June 2, 2015

Non-electric Housekeeping

I've been wanting one of these for a long time.

Carpet sweeper

While I probably don't care for housework any better than the next person, I do like a clean house (theoretically, at least). One of my least favorite housekeeping tools is the vacuum cleaner. They are heavy, noisy, awkward, always dusty dirty, always with the cord in the way, and why is it that anytime I use a wand attachment all the dust blows out the back??? I admit that it is a good tool for some things, but for a lick and a promise, they are too much work to deal with.


This little carpet sweeper, on the other hand, is lightweight, easy to transport, and quiet, plus it uses no electricity (although a number of them are now battery powered, to which I say - why?). It does a decent job on our wood floors, but especially for my little area rugs. I like these little rugs because they add color, warmth, softness, and help protect the finish on the wood floor in high traffic areas. This is the perfect tool for them.

How about you? Any gripes about modern "convenience" tools? Any other ideas for non-electric housekeeping?

Non-electric Housekeeping © June 2015 

50 comments:

Jayne M said...

I totally agree with you! I really dislike vacuuming. I like the clean carpets but I hate the vacuum cleaner for all the reasons you listed. I always love sweeping. It is very therapeutic, especially as it is QUIET! Vacuum cleaners are so noisy. I would love to have a non-electric house, like Tasha Tudor, but no one else in my house would agree with me there! I haven't been able to find a carpet sweeper here, more's the pity. I am also on the lookout for a push mower.

Dawn McHugh said...

I got a carpet sweeper just before we moved and love it quick and easy to use, I also bought a second hand mangle, I dont if thats what you call them, two big rubber rollers that squeeze the water out of the washing operated by hand, I wanted it for when I was blankets and quilts by hand instead of taking them to the dry cleaners

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Youv'e set me thinking now. I have a thing about being independent of electricity. Not all the time you understand, but we often have power cuts here and I pride myself on how we cope at such times (open fires, treadle machine, wind up torches etc) I also dislike the sound of vacuum cleaners, which are SO noisy. I seem to remember that carpet sweepers will pick up from bare floors too.

Leigh said...

Jayne, I bought my carpet sweeper off of Amazon! The handle had to be assembled but that was it. We can find push reel mowers around (our Lowes carries them) but the new ones are very lightweight.The old ones (occasionally on craigslist) are much heavier duty, which in the end, means less work.

Leigh said...

Let's see, we'd call that a wringer here. Actually the washing machine is something I think about in terms of electric versus non-electric. Mine is very old and if it wasn't for Dan would have been done for a long time ago. The reviews I've read on even the top rated new ones all say to purchase the service contract because it will most certainly be needed. I just can't see paying close to a thousand dollars for something and then having to make an additional purchase just so I won't have to pay to fix it! Not sure what I'll do when I get to that bridge.

Leigh said...

Actually I've been thinking about a treadle sewing machine now too, although I doubt i could find one in working order that I could afford. We recently installed a solar motion activated outdoor light, which I really like, but solar needs replacing from time to time too, so I'm still on the consumer bandwagon. And yes, carpet sweepers pick up off bare floors too!

Dani said...

I remember those :) I didn't think they were available anymore. I wonder if it would work on our (uneven) clay floor tiles...?

Farmer Barb said...

I am a housework nerd. I love my quickie broom and my Scotch green microfiber for the dog hair. If my rugs get too hairy, I have been known to Furminate the trouble spots. My microfiber rags are the champions of the cleaning bucket. In the kitchen, my favorite is my spray bottle with the vinegar/water/teaspoon dish soap and my hand knit cotton scrubbing cloths. (size 10 needles, 25 stitches/30 rows garter stitch). If I could just turn off the electricity and be one with my chores, I would be happiest. The freezer would melt, though...

Kris said...

I have been using my little Fuller Brush carpet sweeper for those 'quickie' cleans for a couple of years. My mom had it set out for a garage sale. I was in 'sales' mode, demonstrating to a couple how good it was, not cheaply made and look, even picked up the ants on the driveway.... waaaaaait. Sorry, just remembered it's not for sale - and took it home with me. LOL

Fiona said...

Does a hand operated egg beater count? I use my old one for simple mixing and it is much easier to clean than the electric one. No cord to drag over the counter top either. I think we should all be looking at more non-electric tools for around the home! I love that area rug by the way:).

Penelope White said...

Treadles are still out there... broken ones. You can get a base and add the machine later. To buy one in functioning condition will cost a pretty penny...

I wanted a floor sweeper but couldn't find one in the brick and mortar stores. Didn't think about Amazon.....

Quinn said...

