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On washing day arrange the white clothes in this manner: Half fill two tubs with warm suds. Put in one tub the pieces soiled the most; put the remainder of the articles in the second tub. Have a third tub half full of warm water and the wash boiler half full of cold water.
Wash the cleaner clothes first, rubbing soap on the parts which are soiled the most. Wring from this water and drop into the tub of clean warm water. When all are done, rinse the clothes well in the warm water; then wring out and soap the parts that were badly soiled.
Put these same pieces in the boiler of cold water and set on the fire. Let the water get almost boiling hot; then take up the clothes and put them in a tubful of cold water. Rinse them from this into another of warm water and from this into a third of bluing water. Wring them as dry as possible; then shake them out and hang on the lines.
They should become perfectly dry before they are folded. All the white clothing should be washed in this manner. The second tubful can, of course, be rubbed out and rinsed while the first is being scalded. If clothes be not thoroughly rinsed and bluing be used, the soap will combine with the bluing to give a yellow tinge to the clothing.
This is especially the case when liquid bluing is used. A thorough rinsing is really one of the most important steps in all the work.
Satines, Ginghams, and Prints.
These kinds of goods look better when no soap is used and they are not starched in the usual way. For two dresses make one gallon of starch by mixing one cupful of flour with one pint of cold water. Pour on this three quarts and a half of boiling water.
Pour half of this mixture into a tub containing four gallons of warm water. Wash one of the dresses in this, rubbing the fabric the same as if soap were used. Now rinse in two clean waters and hang out to dry. The starch cleans the fabric, and enough is held in the cloth to make it about as stiff as when new.
Wash the second dress in the same way. This method is not for light cambrics, but only for satines, ginghams, and dark prints.
If the colors run, put half a cupful of salt in the second rinsing water. If the color of the fabric be blue and faded, put two tablespoonfuls of acetic acid, or twice as much vinegar, into the last rinsing water. This will often restore the color, but not always, as it depends upon the chemicals used in the dyeing.
The acid can be used in the last water in which faded blue flannels are rinsed. Colored goods should be dried thoroughly and dampened only a few hours before you are ready to iron them. They should be ironed on the wrong side.
How Flannels should be Washed.
Have a tub half full of strong soap suds, in which has been dissolved a tablespoonful of borax. Shake all the dust and lint from the flannels, and then put them into the suds.
Wash them by rubbing with the hands and sopping them up and down in the water. Wring them out of this water and put them into a tub of clean hot water. Rinse thoroughly in this water, then in a second tubful. Wring dry, shake well, and hang on the lines.
When nearly dry, take them in and fold, rolling them very tightly. Wrap a clean cloth around them, and, if possible, iron the same day. Do not have the irons very hot, but press the flannels well. Have clean suds for the colored flannels. To prevent shrinking, the temperature of the water should be the same in all the tubs.
Never use yellow soap for washing flannel, and never rub any other kind of soap upon the cloth.
To wash blankets, make strong suds with some white soap. To every three gallons of water add a tablespoonful of powdered borax. Have the suds as hot as the hands will bear comfortably. Shake the blankets, and, if the bindings be of colored silk, rip them off.
Put the blankets in the hot suds and sop them up and down until the suds show that the dirt has been removed. If there be any stains on the blankets, rub the spots well between the hands, but remember the caution not to rub soap on such goods.
Have a tub half full of clear water as hot as the suds. After squeezing the suds from the blankets, put them in the rinsing water. Sop them well in this, and then squeeze out the water; finally rinse in a tub of bluing water, having the temperature still as hot as the suds.
Press all the water possible from the blankets and hang them on the lines to dry, shaking out all the wrinkles. When dry, fold smoothly and lay on a clean board. Put another board on top, and on this place some heavy weights. In a day or two the blankets will be pressed.
Wash only two blankets at a time, and select a clear day for this work,—a windy day, if possible.
The Right Way to Wash Silk Undergarments.
To three gallons of warm water add three tablespoonfuls of household ammonia. Let the silk garments soak in this for twenty minutes; then rub soap on the parts which are the most badly soiled, and wash the articles with the hands. Never rub them on a board.
Rinse in two waters, wring dry, and hang on the line. When nearly dry, take in and fold, and, if possible, iron within a few hours. Never let an iron come in contact with the silk; lay a piece of cloth over the fabric, and iron on that.
The ammonia may be omitted, and the silk garments be washed in strong suds made with white castile soap and warm water.
How to Launder Washable Curtains.
There are many inexpensive cotton or cotton and silk fabrics used for curtains which launder very well if treated properly. Shake out all the dust. Make weak suds with white castile soap. Wash the curtains in this, and rinse them in two waters; then wring dry.
Next dip them in a preparation made as follows: Soak half an ounce of isinglass in one quart of cold water for an hour or more. Steep one ounce of saffron on the fire in two quarts of hot water for two hours. Stir the soaked isinglass and half an ounce of alum into this, and then strain into a bowl.
Put one fourth of this mixture into another large bowl, and dip one curtain into it, sopping it well, that the color and stiffening may be equally distributed. Shake out and hang on the line to dry.
When the curtains are dry, sprinkle them, making them very damp. Draw out evenly; then fold, and roll up in a cloth; finally iron them, being careful to move the iron lengthwise of the curtain, and to get the fabric very dry.
