Sunday, June 24, 2012

"If I don't do laundry today,

I'm gonna have to buy new clothes tomorrow. 
                ~ Anna Paquin
Ever have one of those weeks? You just don't get to the laundry!  But, laundry is still a breeze for most of us in the civilized world.  It is better than having to go to the river or water source and let your clothes wash nature's way!
Special tools like a bat  helped and a board or a rock was used to scrub on.  Long thin washing bats initially were just sticks, and they were used for moving cloth around as well as for beating the dirt out of it. Doing this with a piece of wood was called possing, and various styles of possers developed as an improvement on plain tree branches. Squarish washing bats could double up as a scrub board. Simple wooden boards can be taken to the riverside, or rocks at the edge of the water may be used as scrubbing surfaces.
Domestic laundry was often treated like newly woven textiles being "finished". Today we rarely...if at all...think about where the fabrics that we wear are manufactured, but traditional laundry methods often followed techniques used by weavers, including home weavers.
Soap, mainly soft soap made from ash lye and animal fat, was used by washerwomen whose employers paid for it. Soap was rarely used by the poorest people in medieval times, but by the 18th century soap was fairly widespread, but it was used for finer clothing and for tackling stains, not used for the whole wash. Starch and bluing were available for better quality linen and clothing. A visitor to England just before 1700 sounded a little surprised at how much soap was used in London:      At London, and in all other Parts of the Country where they do not burn Wood, they do not make Lye. All their Linnen, coarse and fine, is wash'd with Soap. When you are in a Place where the Linnen can be rinc'd in any large Water, the Stink of the black Soap is almost all clear'd away.
~M. Misson's Memoirs and Observations in his Travels over England (first published in French, 1698)
Leave it to the Americans to gravitate toward the gadget, and the Industrial Revolution helped that right along.   The mangle or wringer was developed in the 19th century — two long rollers in a frame and a crank to revolve them. A laundry-worker took sopping wet clothing and cranked it through the mangle, compressing the cloth and expelling the excess water. The mangle was much quicker than hand twisting.
Meanwhile 19th century inventors further mechanized the laundry process with various hand-operated washing machines. Most involved turning a handle to move paddles inside a tub. Then some early 20th century machines used an electrically powered agitator to replace tedious hand rubbing against a washboard. Many of these were simply a tub on legs, with a hand-operated mangle on top. Later the mangle too was electrically powered, then replaced by a perforated double tub, which spun out the excess water in a spin cycle.
Laundry drying was also mechanized with clothes dryers. Dryers were also spinning perforated tubs, but they blew heated air rather than water.


So....why laundry...well, I have some new laundry detergent in stock...brought to you by Mary of Terra Viam...my soap maker...whose soap was featured in Country Living last fall...and who sells internationally!  According to Mary...and I quote: "These little one pound bags clean 32 loads for reg. washers and 64 loads for HE washers. That is like .50 cents per wash for regular washers! Pretty cool I think!!! This is highly concentrated soap so one should use only a rounded tablespoon per load. This soap does not suds up....which is good! There is no need to, the suds only get caught up in the fabric of the clothes anyway and doesn't rinse out clean.  Using this laundry detergent and hanging up clothes on the clothesline can really reduce one's carbon footprint! My family has used this for years!"

Now, thanks again to my BFF elf, our sink cabinet has been reborn to highlight laundry.
So, in our constant attempt to have unique...creative...not the typical product...we bring you this new product...just smelling it makes you feel clean! 
The scents are: Clothesline Fresh (and it does smell just like freshly line-dried laundry), River Wash(and you do not need to go near the river...unless you want to), Lavender, Lavender & Linen (lavender is a calming scent...for animals as well as people), and Bohemian Cedar (for the cabin folks).

Also, we have some neat old framed ads, washboards, and even some old clothespins. So, if you want to make laundry day more than a chore, stop in.
 




"We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry." ~ E.B. White



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