Don't give up on finding a treadle sewing machine for a good price! There's a group on ravelry that posts all sorts of old sewing machines found on craigslist, in thrift shops, etc., and there are certainly some expensive ones, but also some amazing bargains. AND there are a lot of online resources for learning how to clean up a long-neglected machine and get it singing again.

Quinn said...

Oh, and my vacuum is a drag-around monster bought at a 2nd-hand shop around 1980 for $35. I call it the Jetsons Vacuum, because it has an early-60s "space" design vibe. I once took it to a shop to have the old cord replaced, and when I went to pick it up the owner told me he had called other people (vacuum fans, I guess?) to come by and see it :)

Renee Nefe said...

working treadles are available here all the time. Mine works, but could use a good tune up and a new belt. One day I should sit down and do that. Maybe when I grow up. ;) Mine wasn't all that expensive.

Renee Nefe said...

I was toying with the idea of one of the robotic vacuums but they still aren't all that good. I should get a carpet sweeper...at least for the down stairs so it gets done more often.

notmolly said...

If you can get the treadle assembly, a new belt, a basic table, a plunge-router, and a solid basic modern machine, you can retrofit anything with a flywheel to run on treadle power.

Carpet sweepers: as a child, my baby brother christened ours the "Huh-di-duh", and that's still the family term for it, due to the sound it makes when used.

Florida Farm Girl said...

We use a carpet sweeper on the rug just inside the door. No need to drag out the big vacuum or the long built in system hose.

Sandy said...

Leigh,

I recently replaced my vacuum with a lighter one. I noticed as I get older those big bulky vacuums are too much to maneuver when cleaning house. Now from time to time, I will use a broom on my throw rugs because our son is sleeping during the day and works nights. So I would say, my handy non electric grass broom works great when trying to be quiet or when the electric goes out.
I do like the sweeper you picked up!!

Leigh said...

Ya'll prompted me to look at craigslist for treadle machines. Non-working ones seem to range $50 to $150, working ones start at about $200. Something to think about!

De said...

We have that exact same carpet sweeper. I got ours at a garage sale. I use it on the low loft carpet upstairs but never thought to use it on bare floors. Hmm.

I love to push mow but always had trouble with the pull start on our mower. We solved that problem with a new model reel mower for Mother's Day. It isn't tough enough for the field grass in our lower lawn if it gets too tall but it's perfect for the area around the house.

tpals said...

Now I want a carpet sweeper! Love the phone too.

My favorite non-electric tool is the clothesline. :)

Chris said...

As a teenager, my grandmother had one of these in her house. They were hard to push, especially as the hairs got wrapped around the brushes. I remember fighting with it more to get it operational, then fighting again to push it on the carpet. Those bristles would stick to the carpet and not give them up. You had to get a good run-up to build momentum for the drums to turn, lol.

I would recommend cleaning the brushes after each use, to avoid those impenetrable coils of hair around the drums. Do you have two drums on the bottom, or just one?

As far as my grandmother was concerned though, she said they were a vast improvement on taking the rugs out to the clothesline and beating them the old fashioned way. ;)

Bear in mind, my grandmothers carpet sweeper was all metal, heavy and took a She-hulk to operate.

Leigh said...

Dani, good question. It's a Bissell brand and works on wood floors.

Farmer Liz said...

Oh yes. I hate the vacuum cleaner. I remember my gran had one of these (she also used to say "lick and promise"). I wondered if you could still get them, I'm going to see what is available in Australia now. This is the main reason we don't have rugs, I don't want to have to vacuum them! We have tiles or wood floor that can be swept, but rugs are nice....

Leigh said...

I keep saying I'm going to knit my own dish rags but never get around to it! I do like microfiber too, especially for dusting.

Leigh said...

Kris, very smart! I imagine yours is much better quality than my new one. Quality seems to be a thing of the past on all levels these days.

Leigh said...

Oh yes! I love my hand egg beater too. Also my Danish whisk. I keep a little hand mixer for the times I need to make a meringue or whipped cream.

Leigh said...

Quinn, I mentioned above that I've already begun searching craigslist. Have to agree about the internet, such a great resource for learning absolutely anything!

Leigh said...

Sounds like you have a 'vintage' vacuum cleaner, LOL.

Leigh said...

I guess you've seen the video with the cat riding around on one of those things? What a hoot. And I have to say that I tend to pull out the carpet sweeper way more than I do the vacuum. :)

Leigh said...

That's what I'm talkin' about!

Leigh said...

Sandy, I use brooms on my short pile throw rugs too. But I really like the carpet sweeper better. I bought the sweeper off of Amazon. It was pretty reasonable, I thought.

Leigh said...

De, I'm glad to hear your reel mower works so well. I should consider getting one for our front yard at least. I don't mind mowing, but the noise and vibration from the mower wears me out.

