Trying to clean like my Grandma | Mum In The Madhouse

Trying to clean like my Grandma

Otherwise know as the P&G 1930’s housewife challenge.  I along with other mummy bloggers have been set the challenge to try a day in the life of a 1930’s family.  We decided to take this on and use it as a learning tool for the boys.

Cleaning in the 1930’s

I was supplied with some white vinegar, a spray bottle, lemon, bicarb, household soap and cloths.  I have to say that I already have all of this in my cleaning cupboard and use it all and have taken to buying white vinegar by the 5 litres from the cash and carry.  So I did not find this part of the challenge too hard, except the fact that I missed my washing up liquid and my dishwasher.  The hardest part was boiling the hot water to clean everything.

Laundry in the 1930’s

No, No, No.  I am so glad that I have my washing machine and washing products.  This was very hard work, as the video will attest to.

Outer Beauty

My Gran used cold cream and a flannel to wash her face, which is remarkably similar to the Liz Earle Cleans and Polish system I use today.  I am also not too much of a make up girl, so didn’t feel that bad with just powder, rouge, mascara and lipstick.  My issues arose when it came to my hair, which is naturally frizzy at best and when washed with a bar of soap it was even frizzier than normal, so I resorted to putting it in rollers, but I couldn’t get the curls to take.  I now know what a wash and set was so popular.

I have to say that the beauty challenge left me with some questions about the 1930’s woman.  How did they shave or did they shave at all?  Did they have hair dye or did you just have to go old gracefully?

I did find this fab video on you tube of 1930 skincare and makeup


As someone who cooks and bakes from scratch the food aspect wasn’t that much of a challenge for me either, however, I really did miss my mixer and my bread machine.  I make fresh bread everyday and rather than make it all by hand I didn’t bother.  I also may be the only person on the planet that actually drinks loose leave tea anyway, so that wasn’t too much of a chose.  MadDad on the other hand loves coming home to a nice fresh coffee from our coffee machine and was quite put out that he couldn’t have one.  Oh apart from cooking the porridge in a pan, I have got so used to heating it up in the microwave using a Pyrex dish.  Cleaning the pan was very hard indeed.

No Batteries Required.

This was a harder challenge for us as a family.  I use computers day to day for work and MadDad also uses a laptop everyday at work.  The boys both adore their screen time and I thought we would find it difficult to switch off.  However, thanks partly to the change of weather this was easy.  We go to the park after school and then home nad the boys have been going outside to play, followed by quiet time, which has been books, jigsaws and family games.  We have a 6 to 6 rule, which means no screens after 6pm or before 6am for the boys.

I also realised that we actually have the radio or music on a lot of the time too and was glad that radio was around in the 1930’s!


We really enjoyed this challenge, it certainly made us aware and more thankful for the labour saving devices of today, especially the washing machine, you can pop a load in and go and carry on with something else.  I know also know just how much I love my dishwasher, microwave and mixer and blenders and how often we use them too.  But I am also aware that I am not a typical modern housewife.  I chose to use natural methods for cleaning, for both environmental and health reasons.

As I work from home I have the luxury to be able to cook meals from scratch and cherish my slow cooker for this reason.  I can pop a casserole in it and then forget about it until dinner time.

From a beauty perspective, I am not sure what my hair would look like if I had to wash it with soap everyday, so I am glad of hair dryers, straightening irons and conditioner.  I have heard that people use to put their long hair between brown paper nad iron it straight.

I like to think that I have a little of the best of both worlds and hope that I can continue in this manner, having a family meal at the table every night, but also utilising the best technology and modern inventions to stay happy, busy and be the best I can be.

Some other blooggers have been busy in the 1930’s too, including Hot Cross Mum, Mari at Mari’s world, Being a Mummy and A Mid 30’s Life. P&G have been in the UK for 80 years now and recently commissioned a survey on The Changing Face of Motherhood, which makes very interesting reading.  But the one statistic that stood out for me was that 40% of mums rely on their mums as their most valued source of advice and support.

Procter and Gamble supplied me with a before and after goodie bag and also a Flip recorder.


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