I am a senior, and I do have some “old habits” – some of which relate to domestic chores. One is window cleaning! I was one of the young women who were trained to be “wives and mothers” many years ago, and many feminists and others don’t rate it well. As one who grew up to be a wife and mother, and with many other careers, I rate it highly. Perhaps I would also suggest that males also receive some of the training that we women had – for I have no doubts it would benefit all families.
We learned how to do housework, how to manage dirty clothes in the laundry and how to cook. In amongst these were a range of other skills that I am sure helped me during my life.
Today I did some window cleaning at a house where I am house sitting. One window, in particular, had mould and dust stuck onto the glass. As the family are very environmentally friendly, I used an environmentally kind window cleaner and paper towel to clean it.
Every Three Months
It brought back memories of my childhood in Adelaide. My father, with friends and relatives, helped build our families first house. I was four years old when we moved into it. It was a small brick house with only two bedrooms. Dad added a third some years later.
It was post-war – no refrigerators so the “iceman” delivered huge blocks of ice several days a week for the ice chest. The milkman delivered milk to our milk can at the front gate, his cart pulled along by a well-trained horse. Both my parents came from large families and they were rather regimented and strict. My parents were churchgoers, though Dad was not as full-on as our mother.
But he was obsessed about the window cleaning of the house. It was done, inside the house and outside, every three months.
Window Cleaning in Times Gone By
It was a family affair. Dad did the outside, sometimes assisted by my sister or me, and at the same time, Mum would be doing the cleaning inside. They worked as a team – at the same time Dad did the outside, Mum did the inside. Dad had a small timber step ladder, and he would climb it to reach the highest point of the window, and when finished, would move onto the next window.
Modern Window Cleaning
The new norm appears to leave the windows as long as you can, until you can barely see through them, and then get a “professional” to do so. My husband was never an obsessive window cleaner like my father, and I suspect his father was not either.
We lived in a high-set (two levels) house for most of our married life, so doing the outside of the upstairs window was not easy or safe to do. Hence, when we could afford it, we’d hire a professional who would have higher stepladders and a pressure hose, as well as a range of other implements that were not invented when my father was window cleaning.
The pressure hose, in my experience is risky, as it often forces water into the house. I’d rather not have them use it. Still, these days, I can still do the inside of the windows and often do, I’d rather get a professional – and negotiate my preferences on how it should be done. I do get it that many people rarely have their windows cleaned. Sad, but true.
This is apparently what was used to clean windows years ago – I have no idea what Dad used – a bucket of soapy water and a few old rags I think. This according to the article Granny knew best is what was recommended.
“Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 2 cups warm water in a spray bottle and shake well to dissolve cornstarch. Spray generously onto glass surface then wipe dry with a clean cloth or old newspapers, buffing to a streak-free shine.”
I don’t think many men these days participate in the housework. Only few would clean the windows like my father did!