Housekeeping Systems, Inc.
News & History



How you gather, manage and use information
will determine whether you win or lose."

----- Bill Gates, 1993


Housekeeping News, History and Trivia for your reading pleasure.
The news is from a wide variety of publications. It's not meant to be
comprehensive, but it's what has caught our eye. Bookmark this page
and use it as a reference tool. You never know when knowing the
origin of toilet paper will come in handy.

Submit news and history items for inclusion on this page. If your item
is selected for inclusion, you will recieve full credit. Submit items,
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In The News

History & Trivia Items

Facial Tissue
Powdered Cleansers

Soap Recipe - Make Your Own Soap
SOS Pads
Toilet Paper


In The News

05-06 - Nature Magazine - Naturaly delivered babies have an advantage over babies delivered by Caesarean Section.
Babies moving through the mother's birth canal have been shown to swallow small amounts of the mother's
amniotic fluid and fecal matter. This appears to jump-start the babies digestive system and charge the immune system.
Babies born by Caesarean Section do not have this advantage, and studies of Caesarean-Delivered children later in life,
show statistically significant numbers of them have digestive problems and weaker immune systems.

10-7-05 - The Week News Magazine - The Associated Press reports the results of a study by the American
Society of Microbiology found that only 38% of men leave a public restroom having washed their hands.
Women tend to wash their hands about 90% of the time.

01-05 - Sky Magazine - Dung Ho! - Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say that exposure to dirt and
filth before age 2 appears to be what pushes the human immune system one way or another. They say that
older children raised in homes where soil levels were higher (as measured by the level of fecal bacteria imbedded
in mattresses) had fewer incidents of allergies and asthma than children raised in cleaner homes. It appears,
say researchers, that when the immune system doesn't have enough to do, it becomes obsessed with petty
things like allergens.

02-30-04 - The Week News Magazine - Doctors Caught Dirty Handed - According to studies in the
Annals of Internal Medicine, Physicians fail to wash their hands between patients 40%~60% of the time
(see Scrubbing Down Hospitals on this same page). Think about that the next time your doctor says "say ahh".

11-05-03 - Wall Street Journal - Dexter Webb- You May Not Be as Clean as You Think - Studies at New
York University have documented that the common household sponge, typically used in the kitchen, is
probably the most highly contaminated object in most households. Given that these sponges are used in a
variety of roles in the kitchen from cleaning counter tops to soaking up the juice from raw chicken, they
become highly efficient vectors for transmission of bacteria to human hosts. In addition, the study found
that toilets, when flushed, can eject nearly microscopic amounts of fecal matter up to 20 feet from the toilet.

07-08-03 - Infectious Disease Society of America News Release - Antibacterial Soap No Better Than Regular
A National Institute of Health study has confirmed that antimicrobial or antibacterial hand soaps provide
no added value over plain soap. The more important factor relating to effectiveness of hand washing was the
length and detail of hand washing rather than the soap type used.

06-2003 - Health Facilities Magazine - William Wagner - Double-Edged Sword...Alcohol-Based Hand Cleaners -
To be effective against a wide variety of organisms, alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be more than 60% alcohol
by volume. This concentration of alcohol makes these products a hazardous and flammable material. The CDC
has reported ignition of nonevaporated alcohol, from these products, on a healthcare worker's hands. The incident
resulted after the worker applied alcohol-based hand sanitizer to her hands, immediately removed a polyester
gown and touched a metal door before the alcohol had dried. The resulting static electric spark ignited her hands.

06-11-03 - Wall Street Journal - Ray Smith - How Design Affects the Mind - The General Services Administration
in conjunction with the National Institute of Health have studied stress in the workplace by having volunteers wear
portable heart-rate monitors and make a log of their activities over a 24 hour period in the workplace. Using brain
imaging scanners, University of Wisconsin - Madison is studying how indivuiduals react when shown images of
poorly designed and well designed work spaces. These are the first really detailed studies performed to study what
the GSA Public Building Division has said for years. That how a building is designed has a direct affect occupants
moods, emotions and health. Preliminary results are expected near the end of 2003.

06-05-03 - Wall Street Journal - Jared Sandberg - Workplace Litter Can Turn Any Office Into a Real Rat Race -
Insect and varmint problems can bring office productivity to a screeching halt. Office workers using poor personel
and work space hygine can attract insects and rodents even into work spaces 50 or 60 storys up in a highrise office
building. Insects can also hitch a ride into office spaces inside clothing or cardboard boxes brought in from the outside.
When office workers, unaccustomed to finding wildlife on the 63rd story of an office building, find roaches swimming
in the water fountain or mice making a den in thier desk drawer, they can freak out. Pest control specialists tell of
instances where the entire human population of an office building floor refusing to re-enter the area until the pests
had been eliminated or of entire departments stopping all work while they spent a couple of days disassembled and
cleaning every desk, file cabinet, locker and drawer.

