Monday, 2 July 2018

Laundry - 1939

In a late 1938 an article on doing laundry appeared in a newspaper article. Even though it is a year earlier than 1939 some of the advice is still useful for the following year and even in today’s modern world.

The article begins with telling the wise housewife that all fabric vary and must be washed to the fabric standards. It goes on to then say the start of the laundry is to begin by sorting the clothes into various piles. Colour and fabric are to be taken in consideration then that is followed with sorting the very soiled garments from the not so soiled garments. The article recommends not washing very dirty items with the not so dirty items.

Once the items are sorted, the article then says to look out for items of clothing the need mending and to do the repairs before laundering. This is recommended because any small holes obviously can tear into bigger holes during the washing. 

The following list of how to do the laundry continues in the article:

- The main rules to remember are to keep white and coloured clothes separate.
-Finer delicates should be washed separately and carefully.
- Soaking clothes is next to sorting. But use soaking in moderation. Woollens and silks should never be soaked.
-Next is rising. Which should be done in clean water until every scrap of soap is rinsed out. 
- Add Blue in the last rinsing water for white clothes.

The article also then goes on to say to take advantage of warmer weather. A clear, sunny day with a good breeze is ideal for blankets and curtains. Blankets should be washed early on a fine windy day. Blankets should not be washed for too long to prevent shrink.  The blankets should always be squeezed, not wrung.

To hang blankets, fold them in half, and peg the two edges a few inches over a taunt clothes line. Shake and turn during drying. 

On small clothing items:
The article says to use bran water - Make it by using half a pint of bran to two quarts water. Put in a pan, heat to boiling point, and simmer for half an hour. Strain, and use both for washing and rinsing. Bran water is used when it’s uncertain about the colour fastness of the item.

The article then goes on to give advice about how to wash gloves and stockings.

It’s an interesting article while dated in some aspects it has good advice in others. 

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.


  1. Can you imagine what housewives from 1938 would think of the current fashion of ripped up jeans??😀 I think I would like to live back in 1938..might have been hard in some ways but so much better in others. Thanks for posting this!! !❤

    1. When I was younger I used to wear ripped up jeans mostly in the knees and I'd have tights under neath with those big gaudy late 80's patterns. back when I was skinny me ;) There was also a trend recently of the ripped up jeans using a japanese traditional stitch called boro, a darning stitch, so I think the late 30's housewife would approve that trend.