Treasure trove of 50 useful and downright bizarre household tips from 1950s "super housewives"

A treasure trove trove of weird and wonderful household tips from 1950s “superhousewives” have been revealed.

The large collection of life hacks explain how to get dents out of tennis balls and keep yourself warm by wrapping yourself in newspaper.

The tips have been released in Pass It On Tips From The 1950s, edited by Scottish journalist Steve Finan, after being culled from the columns of the Sunday Post newspaper.

Among some of the quirkier entries are how to use onions as an air freshner and clean the top of a wardrobe.

The tips have been released in Pass It On Tips From The 1950s
(Photo: cascadenews.co.uk)
The large collection of life hacks explain how to get dents out of tennis balls
(Photo: Getty)
The tips are arranged into chapters on cleaning, wash day, repairs, the man of the house, brilliant, nylons and 20 more.
(Photo: cascadenews.co.uk)

Steve said: “These tips are a mixture of very useful and heart-tugging nostalgic. You can almost see all those strong women in their sensible shoes, sleeves rolled up, a just-scrubbed kitchen table at their hand.

“They are your mother, your aunt, your grandmother.

“Thrift was greatly valued, but it would seem that labour-saving tips weren’t so popular. The culture of the time wasn’t to take shortcuts, it was to do the best possible job in a time of austerity.

You can also learn how to stay warm by wrapping yourself in newspaper
(Photo: DailyMirror)
Journalist Steve Finan said: “You can’t read this without feeling admiration for the tipsters”
(Photo: cascadenews.co.uk)

“You can’t read this without feeling admiration for the tipsters. However, in a strange way, some of the tips are also very funny.

“This is probably the best Mothers’ Day present it is possible to buy.”

The tips are arranged into chapters on cleaning, wash day, repairs, the man of the house, brilliant, nylons and 20 more.

One housewife said ‘when examining nylons for ladders, wear a dark glove’
(Photo: cascadenews.co.uk)

Here are 50 of them:

