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Laundry Tips

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



HINTS FOR THE LAUNDRY. Washing All Colors of Calicos, Percales, Muslims, Brown Linen, etc., and to Remove Paint and Wine Stains From Silks, Woolen and Cotton Goods.—Besides the foregoing receipts on general washings, etc., I deem it best to put in a few *ems, or "hints," as the above heading has it, from varions sources, which are generally short, and right to the point for quick work. These first are from Mrs. E. S. Barrett, of Sing Sing, New York, July 1882, in the New York Examiner, wherein she says; "Every housekeeper knows how vexatious it is to have colored fabrics ruined in the process of cleansing. A few practical hints about washing calicoes, percales and muslins will therefore be of real service to the readers of the Examiner.

1. For Washing Black and White, Stone, Slate, or Maroon. Colored Cotton Goods.—Before washing black and white, stone, slate, or maroon colored cotton goods; dip them in a solution of salt and water, made by dissolving two cupsfuls of salt in 10 quarts of cold water, and hang them in a shady place to dry. The salt sets the colors. When dry, wash in a light suds in the usual way. Calicoes and muslins do not require a hot suds; water moderately warm is best. Never allow them to soak in the water. Wash quickly, turn the wrong side out, and dry in the shade. A little salt in the rinsing water is an improvement. Another way is to mix two cupfuls of wheat bran in cold water, making a smooth paste; then stir it into 1 qt. of soft boiling water. Let it boil 1 hour, then strain into 5 or 6 qts. of soft warm water. No soap is necessary, for bran has cleansing-' properties of its own. If there is black in the dress, or any other color that is liable to "run," add a tablespoonful of salt. Rinse thoroughly in one water. For starch, use a little white glue-water, cool and clean. Always iron on the wrong side with a moderately hot iron.

2. How to Fix the Above Colors Permanently.—Blue, stone, and slate-colored articles may be made to retain their color perfectly by adding sugar of lead to the water in which they are to be washed for the first time. Dissolve 1 oz. of sugar of lead in a pailful of hot water; stir carefully until it is thoroughly dissolved, and let the mixture cool. When about milk-warm, put in the articles and let them remain an hour. Hang up to dry before washing. When dry, wash as directed in bran water. The sugar of lead fixes the color permanently, so that this treatment with it will not need to be repeated. Use this preparation with caution; sugar of lead is poisonous, but no danger in this way of using it.

3. To Wash Brown Linen.—Take enough good timothy hay to fill a 10-quart kettle two-thirds full when pressed down; cover it with soft water, and let it boil until the water assumes a dark greenish color. Make flour starch in the usual way, and strain the hay water into it after it becomes cool or tepid; let the linen soak ten or fifteen minutes-not longer—then wash without soap. I divide the preparation into two parts, using one for rinsing. Linen dresses and dusters washed in this way will look new as long as they last.

4. Fruit or Wine Stains, to Remove from Silk, Woolen, or Cotton Goods.—Fruit or wine stains can be removed from silk, woolen or cotton goods by sponging them gently with ammonia and alcohol- a teaspoonful of ammonia to a wineglass of alcohol. Finish with clear alcohol. The fumes of a lighted match will remove remnants of stains.

Washing Fine Under Clothing.—The Germantown Telegraph says that a leading firm of that city, importers and retailers of hosiery goods, gives the following directions for washing the above named line of goods, and also says their own experience enables them to testify to its excellence. Dissolve 1 lb. Of nice soap in 4 gallons of warm soft water in which well rinse the articles to be washed, drawing them repeatedly through the hand; press them as dry as possible, to remove the soap; rinse them again briskly in clean, lukewarm water; press out or put through a wringer, if you have one, and stretch them to their proper shape, and dry in the open air if possible. The only effects of rubbing are to shrink and destroy the material; it should therefore never be resorted to with these kinds of goods. The material used in manufacturing silk underwear being an animal product, it is absolutely necessary that within but the best quality of soap and warm water should be used.

Washing Flannels of Any 'Kind, so they Shall Not Turn Yellow or Shrink.—A lady signing herself " Michigan, says she wants to tell the ladies of the Blade how to wash flannels of any kind, so they won't 'turn yellow, nor shrink up, and that sort of thing. Wash in cold water, using soap in both suds. Of course you can take the chill off if you are afraid of taking cold, but not have it a bit hot. Now dort laugh at such an idea and not give it a trial, but this spring you wash your flannel blankets, woolen stockings, baby's flannel and then report. I learned of a Scotch lady years ago and never think of using hot water ; use soft water of course.

