Days Gone By - stories from the past

Ways to repel Flies in the old days

This is an excerpt from the book Vinegar of the Four Thieves


  • Sponge your tabletops with white vinegar and water to discourage houseflies from landing.
  • The branches of elder bush hung in the dining room will clear the house of flies. There is an odor in them that flies detest.
  • To keep flies off, paint wall or rub over picture frames with laurel oil.
  • To repel houseflies, sprinkle the kitchen tablecloth with a mixture of 2 tablespoons oil of lavender and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol.
  • To keep flies off meat, put meat in sacks, with enough straw around it so the flies cannot reach through. Three-fourths of a yard of yard-wide muslin is the right size for the sack. Put a little straw in the bottom, then put in the ham and lay straw in all around it; tie it tightly and hang it in a cool, dry place. Be sure the straw is all around the meat, so the flies cannot reach through to deposit the eggs. (The sacking must be done early in the season before the fly appears.) Muslin lets the air in and is much better than paper. Thin muslin is as good as thick, and will last for years if washed when laid away when emptied.
  • To rid a room of houseflies, put a sponge in a saucer and saturate with oil of lavender. Put on in each room and no flies will stay.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves
is a collection of household tips, medical cures, clothing care and old recipes from the 1800’s and 1900’s. Many of the tips, such as the household cleaners, cooking tips and ways to control pests, still work and are helpful in today’s ‘green’ environment while others such as ‘how to cure a dog of eating eggs’ will make you laugh. Either way, this book will help you appreciate the difficult life your grandparents endured.With Bonus: First two chapters of novel Ribbon of Love

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Makes a great gift!

See a list of all books by Donna R Causey at


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