  1. To clean behind a wardrobe too heavy to move, put a dust sheet over the top at the back and pull it from side to side, working to the bottom. Dust and fluff comes down with the sheet and is easily gathered up. – Mrs G. D. Tilley, Fernbank, 195 Maxwellton Avenue, East Kilbride.
  2. Put table tennis balls that are dented into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. This takes the dents out. – Mrs K. Hunter, 2 Abbey Park Place, Dunfermline.
  3. After pouring boiling water from an electric kettle never leave any below the element. Always fill up with cold water. This helps to keep kettle in good condition. – Mrs H. Millar, 247 Kingsacre Road, Rutherglen, Glasgow.
  4. Place a feather pillow at children’s feet in bed. Then you’re sure they’ve warmth without fear of burns from a too-hot bottle. – Miss Murdoch, 47 High Street, Bonnybridge.
  5. Before boiling potatoes in their jackets, cut off a thin strip of skin right round the centre of each. After being boiled, the remaining skin will slip off easily. This prevents waste of the best part of the potato, which is next the skin. – Mrs M. Thompson, 12 Davidson Street, Lancaster.
  6. I got this tip from a garage man. To clean a smeary windscreen or window, wet it, then rub with a penny. Chamois in the usual way. – J. Wilson, Denton Holme, Carlisle
  7. When toasting or frying cheese, I always sprinkle it with a drop of milk to prevent it going tough and leathery. – Mrs E. Ash, 19 Ringway Road, Lee Park, Gateacre, Liverpool.
  8. If tea has to be carried in a flask, it is better to carry tea bags. Fill the flask with boiling water and pop in a tea bag just before required. Let it infuse for a few minutes. This gives much fresher-tasted tea. – Mrs J. McLean, 86 Ralston Road, Campbeltown.
  9. When examining nylons for ladders, wear a dark glove. Flaws can be seen more easily and the glove prevents stockings catching on fingernails. – Mrs E. Duggan, 27 Heath Street, Bradford.
  10. The unsightly spotting and clouding that spoils a mirror is caused by damp penetrating the silvering at the rear. A protective measure is to coat with varnish the back of a recently-purchased mirror. – Chas. Ephraim, 14 Rolfe Street, Liverpool.
  11. To remove marks left on a carpet by heavy furniture, lay a damp cloth over the spot and place a hot iron on top. The steam restores the pile. When thoroughly dry, brush the pile gently with a stiff brush. – Mrs E. J. Tocher, 43 Watermill Road, Fraserburgh.
  12. If a bedroom door rattles on windy nights, it can be silenced by stretching a rubber band between the two knobs. This cushions the door.- Miss Rose Parkhill, 74 Bushmills Road, Coleraine, County Derry.
  13. On country walks, carry a small quantity of white pepper in your pocket. It helps to keep midges and other pests away. – Miss Agnes McIntyre, Langrew, Cambeltown, Argyll.
  14. When taking the cap off a bottle which you wish to reseal, place a coin on top of the cap before applying the bottle opener. This prevents the cap being dented and enables you to reseal the bottle. – Mrs W. A. Allan, General Deliver, Innisfail, Alberta, Canada.
  15. Next time you make chips, cut an onion in half and place it on the plate rack above the cooker. You’ll find it an effective air-refresher. – Mrs I. Anderson, 36 Waverley Park, Bonnyrigg.
  16. If you get your coat wet and drying space is limited, place coat on a hanger and hang outside the wardrobe. Fill a hot water bag and suspend it from the hanger inside the coat. This not only dries the coat, but also smooths creases. – A. E. McIntyre, 48 Longrow, Campbeltown.
  17. If dinner has to be kept warm for someone coming in late, place it on an upper shelf of the oven with the gas turned low. On a shelf beneath place a saucer or shallow bowl filled with water. This will prevent the dinner from becoming dried up. – Mrs M.Dewhurst, 88 Lytham
  18. When following an important recipe, put all ingredients on your right-hand side and, as you use them, transfer to the left side. If interrupted, you know which ingredients have been used and which have not. – Mrs M. Goodrum, 511 North Road, Darlington
  19. Fasten a small magnet to the front of the carpet sweeper by means of adhesive tape. This picks up any metal particles, such as pins or hair grips, and prevents damage to the sweeper. – James Scott, William Street, Tayport.
  20. If you remove the centre from potatoes with an apple corer they bake or roast in half the time – Mrs E. Muers, 19 Cecil Street, Sunderland.
  21. When you refill your pipe, put the ash from the previous smoke on top of the fresh tobacco. The pipe lights with only one match, and burns more evenly. – J. Jackson, Carlisle.
  22. After opening a tin of soup, etc, squeeze the sides to form a spout. Contents pour more easily without spilling. – Mrs M. Kelsey, 23 Gartons Road, Barmulloch, Glasgow.
  23. If you upset a box of buttons or pins, scoop them up with the edge of a postcard.Much quicker than picking up by hand. – Mrs Caldwell, 51 Colinslee Drive, Paisley
  24. To remove beetroot stains from a tablecloth, place a saucer of cold water underneath the stain with a piece of bread on top. The moistened bread absorbs the stain. The cloth can then be washed in the usual way. – Miss Ritchie, 13 Bolivar Terrace, Glasgow.
