Some time ago, I promised to show you how, exactly, I clean the various rooms in this old, old, house. We’ve already tackled the master bedroom. Shall we get down and dirty in the entrance hall?
The entrance hall was an important feature in 18th- and 19th-century homes. Guests waited here until the host was ready to “receive.” The quality of the hall indicated the quality of the rest of the house, and, by association, its inhabitants. Decorative features were minimal but highbrow.
The hall is not, however, loaded with…stuff. It is sparsely furnished, and free of clutter. You will not find boots and shoes beside the door. Nor will you find mail piled up on tables, and coats flung over chairs. Tables are for the display of decorative items. Chairs are for…sitting.
Re-reading the previous paragraph, I realize I sound like a stuffy old queen. And perhaps I am.
In any event, I’d like to encourage you to keep your own entrance hall (or “entrance way”) company-ready.
The weekly cleaning-routine:
On a side note, a good dust mop always makes a fine dancing partner. It can twirl, dip, and tango like nobody’s business.
2. Dust chair rails and baseboards. Here, a clean, dry, microfiber cloth does the work. You can find such cloths in supermarkets and hardware stores. They are washable and thus reusable. They are not expensive.
I do not fall for cleaning “fads.” You will not find a “Swiffer” here. Nor will you find disposable “cleaning sheets.” They are a waste of money.
4. Clean Finished Wood Doors. Murphy’s Oil Soap is my choice for finished woodwork, including the mahogany pocket doors in the entrance hall. (These lead to the parlor, which you can visit in this post). I spray the soap on a terry-cloth rag, and go to town.
To get into the crevices in carved panels of doors, hold a blunt knife (or a plastic spatula) against the rag, and apply gentle pressure. Pay particular attention to the lowest crevices on a door, as dust always settles in them.
Tip: When it comes to decorative pieces, remember that less is best. Cluttered tabletops are a visual horror. Furthermore, they are difficult to clean. It takes me all of two seconds to remove the three photos from the empire “games table” pictured above.
Tip: To bring out the sheen in antique tables, rub them periodically with lemon oil. A few drops on a clean terry cloth is all you need. I use lemon oil not only on my entrance hall tables, but on my mahogany pocket doors, too. The oil has a gorgeous scent.
True Confession: I hate vacuuming stairs. But someone’s gotta do it.
7. Check Window Hangings. If you dust your ceiling and walls regularly, you’ll find that your window treatments rarely need attention. The hangings in my bay window, above, require vacuuming only twice each year. Thank goodness.
Tip: When you vacuum draperies, use the upholstery attachment, and reduce the suction power to “low.” Otherwise the machine can mangle the fabric trim.
8. Mop the floors. I pour a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar into the nifty bottle that’s attached to my Rubbermaid mop. The formula works wonders on the 188-year-old wood floors in the entrance hall.
9. Swab light switches and door knobs. Don’t forget these! You can clean them with any all-purpose cleaner, including Murphy’s Oil Soap. Probably Murphy’s should pay me something for mentioning them so frequently (and shamelessly) in this article.
Got any entrance hall-cleaning tips of your own? By all means share them in the comments field below. And here’s another topic of conservation: Does your spouse or partner help out with the cleaning chores?
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