Take some cues from grandma and other homemakers of the past with these vintage, cleaning tips for the kitchen so yours is sparkling and welcoming year round!
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The other day I was wiping down our kitchen cabinets, and it got me thinking about how my nana may have spent her time cleaning this kitchen! I am so lucky to live in my great-grandparents home from the 50’s… and to clean my great grandma’s original kitchen.
What a treat! I admire so many things about the way my nana lived and took care of this home. She kept a garden, stored her home-canned goodies in the basement, made the most delicious recipes that my family still uses today, and kept her home VERY clean.
I think most of our great-grandmothers valued cleaning and keeping a clean home more than the current generation. It seems like it was something that was prioritized and taught.
If YOU want to be a more old-fashioned homemaker, you can adapt a consistent cleaning schedule, and incorporate some vintage cleaning tips into it.
In the past there were less options for cleaning products (and appliances, gizmos, and gadgets). This meant they had their tried-and-true cleaning tricks and recipes that had been passed down from previous generations.
I can’t wait to share some of those with you today, specifically for the heart of your home, the kitchen!
Here are 8 TRIED and TRUE vintage cleaning tips for the KITCHEN. Try some of them out today and hold on to what works for you and your kitchen. I hope in time you’re able to enjoy a beautiful, clean, old-fashioned kitchen.
Sprinkle Borax in Your Sink for a Deep Clean
Have you heard of Borax? Its a cleaning powder that’s been used for years and years around the home. You can use Borax to make your own laundry detergent, but it also works great in the kitchen!
You can sprinkle some borax in your kitchen sink (or anywhere around your kitchen) and scrub it with a wet rag. It will help remove soap scum, hard water deposits, grease, and grime.
Grab some Borax today and tuck it away under your sink for the next time you need to do some deep cleaning around your kitchen.
Clean Your Kitchen Windows With Hot Water & Vinegar
Another tried and true cleaning staple, especially for the kitchen, is vinegar! Vinegar is amazing for cleaning almost anything, but I especially love it for cleaning glass.
We have a lot of windows in this house, and I’m thankful to my mom who has passed down all of her window cleaning tips (that she got from nana). She said my nana swore by cleaning her windows with HOT water, vinegar, and a dash of ammonia.
If you’re not comfortable cleaning with ammonia, you can definitely just use hot water and vinegar. The trick is to use distilled white vinegar, wash the glass with a wet rag, and dry it with an old, all cotton t-shirt.
Give this recipe a try the next time you go to clean your kitchen window, or any other glass in your kitchen. You can also make a diluted vinegar and water blend in a spray bottle to act as a spray, glass cleaner.
Wash Your Dishes By Hand
If you want to feel a little more old-fashioned in your kitchen, try washing your dishes by hand for a spell. Even if you don’t do it all the time, its a good skill to have if your dishwasher ever goes out.
Or if you ever decide to ditch the dishwasher completely!
I have a whole post dedicated to washing your dishes by hand that you can find HERE. If you want to be EXTRA old-fashioned, you can make your own dish soap as well. HERE is a recipe for a liquid dish soap, and HERE is a recipe for a bar dish soap.
It might seem like a tedious thing to do, but washing your dishes by hand can have a few benefits! You’ll likely get everything more clean, it uses less water, and it can be so relaxing. Turn on your favorite podcast or audiobook and wash away.
Line Your Cabinets With Wax Paper
Do your cabinets always seem to get junk and grime and crumbs on the bottom? Take a cue from grandma and start lining your cabinets with wax paper!
Would you believe that I still have the original wax paper that my nana installed in some of our cabinets?! Its fabulous.
Wax paper is VERY easy to wipe down, making the insides of kitchen cabinets a breeze to clean.
If it ever gets too worn you can always replace it. But if you take good care of it it should last a long time.
Use an Old-Fashioned Dusting Rag & Homemade Dusting Spray
I know microfiber dust rags are all of the rage, but I can’t get over how well an old dust rag or even just a piece of cotton fabric works. You don’t need to get fancy! Vintage cleaning tips are usually really simple.
Don’t forget to dust high to low. Start with your light fixtures and above your cabinets, then work your way down.
If you want some extra dusting power, try using a homemade dusting spray. Its especially great for wood cabinets, as it gives wood a natural shine.
Shake Out Your Kitchen Rug Once a Week
How simple and old-fashioned is this?! Can you imagine how nostalgic you’ll look heading out on the porch in your favorite housedress, to shake your kitchen rugs every week?
I think this is a really easy chore to forget, but it can make such a difference. One way to make it happen consistently is to schedule it in to your week. Choose a day, and make sure that every week you shake out your kitchen rug (and other rugs) on that day.
I guess there’s not much more to say about this one!
Scrub Your Floors With a Bucket of Hot Water and a Rag
My mom is amazing at cleaning and has taught me so much about keeping a clean home. One thing I’ve always admired about her is that she always scrubs her floors with hot soapy water and a rag… on her hands and knees!
I know mops are an amazing tool and so great if you want to do a quick scrub of your floors. Or if you’ve got a bad back;) BUT there is nothing quite like scrubbing floors with your hands.
You’ll get them so much cleaner, and you’ll be able to give the tough, stuck on junk some extra elbow grease.
Try using a floor cleaner depending on what kind of floor you have, HOT water, and a good quality rag. Move everything out of the way, put the chairs up, and get your kitchen floors sparkling clean.
Clean More Often and Keep a Schedule
Do you remember Ma Ingalls homemaking schedule from Little House on the Prairie?
- Wash on Mondays
- Iron on Tuesdays
- Mend on Wednesdays
- Churn on Thursdays
- Clean on Fridays
- Bake on Saturdays
- Rest on Sundays
The point being, even old-fashioned homemakers kept a schedule! I like to do a little bit of cleaning and organizing every day (even if its just 15 minutes a day), and then I have ONE day a week that’s dedicated to cleaning, just like Ma.
Don’t wait for messes to build up in your kitchen before you clean it. Have a consistent schedule that you keep for cleaning your kitchen. Then, do small tasks every day.
For example, I always rinse and put things into our dishwasher right after we’ve used them (if I’m not on a handwashing kick!). In the evenings I hand wash pots and pans and other special dishes and set them out to dry, and in the mornings I put them away.
After every meal I wipe down the table and counters and sweep the floor. You’ll have to figure out how often things need cleaned in your kitchen, and add it in to your homemaking rhythm.
If you’d like to know more about creating an effective homemaking schedule (including keeping a clean kitchen) I have a 25+ page ebook dedicated just to this!
Its chock full of tips for creating schedules and routines to encourage an old-fashioned home and lifestyle. Head over HERE to get your copy today.
Okay, that’s all! You should have all of the vintage cleaning tips you need to start keeping a sparkling clean kitchen. I hope you can start using some of them today!