Leigh said...

Ooo, I love my solar and wind powered clothes dryer too!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Hi Leigh, That carpet sweeper looks like just the thing to have!! I hate lugging the heavy electric ones around too. Nancy

Leigh said...

My grandmother had one too and I recall it was very heavy. Now, of course, they are plastic. It has two rolling brushes on the bottom and four stationary corner brushes. The roller brushes are easy to clean, but they aren't particularly sturdy. Still, they do a really good job. It has two "pans" that can be emptied out regularly as well.

I've beaten rugs (small ones) and have to agree that's a dirty job!

Leigh said...

Liz, rugs are really nice on hard floors, especially in winter! I found my carpet sweeper on Amazon and I'm guess you'll be able to find one down under too!

Leigh said...

Nancy, it is a very welcome addition. :)

Unknown said...

I agree on buying the service contract. Our previous washer was a High Efficiency Whirlpool Cabrio...Cost over $750 new and was junk in three years...Bearing. The electronics was still good. The mechanical part was junk. I was able to nurse along the Frigidare (?) Front load before that for about 8 years, but had to do a MAJOR rebuild at about year 5 on that one. I finally got so frustrated that I bought an old Kenmore off of Craig's List. I was tempted to pick up an old Maytag Wringer washer, but the wife squashed that idea even though I help with the laundry. RonC

1st Man said...

You know, I never thought about that, I remember these little sweepers. I honestly didn't know they still made them what with all the Roombas and Sharks and Dyson's.

This may sound strange but one of my favorite things we have, since the house has some high ceilings, is a 'cobweb broom' that I found in the Lehman's catalog. The spiders here seem to find the highest corners of the rooms to build a web.

I also have a porch broom that I find cathartic when sweeping the porch, ha.

It's the little things in life!

Unknown said...

You can get something more versatile than the old Singers here:

http://www.amazon.com/Janome-Treadle-Powered-Machine-712T/dp/B001HK9KT4

Saw this mentioned in BackHome Magazine a while back. Don't actually own one myself. RonC

Lynda D said...

We are in half half land at the moment, half the house is bamboo flooring (so beautiful) and the other half ratty old carpet so im cleaning one with a micro broom and the other with the vac. I know the new DYSON has a multi floor head but really, a broom is so much quieter and simple to use. I have my grandmothers Singer treadle sewing machine with the original manual, bobbins, needles and feet. I dont use it (but hope one day to at least have it out on display. My Mum uses hers still (85) and she taught us to sew on it when we were little, making our own hankies. My favorite non electric tool is a Tupperware thingy that chops by pulling a rip cord which turns the blades. Onions are done with about 10 pulls. I can change the blade to a whipper and do cream in about 3 minutes (great workout). I love looking at You Tube clips of Amish kitchen tools. I think i'm definitely living in the wrong era.

badgerpendous said...

We have an expensive vacuum, one that weighs WAY too much. And the power switch broke, but we keep it around anyway. So silly!

Some of the habits we have... :)

Leigh said...

I've never heard of a cobweb broom but we have high ceilings too so I'll have to research that! I do love my Lehman's catalog, even if they are on the high end of pricing. Find lots of good ideas there.

Leigh said...

Lynda, I'm not familiar with your Tupperware thingy, so I'll have to do some research! Earlier I mentioned the little hand mixer for making whipped cream, but I also have a hand whipper which works pretty well, actually. I forgot about that, Shame on me now I need to go dig it out!

Leigh said...

Ha! You need to go to YouTube and look up how to change the power switch! Dan fixed the lever on mine which kept it upright - with a rubber band! That's the trouble with plastic parts. They don't last very long.

Leigh said...

Ron, wow, thanks! I had no idea they made those new. I like that it can do button holes! And the price is about what it would cost for an antique one (which may or may not need repair), I'd need a treadle cabinet but they seem fairly reasonable to pick up without the machine. My old electric sewing machine has a bobbin case fail so Dan's been on my to get a new one. He's going to get his wish!

Leigh said...

I don't know why, but there is something disconcerting about having to buy a service contract for a brand new piece of equipment. They used to come with a real warranty! To me, it's an admission that they made a poor product, or maybe it's an excuse to make them poorly. I tend to not buy the service contracts, on the rare occasions I buy something where one is offered. I confess I have doubts that they'd actually honor it, or that they'd figure some way to charge me for something. sigh. I know that sounds somewhat cynical, but product track records haven't offered me a different point of view.

Quinn said...

I think I bypassed "vintage" and went all the way to "museum piece"! LOL

tpals said...

I wonder how many others (besides me) ordered a carpet sweeper? Companies could send you samples to try and review here.