  25. Before sewing on a blazer badge, blanket stitch round the edges to stop fraying. It is then easily taken off to fix on to another garment. – Mrs M. Spence, Gasworks House, Duns.
  26. If marshmallows have become hard, put them in a polythene bag and dip into hot water. – Miss R. Shepherd, Kalokeri, Silverknowes Road South, Edinburgh.
  27. Going to the pit on very cold mornings I don’t wear gloves. I just put a brown paper bag in each coat pocket and put my hands in the bags inside. – T. Campbell, 54 Park Avenue, Kirkintilloch.
  28. Next washing day try boiling a few egg shells with your white clothes. The lime in the shells removes stains. – Mrs Anderson, Gerranton, Castle Douglas.
  29. Put a teaspoonful of glycerine in the toilet cistern overnight. It helps to prevent the water freezing. – Mrs M. White, 38 St Magdalen’s Road, Perth.
  30. A few drops of eau-de-cologne, used on cotton wool to clean the lining of your hand-bag, removes powder or grease marks and leaves the bag beautifully fresh. – G. Morris. 5 Harriet Street, Kirkcaldy.
  31. When baking, if you find your kitchen table is a bit small, pull out the drawer and lay a tray across it. – Mrs G. Robertson, 18 Keystone Avenue, Milngavie, by Glasgow.
  32. Don’t discard “empty” tea packets without unfolding the bottom. About a teaspoonful of tea is generally tucked away inside the folds. – Miss Betty Forrest, 16 Primrose Street, Glasgow.
  33. I always tape up my biscuit tin lid after use. I find this keeps the biscuits fresh and crisp to the very end.- J. Robertson, Carlisle.
  34. When roasting, turn off the oven gas 15 minutes before the meat is ready to come out. The heat of the oven will finish the cooking. – Miss A. Wilson, Recreation Grounds, Fulwell Road, Sunderland.
  35. One fewer gas ring is needed if you fill a saucepan lid with potatoes and tie a cloth over them. Put the lid on the pan in which other vegetables are being cooked. – M. Whiteside, 83 Aitkenhead Avenue, Coatbridge.
  36. Instead of buying cot blankets, buy a single blanket and double it. When the growing child needs a single bed, the single blanket is of more use. – Mrs McDonough, Cullicudden Road, Conon.
  37. When ironing taffeta or silk curtains, keep a piece of paper smeared with a little soap on the ironing board. Run the iron over this now and again, and it doesn’t stick to the silk. It also prevents wrinkles, which are hard to remove. – Mrs A. McMillan, 201 Crossloan Road, Govan, Glasgow.
  38. I’ve found this ant trap very effective. Pour water used for cooking peas into a bowl and place overnight where ants are most evident. – B. Fox, 6 Averill Street, Hammersmith, London.
  39. Before using new saucepans or frying pans, first boil a few potato peelings for ten minutes. This prevents any tendency for food to stick. – Mrs A. Haig, 79 Cheviot Road, Kirkcaldy.
  40. When the dish towels you are using get rather bare, stitch two together with strong thread. The two-in-one lasts much longer. – Mrs J. Scott, Isleview, Allanfearn, Inverness.
  41. Next washing day try boiling a few egg shells with your white clothes. The lime in the shells removes stains. – Mrs Anderson, Gerranton, Castle Douglas.
  42. A good way to keep root vegetables fresh after buying is to plant them in the garden and water lightly every other day. If no garden space is available, a box of soil kept under the sink serves the same purpose. – Mrs M. B. Gibson, Strath House, By Avonbridge.
  43. Before washing net curtains, fold sides towards the centre and tack all round. Wash in usual way. Dry and iron with the threads still in. Result is a lovely straight edge. – J. Johnston, Woodhill, King Street, East Newport.
  44. To prevent teacups from becoming stained, always pour the milk in first. – Mrs J. Graham, 42 Wilson Avenue, Falkirk.
  45. When baking, place an enamel bowl or saucepan of cold water in the oven. The water will be lovely and hot for washing up, and is a time and fuel saver. – Mrs D. J. Maxwell, 12 Stockwell Road, Blackwell, Carlisle.
  46. Fill a muslin bag with shredded suet, herbs, and seasoning, and tie it to the bars above the baking pan on which the roast is placed. When the oven gets hot, the fat and seasoning drips on to the joint and keeps it basted continually.—Mrs C. Black, 20 Springvalley Gdns., Edinburgh.
  47. When making a cup of tea for yourself and your husband, measure out just two cupfuls of water to boil in the kettle. That’s all you need. It saves gas. – Mrs I. Taylor, 54 Roseangle, Dundee.
  48. When making a beef steak pie, ask your butcher for a piece of marrow bone the depth of your pie dish. Use in place of a funnel. It gives a fine flavour to the pie and also helps to make good gravy. – Mrs Jessie Dickie, 109 Main Street, Bellshill.
  49. If you have a long walk home on a freezing day, buy a newspaper, wrap it round your chest and midriff, and button your coat. You’ll be as warm as toast. – E. Anderson, 45 Rancliffe Road, East Ham, London.
  50. I find that a welcome gift for brides-to-be is a dozen jars of newly-made marmalade (or jam), according to the season. This helps to fill up the new store cupboard. – Mrs Jean Forrest, 107 Dudley Avenue, Leith.

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