1880’S RECIPE FOR WASHING CLOTHES
Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook, complete with spelling errors (For you non-southerners, wrench means, rinse)
RESIPE FOR WARSHING CLOTHES
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 cake of lie 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.
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.
I remember my grandmother used a hand wrung wringer washer with a galvanized tub like in the photo above. She was of a different generation, and no matter how many times my father and uncle offered to take on the task, she refused to have indoor plumbing installed (which is why I didn’t like staying overnight in the cold Minnesota winters—that trek to the outhouse before bed was bad enough in the summer). She did have a clothes line out behind the house though, no tea towels drying on the grass!
What about you, do you have any memories of “the old days”, or do you have any old diaries or recipes for cleaning and laundry? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.