Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I found a little booklet called Civil War Household Tips, which included these uses for ammonia. I have no idea if they really worked, but I thought they were interesting.
All housekeepers should keep a bottle of liquid ammonia, as it is the most powerful and useful agent for cleaning silks, stuffs and hats, in fact cleans everything it touches. A few drops of ammonia in water will take off grease from dishes, pans, etc., and does not injure the hands as much as the use of soda and strong chemical soaps. A spoonful in a quart of warm water for cleaning paint makes it look like new, and so with everything that needs cleaning.
Spots on towels and hosiery will disappear with little trouble if a little ammonia is put into enough water to soak the articles, and they are left in it an hour or two before washing; and if a cupful is put into the water in which clothes are soaked the night before washing, the ease with which the articles can be washed, and their great whiteness and clearness when dried, will be very gratifying. Remembering the small sum paid for three quarts of ammonia of common strength, one can easily see that no bleaching preparation can be more cheaply obtained.
No articles in kitchen use are so likely to be neglected and abused as the dish-cloth and dish-towels; and in washing these, ammonia, if properly used, is a great comfort more than anywhere else. Put a teaspoonful into the water in which these cloths are, or should be, washed every day; rub soap on the towels. Put them in the water; let them stand half an hour or so; faithfully, and dry outdoors in clear air and sun, and dish-clothes and towels need never look gray and dingy—a perpetual discomfort to all housekeepers.