Remarks.—Certainly the water, being made a little warm will not cause shrinkage. The suds should be made before putting in the flannels, and not by rubbing the soap on them.

For Washing Scarlet Flannels, etc., Without Fading or Shrinking.—To prevent scarlet flannels or worsted goods of any kind of this color, from fading by washing, it is claimed by some washer-women that the following plan is perfectly safe: Mix flour, % cup, little by little, with cold water, 1 qt.; then boiling 10 or 15 minutes and mixing with the lukewarm suds, pressing and rinsing, up and down, a number of times, then passing through the wringer, the goods will not be faded or thickened, as there is to be no rubbing.

Remarks.—Hatters make wool, or felt hats, as they are called, by plaiting out a layer of wool upon a piece of cloth, at first, and dipping it into hot water, then rolling it with a little roller, re-dipping and rolling till they get the desired thickness, by the little hooks that are seen by the microscope only, which are upon the fibers of all good wool, to so take hold upon each other, as to make as heavy a body as desired. The same is done, to a certain extent, every time woolen goods is washed in hot water, by rubbing. Now any one can see to avoid thickening, " shrinking," as it is called, is washing flannels, simply avoid hot suds, and do not rub them. (See Washing Fine Under Clothing, etc., above.) Sudsing by an up and down motion, in first and second suds, is the safest method.

Colored Silk Handkerchiefs, To Wash.—To wash colored silk 'handkerchiefs make a good suds in lukewarm water, in which a little bit of carbonate of ammonia has been dissolved; rub the handkerchiefs lightly in the hands till all the spots have disappeared. Then rinse them in Iukewarm water, and squeeze them as dry as possible. Take hold of the two corners and shaker and snap each one for a few minutes. Roll in a soft towel lightly, laying the, handkerchief flat on the towel at first, squeeze tightly, and iron at once.—Detroit Free. Press.

Old Silk Dresses, etc.—To Renovate to Look Like New.—A writer says: "A most satisfactory way to renovate old silks is to boil an old kid. glove in 1 pt. Of soft water until the glove shrinks to the size of a 4-years-old child's hand; the liquor will then be glutinous; when cold, having brushed out every particle of dust, sponge the silk thoroughly and smooth with a hot iron upon the wrong side."

Remarks.—If a dress, it may be well to take it to pieces, if much soiled, as recommended with " Silk Cashmere, etc., to Clean," which see.

Washing Carpets Without Taking Up.—Put a table-spoonful of ammonia in 1 gal. of moderately warm water, and with sponge or soft broom go all over the carpet, and you will be astonished to see how brightly it will look for the little labor and expense. [See "Spirits of Ammonia—Some of Its Uses, etc."]

Washing Windows.---A writer says: "Have a pail partly filled with. water a little warm and dissolve in it a tea-spoonful of borax [the author think it would be better to use a table-spoonful of powdered borax, or else the same amount of spirits of ammonia to 1 gal. of water, as above for washing carpets]; have one chamois (a cloth will do nicely) dipped into the water to wash the windows with, then with a dry chamois rub the window dry and polish. [A chamois skin is best to polish with, as it leaves no lint as a cloth will.] In this, way windows may be cleaned in a very few moments and not wet the carpets, nor tire the person."

Lace Veils and Other Laces—To Wash or Renovate.—Wash veils carefully in alcohol and soft water, equal parts, simply squeezing in the hands in and out of the mixture; then lay a towel on a table and smooth out the veil and pin the edges to the towel to dry, when, if carefully done, it will look as good as new. Borax water is also used for the same purpose, drying-the same way.

For Other Nice Laces.—Naomi King, in Farm and Fireside, says: "When you have some nice laces to wash put a little borax in warm soap suds.. and allow them to soak 1 hour; then shake about in it well and rinse in 2 or 3 clear waters, as you see necessary, and to the last water add a little white sugar never use starch. Pull out well, and place between white cloths in an old book until dry."

Remarks.-She says a " little " borax and a " little" sugar, which is very indefinite. A rounding tea-spoonful of powdered borax and the same amount of sugar would be plenty for 1 pt. of water. The borax would do good ha washing veils, and I think the sugar would also be good there, as with white or other laces.

