Wednesday, February 10

Wash Day Memories and A Laundry Room Banner to Print Free

Remember blueing? I used it, mainly for my whites, and for my hair. I'd make a "rinse" of it for my hair, and apply it at the end of every wash, turning my hair ashen. 

One of my most-valued beauty secrets is to apply a blueing rinse after shampooing and conditioning, and then rinse it out (your final rinse) with the coldest water you can stand. Don't get the water down onto your scalp - keep it on the hair, as much as you can. 

(If your hair has desirable red or gold tones, skip the blueing, but not the cold-water rinse. My hair had a bad tendency to be brassy because I was prematurely gray.)

Your hair will shine like glass.

The more mundane use of blueing (or bluing, as it's also spelled) was to optically remove yellow tones from cloth. In the olden days, laundry seemed a greater task. And it was a greater task, and a lengthy one. Wringers, washboards, washtubs, grating bars of detergent, line drying, and ironing were all part of it. So were drying racks inside, and large square outdoor drying trees. I walked around with clothespins in my mouth, and I can recall the woody taste. 

Once dried or nearly dry, there was the ironing. I remember the little water sprinkler shaped like a Dutch doll (wish I had it still) and then the introduction of the spray bottle. 

I started ironing at age five. At age two, I had pulled up a chair and drank a cup of bleach that my mother always kept at the end of the ironing board, and nearly died, but it didn't dissuade me from ironing later, again standing on a chair. 

I began with towels (ironing the binding, mainly, so that it would not curl), plain handkerchiefs, and plain pillowcases. Later I could handle starch, and larger and embroidered linens, and by age ten, I could iron anything, including my father's shirts and my sisters' fancy outfits, including skirts with knife-edge pleats. It was an art and a science. Care had to be taken not to put a shine onto a fabric, iron in a hard wrinkle, or worst of all, scorch something. Things like that mattered

And there was lots of folding, too. Seems there was more to fold, back then. My mother had a special way to fold towels, in thirds, with the last fold tucked into another fold. When I returned home after my mother died, I was shocked to find towels folded in an easier way. There they were, just sitting on the shelf! I just stared. I don't even know when she switched over to that "new" way. I myself roll towels and washcloths, and I can't remember when I started that, either.

I don't know anyone who irons or folds much now. Interestingly, the recent immigrants into our area do a lot of ironing, just as I did decades ago. They even iron their jeans, and even the jeans of their kindergartners.

I think the printable below would be cute to print and string up over your laundry area. The letters spell out "Wash & Dry."

4 Elf-Friends have commented... :

  • Joanne Noragon

    How well I remember the ironing, but even more vividly remember my younger brother complaining about how I ironed their shirts. Mom taught them how to iron their own shirts and pants. Mom always was a liberated, equal rights to the ironing board, woman.

  • sjhackney

    Just thinking about hanging clothes on the line makes me think of Spring. It's downright frigid today! Funny story...when we bought our old house, I told my husband it was meant to be because it had a huge clothesline. I've never lived without a clothesline. I'm a country girl!

  • Cynthia

    Those are all fun memories of my childhood, too. I still iron a few things, hankies and pillowcases and the odd shirt. I like to iron and it's so satisfying to see things all smooth and nice. I like your little signs.

  • Paula

    This really brought back the memories. My mom used to "sprinkle" the clothes and roll them into the basket. Then her best friend would lug her ironing board over to our house and they stood and ironed together after all the kids were in bed. I don't iron anymore since I quit working, but I always ironed my nursing uniforms. Before everyone started wearing scrubs. And my young son irons his 'cop' uniform. He is the sharpest cop on the force!!

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