If moldings and wash-boards or wainscotings are wiped off with a damp cloth, one fruitful source of dust will be avoided. For all intricate work like the legs of pianos, carved backs of furniture, &c., a pair of small bellows will be found most efficient. Brooms, dust-pan, and brushes long and short, whisk-broom, feather and other dusters, should have one fixed place, and be returned to it after every using. If oil-cloth is on halls or passages, it should be washed weekly with warm milk and water, a quart of skim-milk to a pail of water being sufficient. Never use soap or scrubbing-brush, as they destroy both color and texture.
All brass or silver-plated work about fire-place, doorknobs, or bath-room faucets, should be cleaned once a week and before sweeping. For silver, rub first with powdered whiting moistened with a little alcohol or hot water. Let it dry on, and then polish with a dry chamois-skin. If there is any intricate work, use a small toothbrush. Whiting, silver-soap, cloths, chamois, and brushes should all be kept in a box together. In another may be the rotten-stone necessary for cleaning brass, a small bottle of oil, and some woolen cloths. Old merino or flannel under-wear makes excellent rubbing-cloths. Mix the rotten-stone with enough oil to make a paste; rub on with one cloth, and polish with another. Thick gloves can be worn, and all staining of the hands avoided.
The bedrooms and the necessary daily sweeping finished, a look into cellar and store-rooms is next in order,—in the former, to see that no decaying vegetable matter is allowed to accumulate; in the latter, that bread-jar or boxes are dry and sweet, and all stores in good condition.
Where there are servants, it should be understood that the mistress makes this daily progress. Fifteen minutes or half an hour will often cover the time consumed; but it should be a fixed duty never omitted. A look into the refrigerator or meat-safe to note what is left and suggest the best use for it; a glance at towels and dish-cloths to see that all are clean and sweet, and another under all sinks and into each pantry,—will prevent the accumulation of bones and stray bits of food and dirty rags, the paradise of the cockroach, and delight of mice and rats. A servant, if honest, will soon welcome such investigation, and respect her mistress the more for insisting upon it, and, if not, may better find other quarters. One strong temptation to dishonesty is removed where such inspection is certain, and the weekly bills will be less than in the house where matters are left to take care of themselves.