Softening Hard Water for Washing Clothes, Dishes, or House Cleaning.—A writer says: "Take 2 lbs: of sod (sal soda), and 1 lb. of common stone lime, and boil in 5 gals. of water for 2 or 3 hours; then stand away to settle, and dip off the clear water from the top and put into a jug (pouring off carefully is better). Can be used for washing dishes or cleaning, and 1 teacup in a boiler of clothes, put in after the water is hot, will whiten the clothes; and soften the water, without injury to the hands, or clothes. I use an old iron pot to make it in."

Remarks.—Some of these newspaper writers get some most excellent things, but again, some of them make poor describers as to the best plan of using: for instance, this woman (for it is undoubtedly a woman), says: Boil in 5 gals. of water," then further on, "put into a jug. Now, would it not take a big jug, or two or three small ones? and again, it cannot be to be used even in 5 gals. of water, without further dilution, for she says: " 1 tea-cupful in a boiler of clothes, put in after the water is hot," etc., then why not boil it in say 2 gals. of water? then a 2 gal. jug will hold it, and use a little less to a boiler of clothes, stirred well into the water when hot, before putting in the clothes; and half as much more for each additional boiler at the same washing will be plenty; in fact it does make a splendid washing fluid as I have above suggested, and a table-spoon of it in a dish-pan of water for washing dishes will help much in cleaning the dishes; and a little of it in a pan of water for house-cleaning is, or will be, " just splendid," as the girls say. A spoonful of it in a pt. or a qt. of water for cleaning finger-marks off of doors or other wood-work, is good, and if kept ready-made, is always handy, although the spirits of ammonia (which see) in like quantities, is good for general house-cleaning, window-washing, etc. I do not know who this writer was, as it was a slip sent to me having no name attached, but I know enough to know it is a grand good thing. A little of this, say 2 table-spoonfuls of it in 2 qts. of hot water, is just the thing to soak feet in, to soften corns and to soften the dead skin about the heels, , and to make a thorough work of cleaning the feet, generally.

Softening Water—Clark's Method..—By adding burnt quick-lime (quick-lime is freshly burned or unslacked lime), to hard water, which contains lime (all hard water contains lime, 'tis the lime that makes it hard), it will become soft. The added lime seizes the carbonic acid gas which held the carbonate of lime in solution, and so both the original carbonate of lime and that formed in the process, fall together as a white sediment. This method is truly homoeopathic.

Remarks.--This writer is right as to the way it softens, but is tame in not giving the proper amount for a bbl. or some other measure. About 2 or 3 table-spoonfuls of this stone-lime, just slacked with a little hot water, will be enough for a barrel, just drawn from the well. Rummage it in thoroughly, that is stir it with a stick that will reach the bottom till well mixed, and let it settle over night, or 2 or 3 hours.

Ammonia, its Various Uses in House Cleaning, Washing, etc. —"A Farmer's Wife," in the Country Gentleman, says of it; There is no telling what a thing will do till you try it. I knew ammonia, diluted in water, could restore rusty silks and clean coat collars, but when I got a green spot on the carpet, I tried half a dozen other things before I thought of that, and that is just what did the work effectually. I put a tea spoonful into about a tea-cup of hot water, took a cloth and wet the spot thoroughly, just rubbing it slightly, and the ugly spot was gone. It is splendid for cleaning your silver; it makes things as bright as new without any expenditure of strength; and for looking glasses and windows it is best of all; and one day when I was tired and my dish cloths looked rather gray, I turned a few drops of the ammonia into the water and rubbed them out, and I found it acted like a charm, and I shall be sure to do so again some day. I suppose housewives have a perfect right to experiment and see what results they can produce; and if they are not on as large a scale as the farmers try, they are just as important to us, and they make our work light and brighter too. Now, I do not believe in luxuriating in a good thing all alone, and I hope all the housekeepers will send and get a 10 cent bottle of spirits of ammonia and commence a series of chemical experiments and see what they can accomplish with it. Take the boys' jackets, the girls' dresses, and when you have cleaned everything else, put a few drops in some soft water and wash the little folks' heads, and report results.

