors! Or we’ve gone too far!

Now we will take a look at some of the methods used over the years:

# 1. Wet Mop:

It was one of the most common methods used before vacuum cleaners were invented.

# 2. Broom:

 It was another standard method used to clean floors, especially wood or tile instead of carpeted ones (which didn’t exist yet!).

# 3. Handheld Dustpan & Brush Set:

There are many different kinds of these available today, but there weren’t any, so people just used what they could find.

# 4. Dusting:

Dusting was accomplished by dusting all of the cracks and crevices using a feather duster.

# 5. Window Cleaning:

Windex and other similar products didn’t exist back then, so people used newspapers, vinegar, or ammonia to clean their windows.

# 6. Oven Cleaning:

This chor was completed using a stove cleaner (usually a paste) and then scraping it off.

# 7. Bathtub & Sink Cleaning:

Heavy Cleaning was usually achieved with a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice.

I’m so glad I didn’t have to clean when our grandmothers had to do it without all these fantastic cleaning tools we have nowadays. What methods did your mother or grandmother use to clean the house?

Little History of Cleaning:

One of the earliest methods of house cleaning was called “scouring.” This involved using a harsh, abrasive material like sand or crushed brick to scrub away dirt and stains. Another popular method was “chalking,” which used chalk or lime to whiten surfaces.

In the early 1900s:

New cleaning products began to hit the market. These included things like ammonia, bleach, and wax. Ammonia was often used to clean windows, while the bleach was commonly used to disinfect surfaces and remove stains. Wax was often used on wood floors to protect them from scratches and water damage.

In the 1950s and 1960s:

New cleaning methods began to emerge. One popular method was called “steam cleaning,” which used high-pressure jets of hot water and detergent to clean surfaces. Another popular method was “dry cleaning,” which used a special solvent to clean carpets and furniture.

In the 1970s and 1980s:

New and better products like vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and dishwashers began mass-produced. These new products allowed people to clean their homes much faster and more efficiently than they had before!

In the 1990s:

These innovations were combined into one device: the robotic vacuum cleaner. This device was designed to move around a room while cleaning the floor automatically.

The cleaning method changed, but we still use some older techniques today.

Some examples of this include:

  • Dusting with feathers instead of dusters (and sometimes even newspapers).
  • Vinegar is a natural disinfectant for surfaces such as sinks or countertops.
  • Brooms for sweeping floors (or even using a Swiffer).
  • Ammonia for cleaning windows.

The History of housecleaning has changed drastically over the years, and so have our modern methods! The way we clean our homes has evolved from using harsh abrasives to clean floors to high-pressure jets of hot water and detergent. What will be the next significant innovation in house cleaning? Only time will tell!

Do you have any other examples? Please share in the comments!

Nowadays, we use many methods to clean our homes, but some of the earliest techniques were very different from what we use today.

But what about now:

Nowadays, we mix it up with old techniques and new technology. For example, we may use a feather duster to clean off shelves and vacuum any dust left behind. Or maybe you’re someone who still uses vinegar as an all-natural cleaner for your kitchen countertops while using bleach in the bathroom (or vice versa!).

The first step in house cleaning for our moms was to list what needed to be done and then do it in order. Our moms were very systematic in their approach to cleaning the house, and they would start with one room and work their way through the entire house, finishing with the kitchen.

One standard cleaning method used in the past was: to use ammonia or Borax mixed with water. Ammonia is a strong base, and Borax is an alkaline mineral that forms when sodium carbonate reacts with other minerals in the earth. This mixture will dissolve grease on pots, pans, dishes, and soap scum from showers/tubs without damaging surfaces like bleach does.

A few years later, vacuum cleaners became popular, and house cleaning has never been easier for our moms. Hubert Cecil Booth invented the first vacuum cleaner in 1901. It was gasoline-powered, weighed over a ton, and had to be pulled around on wheels like an old-fashioned steam engine from the movies of the Wild West.

The vacuum cleaner Hoover was introduced in 1908. It quickly became a best seller because it was lightweight and easily moved around. It also had a dust bag that could be emptied without removing the entire vacuum cleaner from the premises.

Compared to the past – today, there are many different types of vacuum cleaners available on the market, including cordless models, robot vacuums, and even pet-specific models! So whatever your cleaning needs may be, there is sure to be a vacuum cleaner that can meet them.

Now, onto my favorite part of this blog post – tips from our moms on cleaning quickly and easily!

Cleaning Bonus:

We’ll continue mixing it up with some old techniques and new technology! :😁 If you like to use a process as our moms did:

“If you have children, always start your Cleaning with their bedrooms. That way, they will feel like they are helping, and it won’t be such a big job.”

