Warshing Clothes (3/15/10)

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Mending Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

With few exceptions, it was the “to do” list of housewives everywhere for more than a hundred years. It was so common, in fact, that there were day-of-the-week dish towels available to remind women of which chore they were supposed to do when.

When you think back to the appliance technology available at the time, it’s easy to see why tasks took all day.

Here’s a wash day “recipe” that an Alabama grandmother gave to a new bride, found in a scrapbook (spelling errors and all):

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.