One of the main goals of the Rengstorff House operation is to provide people with a unique historical experience while preserving it at the same time for future generations to experience it as well.
There are plenty of ways to preserve a historic house. These can include pest control management, building maintenance, and disaster preparedness to name a few. However, basic housekeeping like pressure washing the patio contributes a lot to the success of all these aspects. When done the right way, regularly cleaning an old house is the key to prevent wear and tear of interiors, helps in preventing pests, and contributes to the maintenance of the structure.
The Importance Of Cleaning Historic Museum Houses
We all know that everything in our homes can get dirty all the time. Dirt and dust tend to accumulate at a remarkable rate on furniture and books. Just imagine how much dirt and dust can build-up in your house when you're out for the whole weekend!
Think about what can happen to an open to the public house museum like the Rengstorff house which receives thousands of visitors every year. The carpeting and floors can easily wear down. Visitors touch walls, furniture, and banisters which can lead to interior finishes and collections getting damaged. House houses are not designed to cater to heavy traffic that can occur once it has been made accessible to the public.
A historic house, whether a private residence or a museum, can receive far more stresses compared to a modern home. It is not sealed like a modern structure. It has worn out floorboards that have shifted, most windows and doors are no longer hanging suitably in their openings, and installing modern ventilation can bring in even more dust and dirt most of the time. There are times when even a deep-cleaning can have a hard time preventing these pollutants from sneaking their way into the house. For cases like these, it is best to hire a historic house and museum cleaning services.
Furthermore, historic houses are usually adorned with things that need long-term maintenance and preservation. These antiques, whether a family quilt that has been around for a century or a gorgeous marble-topped table, are highly fragile, and even the most modern cleaning method will not be able to care of them. They should be handled with the utmost care and precautions when cleaning them.
General Cleaning Tips
- Before deep-cleaning, clear the space with any clutter. Pick up stuff on top of the counters, on the floors, table tops, and draped on pieces of furniture.
- Prepare all the cleaning tools and supplies you need before embarking on the job. You don't want to waste a single minute of your time to stop and looking for something especially when you're already on the rhythm.
- Use the gentlest products and cleaning methods as much as possible on heirlooms. The last thing you want is to damage their underlying finishes.
- Test first the cleaning agents you're going to use on unnoticeable areas. Analyze the results and see if the method or product is really effective. Take note of any damage or adverse effects that resulted from the cleaning.
- Set a safety zone where you will work which includes cleaning supplies and padded tables. Also, set dry and wet areas. Makes sure all materials have been dried thoroughly you return them to the dry area. These areas will ensure that the objects you are cleaning are safe from contamination from sources outside and once it is cleaned as well.
- Finish the task at hand first before moving on to the other. Consider segmenting the cleaning process into doable, small tasks.
- It is important to use proper cleaning products, supplies, and tools. Ensure that they have been cleaned as well. If they get contaminated during the process, clean or replace them.
- When your cleaning tools are dirty, replace them. It is never a good idea to dust the whole room using one cloth.
- Do not overclean antiques since it can actually cause damage instead of preventing them.
Here are some of the suggested supplies you need to include in your list:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Pressure washer for the patio and outdoor furniture
- Brush with stiff bristles
- Baking soda
- Dusting cloths
- Dish soap
- Gloves for protecting your hands
- Garden hose
- Telescoping pole for reaching high areas
- Lint roller
- Glass and window cleaner
- Mineral oil
- White vinegar
- Garden hose for outdoor or yard work
- Polish or wood cleaner
- Multi-purpose cleaner
The Traditional Approach
Old houses are maintained by our grandmas without the modern cleaning solutions we have today. Instead, they use the following tried-and-tested ways:
- Fancy mirror and cleaning sprays are not available during the old days. Mixing up 1 1/2 cup of water, 1 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle can do the trick. Spray it on your mirror or window, and wipe away using a lint-free cloth.
- Traditional cleaning products such as Old English or lemon oil are still available on local groceries and supermarkets. These are great for dusting furniture and for adding sheen to your kitchen cabinets.
- Deep-clean as seasons change. Try washing your windows, deep-clean carpet or change the furnace filter at least once a year.
- Looking for a natural multi-purpose cleaner? Borax powder is a proven, versatile multi-purpose cleaner that has been around a long time. It works well on floors, tiles, fixtures, greasy kitchen cabinets, and porcelain sinks. Simply sprinkle a bit of borax on your damp sponge, and you'll be able to wipe that dirt and grime away in no time.
- You can degunk your shower head easily using white vinegar and a plastic bag. Simply pour the white vinegar in the plastic bag, place it around the shower head using a rubber band to hold it in place. After several hours, remove it and remove excess residue using an old toothbrush.
- Keep your old house smelling fresh naturally using 100% vanilla extract. Its natural smell is great at deodorizing the air compared to chemical-based air fresheners. Soak some cotton balls with vanilla and place them discreetly in plants or over a cool light bulb, once it heats up, the entire room will smell great.