Remarks.—These items are valuable in giving new thoughts to those who have few opportunities for observation, or reading the literature of the day: but they would be more valuable if they gave the proportions for each class of work to be done. This lady speaks of restoring rusty silk, how strong? For cleaning greasy clothing, use it strong, say a table-spoonful to 1 cup of warm, soft water, washing off with pure water directly; for silks, alpacas, etc., the same strength ammonia will be strong enough, brushing off soon with pure water; for looking glasses a little put on a cloth, clear, and folding some of the dry cloth on the back of the wet part, to keep it off the fingers, is best, as it takes but a moment to take off fly specks, or dirt; for windows a table-spoonful of it in 1 pt. of water will be plenty, wiping off nicely with a dry news-paper, as it leaves no lint like a cloth does; one-fourth ammonia for cleaning boys' coat collars, and greasy clothing; for cleaning silver, 1 table spoonful to 1 pt., or a little less of water, is enough, and, as she says, it is splendid for this and all other similar work; and as it is cheap, it makes a great saving.

For Bee and Wasp Stings.—A little ammonia put upon bee and wasp stings, bites of spiders and all other poisonous insect bites, will neutralize the poison, preventing soreness and swelling. But mind, it only needs a very little put on, and wash off soon, to prevent its making a sore.

Borax, for Roaches, Washing, and as a Dentifrice and Catarrh Snuff —Although I have given an item on its uses, yet as I have another short item upon it, I will give it, to corroborate the other, and to show in a few words, what some people know of its value. This writer says: One-half pound of it powdered, and sprinkled around their haunts, will drive the roaches out of any house. A large handful of the powder to 10 gallons of water will effect a saving of 50 per cent. (one-half) in soap. It is an excellent dentifrice, and the best material for cleaning the scalp. (See the author's remarks upon it, following the other recipe.) A recent medical writer also claims powdered borax to be valuable as a catarrh snuff.

Iron Rust, to Remove from Clothing.—Get % oz. of oxalic acid, in small pieces, in a vial and keep corked. When a spot of iron rust shows on white table cloths, or other white clothing, dissolve -' tea-spoonful of the acid by pouring upon it 2 or 3 table-spoonfuls of hot water, and dip the spot in or wet it with a sponge, or bit of rag, and as soon as the rust is bleached out wash right out with clean water, so the acid will not hurt the goods. Lemon juice and a little salt is also good for the same purpose, laying out in the sun to bleach; if one application does not wholly remove it, do the same again. Or, instead of putting out in the sun, wet with lemon juice, and hold the spot over a steaming hot tea-kettle will do it very quickly. Or, the cream of tartar plan, as given below, for removing fruit stains, will also remove rust.

Fruit Stains, Recent, or Old, to Remove.-" Aunt Sophia," the Blade, tells us recent fruit stains may be removed by holding the linen tightly across the tub and pouring hot water through them, before any soap is put on; if old, tie up a little cream of tartar in the places, put into cold water and bring to a boil. If got upon table linen, rub on some salt, at once, then pour on the hot water.

Bleaching Muslin.—Mrs. " S. M. B." sends the Blade the following directions, which she has practiced for 12 years without injuring the cloth. She says: " Into 8 qts. of warm soft water put 1 lb. of chloride of lime; stir with a stick a few minutes, then strain through a bag of coarse muslin, working it with the hands [the author says with the stick] to dissolve thoroughly. Add to this, in a tub, 5 buckets of warm water, stir in the chloride water thoroughly and put in the muslin. [The muslin ought to be thoroughly wet first in plain e water, so it shall take the lime water evenly.] Let it remain in 1 hour, turning , it over occasionally, that every part may get thoroughly bleached. When taken out, wash well in two waters, to remove the lime, rinse and dry. This 'quantity will bleach 25 yds. of yard-wide muslin. The muslin will bleach more evenly and quickly if it has been thoroughly wet and dried before bleaching."

Remarks.—This lady makes a " mighty sight of work, more than is necessary. She wants it wet and dried before putting into the bleaching water, when simply wetting is sufficient, and one good washing and rinsing after the bleaching is enough—all you want is to get rid of specks of the lime, and this has been done largely by straining off the water from the lime sediment at the beginning. Spreading on the grass is a good way to dry it.

Mildew, to Remove from Clothing.-Take common soft soap and stir in quite a bit of salt, so the soap crumbles or grains, as it were, and rub on the spot and lay out over night, and if not effaced by morning wet it occasion-ally during the day. The chloride solution above is also good to remove mil-dew. Or, to put about % a cup of chloride of lime into 2 qts. of hot water, wetting the mildewed articles first in cold water, then put into the lime water until the mildew is bleached out, then rinse well in plenty of water to remove the lime.

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