06-01-03 - St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Betty Cuniberti - TP: A Little Vandalism, A Lotta Love - This is for all you
people out there who like statistics. A nice article about how getting your house TP'd is really about being liked and
not really about being mean. The point for us is that Ms. Cuniberti quotes governement studies that report that the
average American spends $75.00 per year on 20,805 sheets of toilet paper and that the average person
(male, female, you, me??) uses 57 sheets of toilet paper per day. Now we want to know who it was who did the
counting. If, by some chance, the person who compiled the statistics for our government reads this - please contact us.
We'd like to talk to you.

07-28-02 - Chicago Tribune - Michael Berens - Scrubbing Down Hospitals - In the year 2000 (the last year for which
statistics are available), Approximately 103,000 people per year died in U.S. hospitals from infections acquired after
they were admitted to the hosptial (nosocomial infections). That translates to about one person every 5 minutes.
Approximately 75% of those deaths were preventable. The main cause of these infections was the failure of care givers
(mainly doctors, nurses & technitians) failing to wash their hands after treating one patient prior to providing care to
the next patient.

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Ancient Egyptian documents from about 1500 BC point to bathing using a combination of animal or vegetable oils
mixed with alkaline salts. Ancient Greeks around 1000 BC cleansed their bodies by scrubbing with abrasives such as sand
or pumice and then rubbing down their bodies with olive oil. They then scraped the mixture off using a dull blade called
a strigil. Ancient Romans began building communal hot water baths around 300 BC. Around 100 AD, Galen, a Greek
physician, recommended using soap for both medicinal as well as cleansing purposes. After the fall of Rome in 467 AD,
bathing fell out of favor through the dark ages until it began to come back into favor in some parts of Europe in the 1600s.
Throughout the dark ages, the only place where bathing was considered important was Japan, where daily bathing has
been a ritual since very ancient times partially due to the abundance of natural hot springs.

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Egyptians, around 3000 BC, produced highly prized white linen from naturally brown fabric by soaking the cloth in harsh
alkaline lyes. Dutch dyers, around 1600, soaked fabric in alkaline lyes for several days. They halted the deterioration of the
fabric by soaking it in sour milk (an acid). This process was repeated several times until the fabric reached the desired
whiteness.Swedish scientist Karl Wilhelm Scheel discovered chlorine gas in 1774. In 1785, Count Claude Louis Berthollet,
who was scientific advisor to Napoleon, discovered that chlorine gas, when passed through water, created liquid bleach.

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Soap, having been used for 3,500 years, always had the problem of leaving a residue (ring around the bathtub, whitish
residue on glassware & dull plaque on hair). This is because soap reacts with naturally occuring minerals and acids in
water to create insoluable molecules that cling to hard surfaces.

During World War 1, the allied blockade of Germany cut off the flow of natural fats used to make lubricants. German
researchers substituted the natural fats used in making soap and soap became very scarce. Recalling earlier German
research from the 1890's, scientists concocted the first detergent by mixing alcohol with non-soap related short chain
molecules creating a substance that lathered like soap but didn't leave soap's unpleasant residue.

By the 1930's, commercial detergents were widely available. Spic-&-Span was one of the most popular early detergents.
It owed it's name to a Dutch sailors phrase for a new ship "Spiksplinternieuw" meaning that every spike and splinter
of the ship was new.

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Facial Tissue

In 1914, Kimberly-Clark Co. produced a highly absorbent surgical dressing called Cellucotton that was also used in
gas mask filters during the war. At war's end, there was such a surplus of the product, that Kimberly-Clark managers
had to find a peacetime use for it. It was packaged and marketed as a cold-cream removal product. The marketing
campaign used Hollywood and Broadway stars to promote its use.

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Throughout history, homes and public buildings have had floor coverings. Usually expensive ceramic tiles or hand woven
rugs. These floor coverings were always expensive and found usually only in the homes of the wealthy or in public buildings.
Linoleum was the first inexpensive, mass produced floor covering. Invented in England in 1860 by Frederick Walton. He
mixed linseed oil with resin and cork dust and attached it to a flax backing.

