Story: Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene

Mrs Evans vacuuming, 1947

Mrs Evans vacuuming, 1947

Vacuum cleaners were marketed as the homemaker's key weapon in the war on germs, and a labour-saving device – they were a coveted electrical appliance. Children enjoyed using them, and some mothers harnessed this fascination and made vacuuming a child's job. The vacuum cleaner was even used in a series of promotional photos designed to attract British migrants to New Zealand. This image shows Mrs Evans using an Electrolux vacuum cleaner. This brand was so common in New Zealand that the vacuum cleaner was often called the lux.

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Palmerston North City Library
Reference: 2010N_A175-67-1_004210

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene - Household cleaning', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 July 2022)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 Sep 2013