“Always vacuum the furniture before you dust it, and the dust will stick to the vacuum cleaner instead of flying all over the room.”

“Before you start cleaning the windows, spray them with a mixture of vinegar and water. This method will help to remove any dirt or grease that is on the window.”

“To get rid of streaks on your mirrors, mix one-part ammonia to four parts water and wipe it down with a cloth.”

“If you have trouble getting the shower clean, use Borax instead of Comet or Ajax. It works just as well and will not scratch the surface.”

“If you want to get rid of soap scum on your bathroom tile, mix equal parts baking soda with vinegar and scrub away at it until it comes off in one big blob!”

“To clean glassware like vases or glasses that have a lot of nooks and crannies, use a mixture of equal parts ammonia and water. It will dissolve all the built-up gunk in no time!”

“If you want to clean your oven without harsh chemicals, mix one-part ammonia with four parts water. Spray it inside the oven and let sit for about half an hour before wiping it down with a cloth.”

“Use a toilet brush to get rid of stains on the inside of your toilet bowl. Dip it in vinegar and scrub away at any stubborn spots, then flush twice before using again!”

“Always vacuum furniture before you dust it because if there is any dirt or dust on top of the surface when you start wiping down with a cloth, it will just move around.

“To get rid of coffee or tea stains on your cups and mugs, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Rub it in with a toothbrush and then rinse off with hot water.”

“If you have pet hair all over your furniture, put a sheet of aluminum foil over the surface and rub it back and forth (like a pumice stone) until all of the hair is gone!”

“To clean your microwave, mix one-part ammonia to four parts water. Spray it inside the oven and let sit for about half an hour before wiping it down with a cloth.”

“If you have trouble getting stains out of white clothes, try using a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. Rub it into the stain and let it sit for about an hour before washing as usual.”

“If you have any stubborn stains on your clothes that just won’t come out, try using a mixture of vinegar and water. Soak your garment overnight in this solution before washing as usual.”

“To get rid of bad odors in your refrigerator, put a box of baking soda inside and leave it open for a few days.”

Final Thought:

As you can see, the methods used for house cleaning have changed over time!

What works best for you may not have worked in the past or for your ancestors, and vice versa. So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your cleaning tasks, take a step back and think about how your great-grandmother would have done it! 😊

I’m so glad the times changed, and now you can also hire professional services that clean your home for you, whether it’s once a week, every other week, or just once a month. 

But no matter how you choose to clean your home, always make sure to start with the bedrooms! 😉

Happy Cleaning!!

You can also check out our post on How to Clean Your House to Gain more energy when cleaning – for more tips!

If Cleaning makes you stressed, check this Activity to Cope with Stress.

We hope you enjoyed this look at the History.

Good luck, my friend, best wishes from me to you!

Any questions or suggestions? The comment section is below.

Hi, I'm Evon, the face of this website and autoimmune disorder warrior. As a nail technician/business owner with a background in a business organization, I have a unique perspective on building healthy habits tailored to today's busy lifestyle. I've developed strategies that are easy to follow, and I'm excited to share them with you. Life can be challenging, but with a smile, positive steps, and good habits, we can get back on track—even when faced with curveballs!
Written by Evon

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  1. Marie

    Interesting post. I would not have made it back then. Even today I want to hire a service!

    • Evon

      Yes, the old days were difficult for our mothers, but they were even more difficult for grandmothers. Thank you for your time.

  2. Linda Egeler

    Interesting read! I still use vinegar and newspaper to clean my mirrors and windows. Seems that anything else I use leaves streaks.

    • Evon

      I noticed that I was still combining old and new techniques because our grandfather’s cleaning was still effective. Thank you for your time.

  3. Jean Nie

    so much fun to read! reminded me how my mom and granny cleans the house, iveb seen that metal iron before, really old school

    • Evon

      I enjoy going back in time because it brings back beautiful memories. The irons were very cool. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  4. Kristin

    This was an adventurous read! Oh my gosh I’m so glad to live in this day and age, where cleaning supplies are abundant and easy! I DO love using vinegar and lemon juice for cleaning though.

    • Evon

      Old cleaning hacks were much more difficult than they are now, but I still mix old cleaning tricks. I’m also grateful to live in this era but like you, I still like to use lemon and vinegar. Thank you for your time.

  5. Malaika Archer

    oh my goodness, cleaning back in the day was quite a production. I never even considered it before. I tend to mix the old with the new. I still use vinegar on windows as well as newspapers. I like the new methods and the labour-saving devices like a dishwasher and vacuum cleaner.

    • Evon

      Yes, cleaning was difficult back then. I’m glad that new technology has been invented to make our lives easier 😁. Thank you for reading.


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