Cleaning Time Capsule: Vintage Ads to Remind Us All What It Was Like Back in the Day

published Aug 17, 2017
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Many of the cleaning brands we use today have been around for decades—some have even been around since the 1800s—and that means that over the years, they’ve seen many a marketing campaign. Flipping through old magazine ads for the products we still know and love is quite the experience, and so is watching vintage television ads from generations ago. Some are questionable, some are hilarious, and some, surprisingly, aren’t really all that different from how they are today.

Below, some fun content from the homekeeping time capsule: ads and commercials from the late 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s for the brands we still recognize today. (Apologies in advance if this inspires you to binge watch Mad Men).


The Hoover Company has been around since 1908, and in the mid 1970s, Hoover released its a new vacuum model called the Hoover Celebrity. In the 70s era commercial above, you can see it totally gets the celebrity treatment—they rolled out the red carpet just to show it off.


Downy was introduced by Procter & Gamble back in 1960, and as you can see in from this 1975 ad that ran in Good Housekeeping, the packaging—much like the struggle that is static cling—hasn’t changed all that much over the last four decades.


In the 1970s, Nancy Walker became known for her roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff, Rhoda. But in addition, Walker starred in Bounty commercials from 1970 to 1990 as a New Jersey diner waitress— such as in this clip from 1984.


This 1978 commercial for a Maytag dishwasher is as cheesy as the lasagna pan they planned to clean with it. It’s also one of the commercials that launched the career of Brian Dennehy, who went on to be a 6-time Emmy-nominated actor, producer and director.


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This 1973 Frigidaire ad featuring a big happy family was all about setting up the relationship between Frigidaire and its parent company, General Motors—trustworthy cars, trustworthy washers and dryers, right? Frigidaire was sold to another company just 6 years later, and in 1986 it was sold again to Electrolux—the company who still owns it today.

Black & Decker

(Image credit: Vintage Ad Browser)

Not doubting the cleaning power of the Black & Decker Dustbuster Plus hand vacuum, but, that’s a lot of mess. This ad ran in magazines in 1985, 6 years after the Dustbuster was first introduced in 1979. Hot take: The best part of this ad is the very fancy dog on the sofa in the back.


This Shout brand floor cleaner commercial from the 1960s relies on two things to sell the product: facts, and loud sounds. Watching it will make you think you’re in a busy train station, but it is effective.

Mr. Clean

While Mr. Clean has gotten an updated look over the years, it’s fun to see that the jingle hasn’t changed much over the years. The commercial above aired in 1958, the same year the brand itself debuted.

Scott Towels

(Image credit: Vintage Ad Browser)

The Scott Paper Company has been around since 1897, but nearly 70 years later, when this ad graced the pages of magazines in 1964, the brand still didn’t have its the blue ribbon logo we know today, and its paper towel product name was stylized differently as ScotTowels.


(Image credit: Advertisement Gallery)

Would you buy a portable KitchenAid dishwasher in Golden Harvest today? Probably not—it’s all about more neutral colors these days. But back in 1969, when this ad ran in magazines, it was totally fashionable.


According to this 1970 commercial for Comet cleanser (which debuted in 1956, by the way), you never have to worry about a dirty, germy sink if you use Comet. It’s so clean, you can even eat apple slices out of it.

Bon Ami

(Image credit: Vintage Ad Browser)

Let’s end on this Bon Ami ad from 1977, because, truthfully, I’m not even sure what to say about that slogan. But, here’s a fun fact: the original Bon Ami formula was actually created in 1886—and the name is french for “good friend”.