Market Lavington Museum

Cleaning the bedroom


At Market Lavington Museum, we have a somewhat tatty notebook containing handwritten information for a housewife or maid about how to perform many household chores.

There was obviously an expectation that the bedroom would be cleaned every week. The notes allude to a time when bedrooms were heated by a fire in a fireplace, which would have contributed to the dust levels. However, I doubt that many of us feel the need to sweep our bedroom walls on a weekly basis nowadays.

‘Sweep carpet’ suggests that this job was to be done with a stiff brush or a carpet sweeper and the mention of ‘waiting for the dust to settle’ reminds us that the introduction of vacuum cleaners must have been a real boon. Rooms with fireplaces usually had a hearth rug and this had to be shaken outside.

The weekly clean also required the washstand to be washed. Houses wouldn’t have had running water and washing in the bedroom was done using a ewer and bowl. (See Wash ewer here!)

There may have been ornaments to clean and brasses to polish too, as well as a bed to be made.