Laundry history 1800s, washing clothes within the 1800s, victorian and edwardian washing

Washing clothes and household linen: 1800s laundry methods and equipment

Wooden tubs with rope handles on bench The data here follows on from

a webpage concerning the earlier good reputation for laundry.

Both parts offer an introduction to the way in which clothes and household linen were washed

in Europe, The United States, and also the British-speaking world, and are generally helpful tips for

another laundry history pages on this web site. The hyperlinks get you to more in depth

information and much more pictures.

A tub of warm water, a washboard inside a wooden

frame with somewhere to relax the bar of laundry soap in pauses from scrubbing –

this can be a familiar picture of how our great-grandmothers washed the laundry. It’s

not wrong, but it is only area of the picture. Factory-made washboards with metal

or glass scrubbing surfaces certainly spread across the world within the 19th and early

20th centuries, and bars of soap were cheap and plentiful through the late 1800s, but

there have been different ways of tackling the laundry too.

Ridged metal barrel-shaped dolly tub, 2 wooden dollies

Within the idealised pictures of early advertising or today’s nostalgia products, the

washtub is on the stand near a vibrant, breezy clothesline,

though the truth is it might have been inside a cramped kitchen or dark tenement courtyard,

or with a tumbledown shack. Other options to a classic washboard and tub incorporated

dolly tubs (photo left) combined with a dolly stick

(also known as peggy or maiden) within the United kingdom and areas of northern Europe. They were tall tubs,

also known as possing- or maidening-tubs, by which large products were stirred and beaten with dollies or perhaps a plunger on the lengthy handle.

Water might be heated inside a large metal boiler or copper on the stove. A large pot boiling

over an outside fire suited a lot of rural America. In cities there have been public

laundries: some with warm water and modern equipment, some much easier and older,

such as the communal open-air sinks having a supply of water in Italian metropolitan areas. There have been

automatic washers of the kind, although not many homes had them. Ideas from inventors working

on automatic washers helped improve the style of simple washboards and dollies.

An ordinary wringer was the most typical bit of home laundry machinery

in 1900.

2 confederate soldiers washing with bat, bench, tub, and washboard

There have been huge alterations in domestic existence between 1800 and 1900. Soap,

starch, along with other aids to washing in your own home grew to become more abundant and much more

varied. Washing once per week on Monday or &quotwashday&quot

grew to become the established norm. Because the Civilized world prospered, chemists, factory-proprietors

and advertisers invented and offered more laundry ingredients to more homes. British-speaking

countries saw riverside washing,

laundry bats, intermittent &quotgreat washes&quot, and using

ashes and lye tail away. Later

Victorians thought these techniques were old-fashioned or quaint. British vacationers

sometimes described &quotforeign&quot laundry routines as very inferior towards the &quotnew&quot ones

they expected of the servants in your own home.

An 1864 sketch (right) in the American Civil War shows two soldiers working hard, with

equipment new and old. The first is utilizing a bat on the washing bench, a nearly-forgotten

way in which was hardly utilized by generation x in the united states and United kingdom, although it

survived longer in certain areas of Europe, together with communal washing by rivers and

in washhouses. Another soldier’s

tub and washboard, though, remained popular for years to come. Washboards were

also used with no tub they may be transported towards the riverside.

Packages and ads on shelves It might appear odd to state that

using soap generously would be a modern, &quotadvanced&quot method of tackling dirty laundry, but

in 1800 soap was utilized economically. It had been mixed into warm water for that primary wash,

and additional may be employed for place stain treatment, but everyday linen may still

be cleansed with ash lye. A few of the poorer individuals Europe ongoing to clean

their &quotordinary&quot things without any soap or minimal soap. Laundry soap was frequently the

cheap, soft, dark soap which was simple enough to combine into warm water. Prior to the 19th

century hard soap might be made in your own home by individuals who’d lots of ashes and fat,

with warm, dry weather and salt to create the soap. Should you got it, you’d buy

a bit cut from the large block.

Through the finish from the century there have been lots of wrapped bars of business, branded

laundry soap offered at moderate prices. To combine up a lather, you can grate flakes

from the bar of soap, or perhaps buy ready-made soap flakes inside a box. Soap powder had

been noted for a couple of decades, and from about 1880 it had been quite broadly available.

Developments in science, industry and commerce were built with a significant effect on household


In the mid-nineteenth century, a general rise in demand was among the effects

of rising living standards. An increasing concern for cleanliness, connected with health

with fashion by means of whiteness for clothing products and linen, easily converted

into prevalent consumption, even while the reduced price of soap, starch, and blue enabled

their definition both as household requirements so that as inputs for an expanding laundry


Roy Church and Christine Clark, Product of Branded, Packaged Household

Goods in great britan, 1870–1914, Enterprise &amp Society (Sep 2001)

Soap for all nations, Cleanliness is the soul of our nation

Other changes throughout a lifetime incorporated factory-made metal tubs beginning

to exchange wooden ones. Mass-created tongs were less expensive and more prone to replace

sticks for lifting wet washing. Clotheslines, pegs, and pins grew to become more prevalent.

Home-made clothes pegs and indoor drying racks

were copied and/or improved by manufacturers offering hardware stores. Enhancements

in starch production brought to a variety of products with small variations, packaged

differently, and targeted at different users. Laundry blue

wasn’t any longer only component in &quotblue starch&quot. Through the 1870s it had been created in

a range of different formats with various packaging gimmicks: wrapped squares,

balls, distinctive bags or bottles of liquid bluing. Tinted starches, dyes, and merchandise

for restoring faded black clothes when you laundered them were on purchase at prices

individuals with modest incomes can afford. Borax and washing soda were packaged under

various names. Borax being utilized as a product for soaps and starches, and promoted

like a miracle all-purpose cleaning product.

Borax for beauty, purity, comfort, happiness

Woman with basket of white laundry

There have been laundry services targeted at the &quotmiddling&quot people too. As the upper

classes continued employing washerwomen and/or general

servants, there have been various cheaper &quotsend-out&quot laundry services within the

later 1800s and early 20th, including laundries that introduced both domestic laundry and linen from hotels etc. to some &quothand-finished&quot standard. The easiest were wet wash

(US) and bag wash (United kingdom) plans in which you sent off a lot of money of dirty laundry

to become washed elsewhere. Ironing

ended in your own home only at that bottom finish from the market. Occasionally a

mangle lady having a box mangle would charge pennies for pressing household

linen and everyday clothing.

See also:

Laundry history before 1800

Good reputation for Ironing

Sitemap with full listing of laundry articles

If you wish to learn about a particular place and time, you may want to do more

detailed research, but hopefully there are plenty of knowledge on this website to help you get


30 Sep 2010

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Alicia washing on a washboard

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