I love my new living room carpet and keeping it clean means taking out the vacuum cleaner and sweeping over the entire area with an occasional cleaning from a steam cleaner. However, these machines weren't available to the common housekeeper back in the 19th century. I ran across these tidbits regarding carpeting from Mrs. Owens New Cook Book and Household Manual ©1897 Enjoy!
HOME-MADE CARPET.—Paste the floor of the room over with newspapers. Over this paste wall paper of a pattern to look like carpet or oil-cloth. Put down as smoothly as possible, match it nicely where the widths come together. Use good flour paste. Then size and varnish it. Dark glue and common furniture varnish may be used. Place a rug here and there and your room is carpeted.
TO SAVE STAIR CARPETS.—Stair carpets should always have a slip of paper or a padding made of cheap cotton batting, tacked in cheap muslin put under them, at and over the edge of every stair, which is the part where they wear first. The strips should be within an inch or two as long as the carpet is wide and about 4 or 5 inches in breadth. A piece of old carpet answers better than paper if you have it. This plan will keep a stair carpet in good condition for a much longer time than without it.
LINING STAIR CARPETS.
Mrs. Clarissa O. Keeler, Baltimore, Maryland.
A stair carpet lined with new cotton will almost never wear out. It saves the strain, especially if moved occasionally so that the wear does not come all the time in the same place.
PATCHING CARPETS.—Take pieces of cloth and paste over the holes with a paste made of gum tragacanth and water.
SWEEPING CARPETS.—Use coarse wet salt for sweeping both matting and carpeting. It keeps the dust down and brightens the carpet. And when sweeping sweep across the grain. Dampen sawdust with water and sprinkle with ammonia and use on a carpet; it brings out the colors. A tablespoon of ammonia in 3 or 4 quarts of water will often restore colors. It will remove whitewash from carpets. Mrs. R. Louis, Glen Ellyn, Ill., says: "Wet newspapers and wring them dry; tear into small bits and scatter over the carpet. It will collect the dust from rising while sweeping."
TO REMOVE INK STAINS FROM CARPET.=Take boiling milk to absorb ink, and immediately wash with hot water. If a dark spot remains the water was not applied quickly enough. This spot will disappear by an application of Potter's Clay. Make a thin paste and spread on.
(Another method: As soon as the ink is spilled, put on salt and cover well. Remove as fast as it becomes colored, and put on fresh. Continue this until the salt is white, sweep well, and no trace of ink v iil remain. Corn meal used similarly on coal oil spots on carpets will remove every particle, even if a large quantity has been spilled).
GREASE SPOTS.—To remove grease from carpets, see recipe, farther on.
Grease may be removed from a white floor by making a common hasty pudding of corn meal and laying it on the spot until cold.
To remove grease from wall paper,pulverize a common clay pipe, mix it with water into a stiff paste, laying it on very carefully, letting it remain over night. Then lightly brush it off.
HOW TO TREAT AN AGED BRUSSELS CARPET.-Tack the carpet on the floor right side down. Put on a coat of priming paint,then paint of the color desired, just as a floor is painted. A border may be painted as desired. Do not varnish,as it is liable tc scratch.