That same year, Thomas Armstrong, an American who owned a bottle cork manufacturing business, heard about
Walton's invention and began manufacturing linoleum in the United States. By 1908, he was selling brightly colored and
richly patterned linoleum products nation-wide.

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Powdered Cleansers

Bon Ami, invented in 1886, was the first powdered cleanser. It was found that by adding nondissolving substances to
powdered soap created a more powerful cleanser. Early abrasives used in this process were sand, chalk, pumice and
even ground up quartz and petrified wood.

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There is archeological evidence of soapmaking as early as 2800 BC. Clay containers with remains of boiled animal fats
mixed with wood ash have been found. Egyptians in 1500 BC bathed regularly using a mixture of animal fats mixed with
alkaline salts. At about the same time as Moses handed down the Ten Commandments, he also related cleanliness to health
and religious pruification.

The word "Soap" is supposed to come from Mount Sapo, a mountain near Turkey, where animals were sacrificed.
Rainwater washed a mixture of melted animal fat (tallow) and wood ash down to the Tiber River. People found that using
the mixture made their clothes cleaner than water alone.

Commercial soapmaking was well established in Europe by the seventh century, where soapmaking guilds treated their soap
formulas as trade secrets. Commercial soapmaking came the colonial America in 1608 with the arrival of several soapmakers
from England on the second ship to reach the new Jamestown colony in Virginia.

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Soap Recipe - Make Your Own Soap

10 Pounds Lard
4 Quarts, plus 1 Cups Scented Water (see recipe below)
4 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Salt
6 Tablespoons Powdered Borax
1/2 Cup Ammonia
2 Cups Lye
Parchment Paper or Cheesecloth

Place the Lard and 2 Quarts of Scented Water into large pot. Bring to boil and cool overnight to room temperature.
Mix Sugar, Salt, Borax and Ammonia into 1 Cup Scented Water. stir gently to disolve. Set aside
Wearing gloves, mix 2 Quarts Scented Water with 2 Cups Lye. Stir gently to disolve. Set aside.
Pour Sugar/Salt/Borax/Ammonia mixture into Water/Lye mixture. Stir gently.
Pour Lard/Water mixture in. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
pour into Parchment-Lined glass sheet cake mold.
Allow to dry for several days in natural summer heat. Cut into bar-sized chunks.

Scented Water

Bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a boil. Throw in a thick handful of green pine needles (or other fragrant vegetable matter)
Allow to steep for 15~20 minutes. Strain

Caution - Handling and working around the ingredients in this recipe may pose a hazard. Always wear appropriate
personal protection. Housekeeping Systems makes no warrents as to the safety or effectiveness of of this product.

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SOS Pads

Invented by a door-to-door salesman (Edwin Cox) in 1917 as a gimmick to get people interested in his pots and pans.
He repeatedly hand dipped steel wool pads into a soapy solution until they became saturated with dried soap. When
he began offering to clean people's dirty pans if they would listed to his presentation, sales increased. His wife came
up with the name for the pads by calling them her "Save Our Sausepans Pads".

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Minoan royalty used a flush toilet 4000 years ago. Queen Elizabeth I was presented a flush toilet that had been
reinvented by the Earl of Bath in 1596. There was only one toilet at that point and it did not gain in popularity
because when the Earl publicized the fact, he was banished by the Queen and the toilet went unused. In 1775,
Joseph Gayetty, a British businessman, introduced an improved version of the toilet that had a odor trapping
"U"-shaped column of water, an innovation missing from the Queen's version (is there any wonder it didn't
catch on?). The modern flush toilet was born and slowly began to replace chamber pots and the outhouse.

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Toilet Paper

In 1857, the first toilet paper was sold in single sheets. It quickly dissappeared from store shelves. People
couldn't imagine buying paper when they had last year's Sears catalog in their outhouse. In 1879, Walter
Alcock, a British businessman, introduced toilet paper in perforated rolls. He had great difficulty marketing
the product in Victorian England. Such things were simply not discussed. In America, Edward and Clarence
Scot introduced a similar product in the early 1880's just as people were beginning to install full-service
indoor plumbing. Their timing couldn't have been better. The brothers founded Scot Paper Co.

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Vacuum Cleaner

In 1907, James Murray Spangler, a janitor, tinkered with an old fan motor and attached it to a soap box
stapled to a broom handle. Using a pillow case as a dust collector on the contraption, Spangler invented a
portable electric vacuum cleaner. He later improved his design with an improved filter bag and various cleaning
attachments. He, along with a relative's husband, William Hoover, founded the Hoover Company.

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