The alum and saffron may be omitted, and the stiffening be used for washable dresses or thin muslin curtains.
Cleaning Lace Curtains.
Lace curtains will not bear rubbing. All the work must be done carefully and gently. For two pairs of curtains half fill a large tub with warm water, and add to it half a pound of soap, which has been shaved fine and dissolved in two quarts of boiling water; add also about a gill of household ammonia.
Let the curtains soak in this over night. In the morning sop them well in the water, and squeeze it all out; but do not wring the curtains. Put them into another tub of water, prepared with soap and ammonia, as on the night before; sop them gently in this water, and then, after squeezing out the water, put them in a tub of clean warm water.
Continue to rinse them in fresh tubs of water until there is no trace of soap; next, rinse them in water containing bluing. After pressing out all the water possible, spread the curtains over sheets on the grass; or, if you have no grass, put them on the clothes-line.
When they are dry, dip them in hot thick starch, and fasten them in the frame that comes for this purpose. If you have no frame, fasten a sheet on a mattress, and spread the curtains on this, pinning them in such a manner that they shall be perfectly smooth and have all the pattern of the border brought out. Place in the sun to dry. If it be desired to have the curtains a light écru shade, rinse them in weak coffee; and if you want a dark shade, use strong coffee.
If the curtains be dried on a mattress they must be folded smoothly, the size of the mattress. Lace curtains can be spread two or three thicknesses in the frame.
Points on Starching and Ironing.
In making and using starch have all the utensils and the water perfectly clean. Mix the dry starch with cold water enough to make a thin paste. Pour on this the required amount of boiling water, stirring all the while. To each quart of starch add a teaspoonful each of salt and lard. Boil the starch until it looks clear, which will be in about ten minutes.
Strain it through a piece of cheese-cloth (it will have to be squeezed through the cloth). White articles should be dipped into the hot starch, but have it cooled a little for colored articles. For collars, cuffs, shirts, etc., have the starch very thick; for white skirts it should be rather thin; for dresses, aprons, and children’s clothing also, the starch must be thin, and for table linen only the thinnest kind imaginable should be used.
Always have starched clothes thoroughly dried; then sprinkle evenly with enough cold water to make them very damp. Fold smoothly and roll up in a clean cloth for several hours. In ironing, begin with the plain pieces, like the sheets and pillow cases.
This will get the irons in condition for the starched clothes, which should be done next; and after these finish the plain pieces. Have the ironing blanket and sheet spread smoothly on the table and tacked in place, and have some fine salt spread on a board. Tie a large piece of beeswax in a cloth, and after rubbing the hot iron on the salt, rub the beeswax over it.
Finally wipe the iron on a clean cloth. This process will make the iron clean and smooth. Starched clothes must be made very damp; other articles should be dampened only slightly. Starched clothes must be ironed until perfectly dry. In ironing, do the rubbing lengthways when possible,—that is, with the selvage.
A Rule for Making Hard Soap.
18 pounds of clarified grease. 3 tablespoonfuls of powdered borax. 3 pounds of potash. 4 quarts of cold water.
Put the fat on the back part of the range, where it will melt slowly. The potash is put into a large earthen or stone bowl or jar. Upon this is poured three quarts of cold water, and three tablespoonfuls of powdered borax is added. This mixture is stirred with a wooden stick until the potash is dissolved; then it stands until cold.
When the fat is melted pour it into a butter tub. It must not be hot when the potash is added; should it be, it must stand until so cool that it will hardly run when poured. When the potash mixture is perfectly cold pour it in a thin stream into the fat, stirring all the while.
When all has been added, continue stirring for about ten minutes, when the soap should begin to look thick and ropy. At this stage pour it into a box, having it about three or four inches deep. Let it stand a few hours; then cut it into bars, and the bars into pieces of a convenient length for handling. It will still be soft, and should not be removed from the box for at least two days. It will be hard and white.
If you attempt to combine the fat and potash mixture while the latter is at all warm it will take a long time to make the soap, and the result will not be so satisfactory. It is well to put paper under the soap tub and the bowl in which the potash is prepared. Remember that potash is very strong, and do not spatter it on yourself or on the floor.
This is a hard soap,—a most desirable quality.
2 pounds of good white soap.3 ounces of borax.2 quarts of water.
Shave the soap and put it in a porcelain kettle with the water and borax. Place on the fire, and stir frequently until the soap and borax are dissolved and combined. Pour the hot mixture into a clean butter tub, and when cold, cover. This soap is excellent for washing flannels, blankets, etc.
It is best to make the soap a few weeks before you wish to use it, as it is rather hard on the hands when new. Here is a good rule for making the soap without heating the grease:—
Put fourteen pounds of crude—not concentrated—potash in a wooden pail and pour over it enough boiling water to cover it. Stir well, and let the mixture stand over night. In the morning pour this mixture into a large kettle and place on the fire.
Now add another pail of boiling water, and stir frequently with a stick until all the potash is dissolved. Next put ten quarts of soap grease in a water-tight barrel and gradually pour in the hot potash. Stir until all the grease is united with the potash.
Let this stand for three hours; then add a pailful of hot water and stir well. Add another pailful three hours later. After this add a pailful each day for the next six days, stirring well with a long stick each time. The soap should be stirred every day for the next three weeks, when it will be ready for use.
Be sure the potash is pure.