An elderly aunt of mine, born on the day Queen Victoria died, once told me that she always had to have Mondays off school to help her mum with the washing when she was a girl. There were 9 children! I may not approve of that but I can certainly understand why it was deemed necessary!. The wellingtons were necessary because the kitchen was practically flooded when she had finished.
The old book I have has a whole section dedicated to washing. The headings are
- washing of starched linen
- hot water starch
- cold water starch
- goffering ( It doesn't say what this is exactly but you need a goffering iron dipped in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes to do it!!!).
- steeping : the book recommends you steep everything in cold water the day before except flannels, woollens and coloured articles.
- removing stains before washing
- If anyone has had a bad cold or been ill then they recommend using carbolic acid to disinfect their sheets and hankies.
- how to make soap jelley
- how to wash woollen undergarments
- sashes and ribbons
- new blankets
- lace and muslin
- shawls and stockings.
- How to restore yellowed linen (boil in a lather of milk and pure white soap)
- How to make beaching liquid (made from soda, chloride of lime and water
- How to use washing blue.
Think of the time an automatic washing machine saves. I believe it is inventions like these which have given women in this country the increase in freedoms which the last 60 years have brought.
So now, every time we switch on our automatic washing machines, put in the detergent and allow it to do the work for us we should count our blessings I think!