Historic homes offer modern conveniences amidst the charm and character of the past. There’s an art to preserving the built-in furniture, original woodwork, and rich wood flooring our guests love, while also thoroughly disinfecting and sanitizing each room. Here’s a peek at our approach to spring cleaning our historic homes, so they’re always ready for check-in.
Less is More
One-of-kind treasures like Lang House Chicago’s original stained-glass windows need extra TLC. Pressure washers are too forceful for the window’s intricate design. Still, stained-glass windows need regular cleaning to prevent debris from dulling or damaging the finish. To keep Lang House Chicago windows sparkling, we avoid ammonia-based cleaners and power wash methods, and use a simple distilled water wash with a cotton cloth. We dab carefully to remove dust and bring out each vibrant color.
Past Makes Perfect
The original owners of Lang House Chicago and the Emil Bach House didn’t have access to the cleaning methods of today. To clean and preserve the historic homes, we turn to modern but safe methods. Today’s spray polishes, for example, can contain silicone, which permanently adheres to furniture and woodwork. This residue can damage the wood’s “patina” – a term used to describe a historic item’s unique luster. Instead of spray polish, a vigorous rub with old-fashioned beeswax provides protection while enhancing the wood grain and shine.
Err on the Side of Gentle
As a rule of thumb, we take the gentlest approach to freshening up each room’s interior.
We turn to a brush-based vacuum with a fine mesh screen to protect fragile fabrics. Paintings get new life with a microfiber cloth dipped in a blend of water and olive oil-based soap. A drop of mild dish soap mixed with warm water can brighten up older leather furniture. The hand-stenciled walls in Lang House Chicago receive extra special care for their cleaning and maintenance.
Something Old, Something New
Our historic homes are a blend of past and present. While we clean the century-old structures with museum-level care, we take a more modern approach to the modern amenities. We use anti-microbial cleaning solutions to scrub and disinfect shared spaces, including kitchens, bathrooms, and lounge areas, to ensure the comfort and safety of all guests. Our bed linens are thoroughly washed and disinfected between guests, including the comforters and duvee covers – which are also steam cleaned before check-in.
History is the Highlight
Spring cleaning is more than just removing dirt and grime. It’s part of honoring and celebrating the past. A century ago, people admired the hand-stenciled wall art on the Lang House walls, just as they do today. The Japanese Tea House evokes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Japanese-influenced architecture that took form long before most of us were born. By preserving these homes, we’re keeping Chicago history alive.
To learn more about the history and hospitality of Lang House Chicago and the Emil Bach House, you can read more on our website under information about each house or contact us with any additional questions.