Amish Housekeeping Hints

Thriftiness is part of Amish culture. With large families, the Amish have learned to be frugal and to make the most out of the household items they have. Whether it’s food, clothing, furniture, or bedding, Amish culture teaches a person not to be wasteful. Here are some housekeeping hints and tips sent in by various Amish families:

To keep your outdoor tools from being lost, paint the handles bright red or orange.

To remove paint or varnish from wood, use a mixture of two parts ammonia to one part turpentine.

If your sheets are becoming worn in the center, cut them in half lengthwise. Then sew the two outside edges together to form a new center. This may enable you to get nearly twice the wear out of a sheet. Obviously this works only for flat sheets, not fitted sheets.

To brighten dull silver, rub it with a piece of potato dipped in baking powder.

Another way to brighten silver is to save the water left over from boiling potatoes. Soak your silver in this water.

To drive mice away from a hiding place in your house or in a building, place a few mothballs around the area where they are hiding. Mice hate the strong odor of moth balls. (Be sure to place the moth balls out of the reach of little children or pets.)

You can remove grease spots from most fabrics by using a salt solution of mild to medium strength. Spread the fabric on a flat surface and sponge the salt solution liberally onto the stained area. Then rub the stain lightly with a soft, dry cloth. If necessary, repeat the procedure.

To remove blood stains from clothes, carpet, or fabric, see the suggestions at easy blood stain removal.

Keep a spare crochet hook with your household tools. Crochet hooks are very handy for unplugging sink drains and for retrieving lost objects that have fallen into tight spaces.

For an inexpensive and very effective window cleaner, use slightly diluted white vinegar in a spray bottle. Wipe dry with a cloth. Vinegar will not leave streaks.

Do you have a problem with sparrows or starlings nesting in the purple martin house you’ve set up? Try lining the martin house compartments on the inside with tin foil.

If you have a dog, develop the habit of saving food scraps from your meals. These can be collected in a zip-lock bag or covered container. They can then be used for dog treats or to supplement your regular dog food. You can often save money by making your own homemade dog treats.

When cracking nuts, don’t throw away the shell fragments that still have some nut meat left it them. Save them in a separate bowl and throw them out for the birds. With their small beaks, the birds will be able to pick out the hard-to-get pieces of nut.

Amish Recipes

Amish Cooking

Most of these housekeeping hints, plus many more, can be found in Amish Cooking, published by Pathway Publishers, an Old Order Amish publishing house. 331 pp. Hardback. $8.50