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Homemade Window Cleaner and Vintage Cookbooks

There are three shelves in my kitchen overflowing with cookbooks. Many of these cookbooks are what I call "old church cookbooks." They are generally found at garage sales and thrift stores, and most of them that I find are from the 1950s-1960s (though I have many from as early as the 1920s, and plenty from the 70s and 80s). 

These cookbooks are real gems, and whenever I see one, I make sure to snatch it up.  Religion has nothing to do with it, so it doesn't matter your faith or lack of; these cookbooks made by the church's "Recipe Committees" are full of vintage wonderfulness.  They are a real snapshot of American housewives in the mid-century 1900s.  Often times, the previous owner of the cookbook has made notes in it, or has saved other recipes clipped from magazines and newspapers and tucked them inside (as seen in the black cookbook above).  There are always a few surprises to be found.

If you page through one, you'll not only find hidden surprises, but plenty of bygone wisdom; these old cookbooks are also filled with clever adages and cooking tips, as seen here:

I should mention, however, that the recipes in these books are notoriously vague.  Many of them do not specify temperature or bake time, and some list only ingredients, but no process as to how you put them together, as seen here for example:

 Generally though, if you have any experience cooking, you can usually figure them out, but they are definitely different than the cookbooks of today.  Today's cookbooks always seem so clean and almost "sterile" to me.  These cookbooks, however, are filled with personality--and usually food stains.

I know that religion is a sticky subject, but these cookbooks are more than just "church."  They had a good intent behind them:  to share good recipes with friends, in order to strengthen friendships, families, and the community.  So, religion aside, that is something that I think most of us can stand by.  

But there's not only the family, friendship, and community motivating my desire to begin sharing these vintage recipes with the world.  I also don't want to see these unique recipes die once these old cookbooks are gone.  Many of them are hand typed, and I can only image the hours these women put into sitting in front of typewriters, clickity-clackitying out copy after copy.  They are a piece of history that deserve to be saved.

And so, the first vintage recipe I'd like to share is, oddly enough, not a food recipe, but rather a cleaner recipe.  I tested this window cleaner, submitted by Lucy Geiger in the 1980 copy of Church of St. Louis, Dorchester, Wisconsin, Country Collectibles cookbook, on many different windows and surfaces in my home, and was very pleased!  It is streak free, and gave the windows a clean, sparkly appearance.  I also found it useful for cleaning other hard surfaces, such as faucet handles, stove top, and the toilet exterior.  As always though, try it on an inconspicuous area of any new surface to make sure it wont damage anything.

Window Cleaner (Print)

2 cups rubbing alcohol
2 Tablespoons ammonia
1 T. dish soap
6 drops liquid bluing
Water to fill to 1 gallon

Put alcohol, ammonia, dish soap, and bluing in a gallon jug.  Fill with cold water.  Tip the jug back and forth to gently combine.  Put in spray bottles for washing windows and appliances.


-You can use an empty milk or vinegar jug to mix the solution.

-An empty window cleaner spray bottle can be reused for your new homemade solution.

-Liquid bluing can be found in the laundry section at your grocery store.  It is optional to add, but is reported to add sparkle to your windows.

-Ammonia is also found in the laundry or cleaner section.  It is inexpensive, and has a wide range of uses around the house.

-You can add essential oils and extracts for fragrance.  I did a batch with orange essential oil and a splash of vanilla extract--it smelled great!

-Microfiber cloths work best for me for cleaning windows.  They are streak free, don't leave lint and hairs behind, and scrub off dirt easily.


  1. Hey there! I am excited to find your blog but I can't read it. The images for your postpartum workout and homemade hairdye are so big they block your posts. Is there any way to fix this?

    1. I will look into it Nicole, thank you for letting me know!

  2. This is an astounding post I seen because of offer it. It is truly what I needed to see trust in future you will proceed in sharing such a great post.

  3. Excellent read, I just passed this into a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that. check website

  4. Very useful post, Thanks for sharing this information with us, keep updating your post.
    cleaning equipments in chennai

  5. When making a schedule I think it is a good idea to make sure cleaning from the top down is included. I always forget to dust before vacuuming. I also recommend getting as much help as you can to get everything clean. Spring cleaning takes a lot of work and any help you can get will be a huge blessing.


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