The idea of spring cleaning goes back thousands of years to the Passover in the Jewish tradition, and to the observation of Lent in early Orthodox teaching.
Traditional Catholics wanted the altar cleaned before Good Friday, and the term for ancient Persian spring cleaning translates to “shaking the house.”
Prior to the Chinese New Year, people traditionally cleaned their homes from top to bottom to remove any bad spirits and make room for good ones.
In cold climates, the idea of spring cleaning came about because of finally being able to open doors and shutters in warmer weather. Archaic fireplaces covered cabin walls with thick layers of grime during the long winter. Opening the house for fresh air tended to put the soot on display, so American pioneer ladies instinctively wanted to clean in springtime.
Granny talked about being “real glad” when spring finally came after months of cold weather. She always looked forward to washing accumulated ashes off the fireplace rocks. And scrubbing the hearth with lye soap and water seemed to be an annual ritual. Next, she would mop the floors, and swab the brown, wooden walls as far as she could reach, though the 10-ft. ceiling would have been a challenge.
Washing windows was not a problem, so she took every curtain in the house down to be laundered. In addition, all the crocheted table scarves, as well as the long, tasseled mantle scarf were freshly…