How to Hand Wash Clothes

Learn how to hand wash clothes the old-fashioned way, in a wash tub on laundry day.

| Fall 2014

  • Before the modern washing machines, laundry day meant hand washing clothes.
    Photo by iStockphoto/ideeone

Several years ago, a grandmother in Alabama gave a new bride a recipe for how to hand wash clothes she found in an old scrapbook. Here is the recipe, printed as it originally appeared — misspellings and all.

Warshing Clothes

Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rainwater.

Set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if wind is pert.

Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin’ water.



Sort things, make 3 piles – 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boilin’ water.






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