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Care of Cupboards and Utensils

It is of the utmost importance that cupboards and other places where food is stored should be kept free from dirt and scraps of food. Ants, cockroaches, mice, and other pests infest dirty places where food is kept, and render a house unfit for human habitation. It requires constant care and watchfulness on the part of the housewife to keep the cupboards clean. She must look over the shelves daily, wiping them off whenever they need it, and giving them a thorough cleaning at least once a week.

The housekeeper should know how to care for the various utensils used and understand the simplest and best methods of keeping them clean. Utensils should never be put in the cupboards until perfectly clean and dry. Particular attention should be paid to the care of milk vessels. Pans, pails, pitchers, or bottles in which milk has been kept, should be rinsed in cold water, washed in strong, clean soap-suds, rinsed in clean, boiling water, and dried in the sun. If utensils have become discoloured or badly coated, they should be specially scoured. If something has been burned in a kettle, the kettle should be cleaned by filling with cold water, adding washing-soda, and boiling briskly for half an hour; after that a slight scraping ought to remove the burned portion. If the kettle is not yet clean, the process should be repeated. If a kettle has been used directly over a wood fire and becomes blackened with soot, it should be rubbed off with a newspaper and then with an old cloth. Kettles should be dried well before being put away. With proper care they seldom become rusty. If an iron kettle has rusted, it should be rubbed with kerosene and ashes, then washed in strong, hot, soda-water, rinsed in clear hot water, and dried on the stove. If a kettle is very rusty, it should be covered thoroughly with some sort of grease, sprinkled with lime, and left overnight. In the morning it should be washed out with hot soda-water and rinsed in clear, hot water. A new kettle is generally rusty, and should be greased thoroughly inside and out and allowed to stand for two days; then washed in hot soda-water.

Bath-brick should be used for scouring iron utensils and steel knives and forks. If iron pots and frying-pans are scrubbed with a piece of bath-brick each time they are used and then washed in hot soap-suds, they can be kept in good condition. Tinware and steel knives and forks may be cleaned by scouring with ashes, but only fine ashes should be used on tinware. The brown stains on granite utensils should be scoured off; and this ware should be carefully handled, in order to avoid chipping. Coffee-pots and tea-pots should be cleaned daily, the grounds removed, and the interior of the pots washed out thoroughly. The tea-kettle should be washed and dried overnight and left uncovered to air.


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Household Science in Rural Schools (1918).

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