A Look Back At Old Cleaning Techniques

Presidents’ Day is a day to honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and others who have served as President of the United States. At The Cleaning Authority, Presidents’ Day has led us to wonder… How did our Presidents clean?

Of course Mr. Washington and Mr. Lincoln weren’t the ones physically doing the cleaning of their homes, but we decided to take a look at how homes were cleaned during the time periods they were leading the country.

George Washington, 1789-1797

During the countries first presidency, a clean bathroom was not found in any household because indoor plumbing hadn’t been invited yet. Instead, people used chamber pots, which were not cleaned often, making for a very smelly household! During this time, housemaids used oil with emery paper or brick dust and scouring paper to shine the fireplace in the morning before the rest of the household woke up. Twice a year, maids conducted a more thorough cleaning of the bedrooms, which was more complex than the daily and weekly cleanings. At this time they would clean bed furniture, wainscoting, counterpanes, blankets, and pillows. Additionally, they would re-make the mattresses with feathers, wool, and hair.

Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865

When Honest Abe was in charge, housekeepers would beat carpets with carpet rods to clean them from dust. Ink spots were cleaned with lemon, and oil spots were cleaned with water and a hot loaf of bread. Depending on how often a room was used, it was swept daily or once a week. When sweeping, which was done with fresh cut grass, the housekeepers would cover the sofas, center table, piano, books, mantle, etc. with old cottons to ensure they stayed well kept. Because much of the furniture at this time was heavy, bulky, and ornately carved, the furniture required a lot of dusting and polishing.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1945

During the great depression, many households were using DIY tricks to save money on cleaning products. This included making their own soap and using old socks or shirts as cleaning rags. FDR’s presidency saw the time glass cleaner was available to the public, taking the hard work out of cleaning windows, mirrors, and other shiny surfaces. During WWII, cleaning products had to be made in limited supply to ensure raw materials could be put towards the war efforts; this included limiting the numbers of brooms produced. Production of vacuum cleaners was halted completely.

Barack Obama, 2008-Present

These days, many homeowners are opting to hire house cleaners. At The Cleaning Authority, we operate on a Detail-Clean Rotation System that divides your home into four zones and rotates which is deep cleaned. This system ensures your home gets the level of clean it needs at the right frequency. We also use products made from environmentally friendly ingredients designed to preserve health and environmental quality.