This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
We have studied many things about cleanliness, and we all know how much cleanliness of clothing and household linen adds to our comfort. We have learned that sometimes we can wear our underclothes without ironing and that towels can be washed and dried and will smell sweet and clean even if not ironed. Table linen, though, must be washed and boiled and ironed to look well. Our lesson to-day is about how to do this.
The linen, as well as the cotton, are, as you know, vegetable fibers. They are strong and able to resist heat and the friction from rubbing. They have resistance for chemicals also. So cotton and linen may be boiled, starched, and ironed with hot irons because the fibers are strong. They may also be treated with acids of a dilute nature when necessary to remove spots, as we have learned. For the usual grease spots on the family tablecloths, soak the cloth in soda water to remove grease (one cup of soda - the dissolved solution - to a pail of water, see page 186).
The processes for washing and ironing. If the stains have been removed from the table linen, it can then be soaked. Soaking helps to loosen the dirt when soap is added before the soaking. It is then unnecessary to rub them as much, and so materials are saved from wear. These are the processes for washing and ironing: soaking, washing, rinsing, boiling, rinsing, bluing, starching, hanging, drying, sprinkling, pulling, folding, ironing.
Fig. 110. - Mrs. Stark washing out of doors on a warm day. This is the old way. She has just bought a washing machine.
1. Soaking. Soak the table or bed linens about 1 1/2 hours in cold or lukewarm water. Soap is really not necessary as the linen is not very dirty. All stains should have been previously removed.
2. Washing. Wash with soap on both sides, rubbing on clothes board or in washing machine. Use hot water.
3. Rinsing. Rinse and soap again to be placed in the boiler. The dirt is carried away by this rinsing.
4. Boiling. Put the soaped articles in clear cold water. Boil briskly for five minutes. Add enough soap to keep a suds while boiling; save small pieces for this purpose. Stir clothes and press with a stick. Remove from boiler, after boiling actively for five minutes. Put in clean hot water, then in cold. Rinse once or twice again thoroughly before bluing.
5. Bluing. Make the blue water from some good blue. Do not make it too deep. Test on a small doily. Stir the blue before each article is dipped, so it may not appear streaked on the clothes. If articles are very yellow it may be necessary to let them stand in the blue for a little while. If not yellow, dip two or three times.
The next process is starching; but it is not as a rule necessary to starch napkins, tablecloths, or bed linens.
6. Hanging. Hang very straight after stretching. Do not pin at corners. Hang 1/3 of the napkin or tablecloth over the line.
7. Sprinkling. Table linen must be sprinkled evenly. Sometimes it can be taken from the line when half dry, and the process of sprinkling omitted.
8. Ironing. Linen should be ironed damp and until dry. This makes the pattern stand out and gives a shine and gloss to the linen. This takes the place of starch.
9. Folding. Iron napkins partly dry on wrong side; then turn to right side, and iron dry. Fold edges evenly. In the lengthwise fold do not fold quite to end, as in the final fold the napkin, handkerchief, tablecloth, or sheets will appear uneven at the edges. Fold the tablecloth, or napkins with selvedges together. Tablecloths may be folded with three, or four, long creases.
1. Try to wash and iron the napkins for mother.
2. Try to wash and iron some towels or pillowcases. Is the process different?
3. Why is it unnecessary to iron some clothes if one is very busy. Can you give a good reason why it is hygienic not to iron them.