5 Vintage Housekeeping Tips That Stood the Test of Time + Giveaway

This post is brought to you by S.O.S. to celebrate their 100th Birthday! All opinions are our own.


When you look back at the history of housekeeping, we’ve really come a long way. A century ago, our great-great-grandparents were still doing all their laundry by hand with a washboard and dragging their dishes outside after every meal to scrub them down with cheesecloth! Considering that I can barely remember to put my laundry in the dryer or rinse my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, I don’t think I would have survived in 1917!


On the other hand, there are many great vintage housekeeping tips that really have stood the test of time. S.O.S. Pads, for example, were first introduced in 1917 and remain a cleaning staple for millions of us today! In honor of their 100th birthday, I’ve rounded up a few tried (and tried and tried and tried) and true vintage housekeeping tips that have really stood the test of time.

5 Vintage Housekeeping Tips We’re Still Using Today

S.O.S Steel Wool Pads


Let’s start with the guest of honor, shall we? After all, it is their birthday celebration! As I mentioned above, S.O.S first debuted back in 1917, replacing the cheesecloth as the preferred way for scrubbing grease and grime off of everything from pots and pans to shower walls. Okay, so the shower walls came later. I’m pretty sure our great-greats were still showering in that same bucket they used for washing clothes back then! Indoor plumbing was a luxury in 1917!

Today, we still use S.O.S Steel Wool Pads for degunking tons of surfaces. They’re one item that lives on under just about every sink!

Using Shades to Keep Your Home Cooler

Remember, air conditioners weren’t a thing back in 1917, so our great-greats had to get a little clever when it came to keeping the house cool. They used to draw the shades during the day to block out the sun (and keep it from heating up a room even more), then draw them back at night to let in the cooler air. If you read tips on how to save energy, this is still one of the most widely used methods of keeping a house cool!

Reusing cooking water


Our grandparents were masters of reusing and repurposing long before it became an eco-friendly thing to do. They did it out of necessity. One super idea that still works well today is reusing your cooking water to flavor other foods. For example, if you steam veggies, use that same water to boil rice!

Hanging clothes out to dry


People have been hanging clothes out to dry since the very first person thought to themselves “gee, my clothes are a little stinky and could use a good washing!” Today, we usually rely on increasingly fancy dryers (my gran actually had one with 37 buttons and didn’t know what 36 of them did, because my grandfather was a great lover of all things techno), but a good old-fashioned drying line in the sun still makes clothes smell as fresh as a summer day! Literally.

Spring Cleaning

Did you know that spring cleaning actually stems from ancient rituals? While scholars are still debating which ancient culture started it (some say it originated in Japan, others say it began with a Jewish Passover ritual), let’s just say it’s definitely older than our grandparents! In 1917, spring cleaning was a time to open up the house again after a long winter, air out the feather mattresses and do all the other chores that they couldn’t really do when the temperatures were frigid.

You don’t need to step back in time to try out these housekeeping tips! While some of them are certainly more time-consuming than others, they’re still great ways to help save money and keep your home clean! Of course, stocking up on S.O.S. pads doesn’t take much time at all, and even after a century they still remain super affordable!

Check out the S.O.S website for fabulous cleaning tips (including plenty of more modern tips) and product information! Follow S.O.S. on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news, and on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube for inspiration.



We’re helping you stock up with an S.O.S. Prize Pack! Two winners will receive 3 boxes of traditional soap pads and 3 packs of Non-Scratch Scrubbers. Giveaway is open to US residents and ends April 17. Enter below for your chance to win!

SOS Giveaway


What are some of your favorite vintage housekeeping tips? How do you use S.O.S pads? Tell us below!


40 thoughts on “5 Vintage Housekeeping Tips That Stood the Test of Time + Giveaway”

  1. Terri Alexander

    These are housekeeping tips that I still use today. My mother and grandmother used them, and I have shown my daughters them as well.

  2. SOS are my go to cleaner for almost everything. They are especially great for pots and pans, but I just used them to clean up my lawn furniture this spring. Whiten whites with lemon. Squeeze a lemon into a pan of hot water. Soak cotton clothes or line for a couple of hours. Then dry in the sun.

  3. I love to use SOS pads on my hard to clean pots. I always use vinegar to clean especially windows.
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  4. My mother had a small box of soft cotton rags – like worn out men’s underwear shirts – to use for dusting and cleaning. That’s still a great idea to use today. We love SOS pads for keeping our cookware clean and shiny.

  5. I always keep an open box of Arm & Hammer baking soda in my fridge and freezer to keep odors to a minimum. I have been using SOS pads for years,they are a staple in my cleaning supplies,they work great cleaning my broiling pan that all the meat sticks to. When my kitchen wash cloth can’t do it I know my SOS pad will!

  6. I’ve been using vinegar to clean lately since it’s such a huge bottle and I’m just trying to use it all. I use SOS pads for hard to get food stains that gather around the stove area every time we cook.

  7. Amanda Alvarado

    I use vinegar to clean and sometimes as a fabric softener. I use SOS pads for cleaning pots and pans and our kitchen sink.

  8. The best cleaning products stand the test of time, and the best practices too. One vintage cleaning tip I use is to use newspaper to clean my windows.

  9. Kelly Hutchinson

    There are many items on this list my mom did. She used SOS pads, as do I. She also hung our laundry to dry.

  10. My favorite vintage tip is cleaning with vinegar. I have a cat and don’t want him getting chemicals all over his paws so I clean the floors with only vinegar and water. :)

  11. Christina Richard

    It’s easy to take for granted how easy we have things these days compared to our ancestors! I probably wouldn’t make it back in those days either! I love SOS, always a reliable brand for spring cleaning!

  12. The best tip I can think of is making sure you clean literally from top to bottom. If you don’t, then you’ll have to clean the floors again…dust and debris fly everywhere when you are cleaning a ceiling fan for example.

  13. I remember my grandmother using steel wool pads for those hard scrub jobs. Her tub and shower were always sparkling clean.

  14. I remember my grandmother always using steel wool pads for those hard scrub jobs. Her tub and shower was always sparkling clean.

  15. I still put down the blinds and pull the curtains shut to help keep the house cooler in the summer and I love using SOS pads on my stainless steel pans making them nice and shiny.

  16. We use it to clean the oven, clean pot and pans. Hint can use the scrubbers to clean the bath tube once a week. Then I place it in the bathroom window to dry and it stays there. Can use marker to write on back,( use for tube only ).

  17. Cheryl Chervitz

    I hang my clothes during the nice times of year. SOS has been around me for a long time, I can’t live without them.

  18. SOS pads have definitely been a part of my cleaning routine, and was passed on from my mom. They surely have stood the test of time.

  19. We used to have a clothesline in our backyard. It didn’t stand the strong storms that come through our area.

  20. I agree these will all stand the test of time. I recall a lot of these items when I was a little girl. Super cool we still have them on the market!

  21. Melanie Corning

    I do not have any tips, but I do use and love sos pads to clean pots and pans and also to clean my stove and oven

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