Tuesday is traditionally ironing day. Given the headache Laundry Day gave me yesterday, as well as the fact that I'm still doing laundry, I think Ironing Day is better saved for another Tuesday. So, today, I'm on to something different.
In my discussion of cleaning equipment, I mentioned lemon oil as something I needed to get, so that I could make the lemon oil treated dust cloths recommended by America's Housekeeping Book. In the comments, Jes (Alberta) said that she thought lemon oil was like Pledge. Given that it's used in the book to treat dust clothes that are then dried before use, and also used to polish wooden furniture, that seems like an excellent guess.
However, neither America's Housekeeping Book nor any of the other volumes I have gave a recipe to make lemon oil, leaving me to figure it must have either been available commercially in the 40s or so common that knowing how to make it was assumed. Today, the only things I found available commercially were lemon furniture polish, which would likely work but I'm not crazy about the usually artificial lemon smell, or lemon essential oil, which is lovely and I do have on hand, but it's far too expensive to use in the kind of quantities the book recommends. After a little Googling, I decided that the closest approximation to what the book calls "lemon oil" would actually be some sort of carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or olive oil, mixed with either lemon juice or lemon EO. About.com suggested a mixture of 1 cup olive oil to 1/2 cup lemon juice. I decided to experiment a bit and came up with my own recipe.
1. Pour the juice of two lemons into a spray bottle (about 1/2-3/4 cup)
2. Add several drops (8-12) of lemon essential oil.
3. Fill the spray bottle the remainder of the way (about 1-1 1/2 cups) with sweet almond oil.
The product ends up thick, creamy, and not pleasantly-but-not-overly lemon scented. Score!
To make the treated dusters it recommends, America's Housekeeping Book gives the following instructions:
1 pint hot water
1/4 cup lemon oil
Combine hot water and lemon oil. Dip 4-5 cheesecloth squares (20" X 20") in solution. Press solution through cloth thoroughly. Squeeze out all excess moisture. Dry thoroughly. Then, after I dust with the cloths, I am to wash them in warm soapy water, dry them, and re-treat them with the lemon oil and hot water solution. Since I don't have cheesecloth, I substituted old flour sack towels--they seemed the closest thing, weight-wise. I mixed up some of my lemon oil with some hot water in a bowl, then soaked the towels in it, wrung them out, and hung them over my porch rail to dry in the sun.
If nothing else, my hands are moisturized and smell nice, and I don't have to worry about having just dipped them in nasty chemicals. Whether these dust cloths will be magically remains to be seen. I'll keep you posted.