Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Household Arts/Housekeeping

Household Arts
General Conference
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1929

1. Have the Laundering Honor.


Instructions and tips for earning the Laundering honor can be found in the Household Arts chapter.

2. List items used in keeping a house clean.

  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Dust cloths
  • Toilet brush
  • Scrub brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Furniture polish
  • Window cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Sponges

3. Describe the best way to keep stoves, microwave ovens, and refrigerators clean.


The best way to keep these items clean is by cleaning them often. As soon as something is spilled on the stovetop, in the microwave, or in the fridge, it is a lot easier to clean now than it will be later when the spilled item hardens.

4. Under what conditions do germs and pests thrive? Give ways of cleaning each of the following: basement, closets, cupboards, sinks, floors and toilets.


Germs and pests love filth, and that is the primary reason for keeping things clean. Germs and pests carry and spread disease, so keeping the house clean will also help keep its occupants healthy.



Basements should be swept frequently and kept as dry as possible. If the basement is prone to wetness, it should not be carpeted and nothing should be stored on the floor. Rather, everything should be placed on top of pallets or shelves so that the dampness cannot get into the items stored and cause them to mold. A wet basement should be treated for mold and mildew.

If possible, find the source of the wetness and have it repaired.



Closets should be kept neat and orderly. Closet organizers, shoe racks, and shelves are excellent aids in this endeavor. It's a good idea to air out the closet occasionally, and the floors should be swept or vacuumed whenever the house is cleaned.



Cupboards should be periodically emptied and wiped down. If the shelves are lined with shelf paper, the paper can be changed every now and then to freshen the look of the cupboards.



Sinks should be cleaned frequently. This can be done with dish soap and a sponge or a wash cloth. Stainless steel sinks can be scrubbed with steel wool. If the sink has a garbage disposal, the rubber gasket around the drain should be removed and cleaned frequently too (they get pretty gross). Run citrus peels through the disposal to freshen it up.



Hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors should be swept and mopped. Carpeted floors should be vacuumed frequently and steam cleaned every now and then.



Toilets should be scrubbed on the inside with a toilet brush. Especially important is the area just under the rim. A toilet cleaner should be used to do this. The seat, rim, and lid also need to be wiped down with a general-purpose cleaner, as does the outside of the bowl and the tank.

5. State the proper way to prepare dishes for washing, either in the sink or dishwasher. State the order in which silver, glass, table, and kitchen dishes should be washed.


Scrape all leftover food into a garbage disposal or into the trash. Dishes with tough, stuck-on food may need to be soaked before it can be cleaned. Oatmeal becomes almost cement-like if it hardens in the bowl or pot, so soaking is almost absolutely a requirement. This is true whether the dish will be hand washed or machine washed.

Modern dishwashers do not require that the dish be rinsed before running it through the cycle - the dishwasher will rinse them at least as well as you will. If washing them by hand, it is a good idea to rinse them off first so that you do not spoil the water. It is difficult to get anything clean with dirty water! Once the dishes are prepared for washing, they should be stacked.

Glasses should be washed first, followed by silverware, table dishes, and finally kitchen dishes. In general, the order is to wash the cleanest items first, saving the dirtiest items for last. Glasses are difficult to get clean unless the dishwater is grease-free, so that is the reason they should be done first even if they are more dirty than the silver or table dishes. Keep an eye on the dishwater - if it becomes disgusting, change it!

6. How should rugs, carpets, pillows, upholstered furniture, papered walls, painted walls, floors, and windows be cleaned?




Rugs can be taken outside and shaken out, or even hung over a line and beaten. Keep shaking or beating the rug until dirt stops coming out.



Carpets should be vacuumed frequently and steam-cleaned every now and then. If something is spilled on a carpet, it should be cleaned up right away. The best way to do this is by placing an absorbent material (dish towel, wash cloth, or paper towel) over the spill and pressing. As it absorbs the spill, move a dry area of the towel over the spill and continue until it no longer comes up wet. Some spills should be treated with an upholstery/carpet cleaner immediately after this or the carpet will be permanently stained (juices) or bleached (vomit).



