How do you clean your home? You might be doing it very similarly to how your Victorian ancestors did. They didn’t have dishwashers, washing machines, or dryers like we use today. Even so, you might be surprised that some of the ways we clean our homes today is not so different from how it has been done for years.
In Victorian times (which started in 1837 and ended in 1901) women were expected to do the work that was required to keep the home clean and tidy. Today, it is common for both women and men to put effort into doing the housekeeping. Individual families may split the chores in different ways, but they are sharing the burden.
Doing the dishes today requires hot water and dish soap. People may rinse off their dishes before putting into the dishwasher, adding soap, and letting the machine run. Or, they might do their dishes by hand. This requires a person to fill a sink with hot water and some dish soap, and to scrub the dishes with a brush or sponge.
In Victorian times, homes did not have running hot water. Some homes had running cold water, but it was expensive. Before a woman could do the dishes, she had to heat up the water she was going to use. This was typically done by using the kitchen stove.
The washing was done in the scullery, a room that consisted of sinks and basins for washing dishes, clothing, and produce. Victorian women used hot water and soap flakes to wash their dishes, and did their dishes by hand. The main process hasn’t changed very much over the years.
You probably use a blue cleaner, in a spray bottle, to wash your windows. After spraying, many people use paper towels to clean the window without leaving streaks. In Victorian times, women used a mixture of white vinegar and water (which isn’t very different from what’s in the blue spray bottle we use today). They used newspapers to wipe their windows clean.
Many of the cleaning products used by Victorian women were environmentally friendly. They used lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda to clean just about anything.
Mirrors were cleaned with a mixture of gin and water. Drains were unclogged with a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and boiling hot water. Today, environmentally conscience people actively choose cleaning products that are natural (or that will not cause harm to the environment). As a result, you may be cleaning your home very similarly to how your Victorian ancestors did.
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