November 13, 2008

What do we do with all these dirty clothes?

Life was hard before all our modern conveniences.

Their clothes got dirty probably quicker than ours do today. And it took a lot more to get them clean than it does for us. Boiling water in a washtub out in the yard, using a rub board or rock to pound out the ground in dirt. Hanging clothes on bushes, then later on clotheslines made of rope or wire

Wringer Washing Machine? Here's an example of an early one.
Never thought of a 'washer' in this light before..

Washing Clothes Recipe

Imagine having a recipe for this, and often it might have been calle3d a receipt. Years ago a grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole of cake of llie soap in boilin' water.

Sort things, make 3 piles

1 pile white
1 pile colored
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench and starch.('wrench' means 'rinse')

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed.

Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs.

Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

Next time when you think things are bleak, read this again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give thanks.?


Tina Dee Books said...

I thanked the Lord, literally and sincerely, for my Kenmore washing machine and dryer, Tide w/color safe bleach, fabric softener, and laundry baskets.

Thanks, Lena, for a great post. I've been taking too many things for granted.


Chris said...

Nice post. That's quite a bit of work involved there. :)

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Oh, Lena, that makes me sooo thankful for my upright washer and dryer and for dry cleaning. We really have it made, don't we?

Sandee61 said...

Enjoyed "Washing Clothes" and thankful we have washers and dryers now! Your books are new to me so will be looking forward to reading them.



Vickie McDonough said...


I remember visiting my aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania when I was a kid, and my aunt had a wringer washer in her basement that she still used. As a kid, I thought it fun to turn the wringer handle, but as a grownup, I thank the Lord for my Maytag washer and dryer!

Thanks for sharing that recipe. I hadn't heard about it before.

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Lena,
I actually saw an old fashioned washing machine like that, and they were said to be very dangerous. If you accidently stuck your fingers between those rollers, you might lose a finger or two.
When the wash was done, you hung it out to dry.
My mother had a dryer, but she hung her sheets on a line because she said fresh air made the sheets smell nice.
I really like you, Lena. Wish we could "hang out" more. But I use a clothes dryer to dry my wet sheets.

For His Glory said...

i used an old broom stick handle (part of one) to help push clothes down in my washer - guess i got it from my mom who used a wringer washer as long as i remember growing up and through school. i'm glad i've got an automatic, but not so sure it cleans as well :-)