Pillows usually have an outer covering that can be removed and machine washed. Let the padded portion of the pillow air out while the cover is laundered.

Upholstered furniture


Furniture upholstered with cloth can (and should) be vacuumed whenever the carpets are vacuumed. Remove the cushions and vacuum the undersides, as well as the portion of the furniture underneath them. They can also be touched up with an upholstery cleaner. Follow the directions on the bottle.

Furniture upholstered with leather can be wiped down with a damp cloth, and should be cleaned occasionally with a leather cleaner. Be sure that the leather cleaner you choose is for furniture, or you may end up with stains on your clothing.

Papered walls


Papered walls should be cleaned with a slightly dampened cloth. Be careful not to get the paper too wet or it may peel off.

Painted walls


Painted walls are more durable than papered walls, so they can be scrubbed down with soapy water. Glossy finishes clean easier than satin or flat finishes, so when choosing a paint, keep that in mind. A bathroom, kitchen, or small child's room might be better served with a glossy finish. A ceiling or master bedroom can be painted with a flat paint (if desired).



Hardwood, tile, and linoleum floors should be swept frequently and mopped occasionally. Always sweep right before mopping. To mop a floor, fill a mop bucket half way with warm or hot water, and add a floor cleaner to it. Submerge the mop under the water, pull it up, wring it out, and then pass it over the floor, "painting" the entire surface of the floor. Plan out where you will mop so that you do not have to walk over the damp floor. It is best to do this chore when small children are outside, not home, or asleep, as they sometimes have difficulty understanding that they should not walk on a wet floor. Carpeted floors should be vacuumed or steamed. Carpets should be frequently cleaned because dust collects faster in carpets because of the material.



Windows should be washed with window cleaner or with a mixture of vinegar and water. Spray the cleaner on the glass, and then wipe it off, being careful to not leave streaks. When washing both sides of the glass, make the last pass horizontally on the inside and vertically on the outside (or vice versa) so that you can tell which side of the glass a streak is on.

7. How is trash disposed of in your community?


This answer book cannot know how trash is disposed of in your community. You will need to check with your local government for that information. Waste is most commonly placed in a landfill or incinerated. Some communities require that waste be sorted - yard waste, recyclables, construction waste, household waste, and toxic waste are all treated differently.

8. What precautions should be taken in cleaning out a fireplace?


The main danger to be concerned with when cleaning out a fireplace is that of starting an accidental fire. Be sure the ash contains no embers by waiting until no fire has been burning for at least 12 hours. Cover the ashes with damp newspaper to keep the dust down, then shovel the ash into a bag, seal and take the bag outside. You may wish to wear a dust mask when doing this, and you may wish to cover the hearth with a tarp to contain the mess. Do not douse a fire in a fireplace with water except in an emergency, as this can cause the firebox to crack. It will also cause the ash to harden and stick to the brick, making it difficult to clean.

Be sure to have the chimney cleaned by a professional annually so that soot and creosote do not build up - this is a fire hazard.

9. What is meant by keeping a home "baby safe"?


Babies have ways of making their own danger. A house that is "baby safe" has been examined and actions taken to prevent a baby from endangering itself (or others). Unused outlets are covered so that the baby cannot insert paper clips, coins, or other conductive items into them. Cleaners, poisons, and other toxic items are stored out of the baby's reach or locked where they are inaccessible. Stairways are gated so the baby cannot fall down (or climb up and then fall down). Items smaller than a golf ball should also be stored out of a baby's reach, as these are choking hazards. Babies explore the world with their mouths, so they may try to "eat" anything that they can fit into their mouths.

10. Plan and do the work in a house for one week.


This is an example of what your plan should look like

Day Activity

Monday Sweep and mop staircase, living room and kitchen

Tuesday Sweep and mop bedrooms

Wednesday Clean bathroom

Thursday Clean mirrors and windows

Friday No work done – preparation for Sabbath

Saturday No work done Sabbath

Sunday Change bed linen