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Chap 19




ONCE a week the room should be thoroughly cleaned. Sweep hardwood floors with a soft hair brush, then wipe with a long-handled dust-mop. Clean soiled spots with turpentine applied with a soft cloth. Never use water. Every day run the carpet-sweeper or vacuum cleaner over the rug, wipe the floor with a dry mop, and dust the room. Place fresh water in all vases containing flowers. After each meal remove any crumbs which may have fallen to the floor and see that the room is thoroughly aired.

Give careful attention to the temperature and ventilation of the dining-room. Bear in mind that fresh air warms more quickly than impure air. Before breakfast, air the room well, taking care that it is warm before the meal is served. The temperature of the dining-room should be higher for breakfast than for any other meal, but this is not always possible. The range of temperature between 67° and 71° Fahrenheit is comfortable to most people.

If an open fire is used for auxiliary heat, the waitress should see that the fireplace is swept and cleaned, and the fire relaid for the next lighting.


After each meal remove stains, if necessary, and once a week rub the entire surface of the table. A good polish is made from equal parts of raw linseed
oil, turpentine, and vinegar. Apply with a soft cloth, then polish with a soft, dry, woolen cloth or chamois, first rubbing across the grain and afterwards
with the grain. Do not neglect the sides and edges of the table.

Many persons use a dull-finished table in preference to one highly polished, as it not only shows wear less and requires less care to keep it looking well, but is also more beautiful. For a table in a country house or in a household where service is limited, a good treatment is the application of a very thin coat of the best spar varnish. This should be put on by some one who thoroughly understands the work. A table so treated may be washed again and again, and the surface always looks well.


The waxing and polishing of hardwood floors would best be attended to by men who make it their business. Directions are given, however, for those
who wish to have the work done by the household staff.

Sweep the floor with a soft hair brush, then wipe with a long-handled dust-mop. Clean soiled places with turpentine applied with a soft cloth. Never
use water. Moisten a flannel cloth with the best soft wax to be obtained and rub over the floor. Let the floor remain in this condition an hour or more,
then polish with a weighted brush. Rub first across the grain, then with the grain. When a slight luster comes, cover the brush with a soft, woolen cloth
and rub in one direction only, until a high polish is obtained.

An application of spar varnish makes a floor more durable, and is recommended for those receiving hard usage, such as the floors of nurseries, kitchens, and seashore or country dining-rooms. Floors finished in this way are not injured by water.


The brush must be kept clean when not in use. As a protection from dust, slip the brush into a As a protection from dust, slip the brush into a
cotton bag made with a running-string. Once in wo or three months clean the brush by washing in tepid water to which ammonia has been added. Let the brush soak half an hour, rinse, and dry in the open air with the bristles down. When bristles are worn out, a new brush may be bought to fit into the weighted top.

Wash the cloths in hot water and washing soda and rinse in two quarts of warm water, to which one tablespoonful of linseed oil has been added to restore the oil and keep the cloths soft.

Keep all materials used for oiling and polishing in a covered jar or tin pail to avoid danger of fire from spontaneous combustion.


In city houses, it is best to have the windows washed by a man ; but the windows of a suburban house can usually be washed by the maid, without
difficulty. First clean the woodwork before washing the glass, using wooden skewers in the corners. Wash the glass with a cloth free from lint (a good
quality of cheese-cloth is best), wrung out of tepid water. Rub dry with clean cloths which have absorbent qualities and polish with soft paper. Some
persons prefer a sponge and a chamois. In winter it is desirable to add alcohol to the water used for washing, as it prevents the water from freezing on the glass. Never wash windows when the sun shines on them, as the result will be a window glass with streaks across it. It is best to wash windows on a mild day. Whatever the temperature, the maid should be well protected from exposure to the weather.


When answering the door-bell, never open the door grudgingly. Open it wide, yet use caution against the intrusiveness of agents. The maid should have within reach a small tray on which to receive calling-cards. She should never take the tray to the door. If the caller does not present a card, the maid asks whom she shall announce. She asks the caller to be seated in the reception-room and then takes the card to her mistress or, if no card is
presented, announces the name.

Returning to the reception-room, she announces that Mrs. Blank will be down very soon, unless Mrs. Blank herself comes down as quickly as the maid could return. If the person at the door be a messenger, he should be offered a seat in the hall while the maid attends to his errand.

If the maid answers the bell in the morning, while about her work, she must have a clean white apron conveniently placed so that she can put it on quickly.

A point to be remembered is that the stairs in the front part of the house are to be used by the maid only in conveying communications between the
reception-room and the upper part of the house, and are not for the maid's convenience in attending the door.


The telephone call should always be answered promptly, pleasantly, and courteously. If the call is for some person in the house at the time, the maid
asks: "What is the name, please?" If the call is for some member of the household who is nof at home, the maid adds to her question : "May I take a message?" If a message is given, the maid should repeat it, to be sure that it is correctly received, and write it down then and there, using the block of paper and pencil which should always be at the telephone.

To keep the telephone in sanitary condition, the mouthpiece should be wiped with disinfectant daily.

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