Rust stains

No book of household hints would be complete without a lot of advice on stain removal. Some of the advice is reasonably universal, and then there is some that is a bit more idiosyncratic. Although kerosene was a popular choice of cleaner, if you want something slightly less inflammable, the Modern Household Encyclopedia suggests soaking in lemon juice and salt and then holding over the steam from a boiling kettle, and also suggests trying rhubarb juice if the lemon juice isn’t working.

A vintage ad for Laurel Kerosene. A cartoon chicken pokes a kerosene lamp with a furled umbrella. The chicken has a speech bubble saying "An old flame of mother's! Laurel! So constant! So steady! So faithful! So good!"

Probably still not something you'd want to be washing your rusty clothes in, though.
From the Timaru Herald, 19 June 1934

Laurie’s Household Encyclopedia and Aunt Daisy’s Book of Handy Hints both include variations on the lemon juice and salt method, and Laurie’s has this additional suggestion:

Cover the spot thickly with cream of tartar, then twist cloth to keep cream of tartar over spot. Put in a saucepan of cold water, and bring slowly to boiling point.

For rust stains on a bath, Aunt Daisy’s Book of Handy Hints has this to say:

Try hydrochloric acid from the chemist. It is POISON.

The Modern Household Encyclopedia includes this remedy for hydrochloric acid poisoning:

Do not empty stomach. Antidote: soapsuds, lime water, baking soda, or magnesia. Follow with warm milk, raw egg whites, olive oil, or other soothing liquids, then give stimulants. Apply dry heat especially in the region of the heart.

On the whole, the lemon and salt method might be best.

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