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.
What are some of the things to learn in order to care for one's clothes ?
Marjorie Allen's Cousin Ann, who lives at Paterson, New Jersey, spends her summer vacation with Marjorie at Pleasant Valley. Marjorie knows that she earns ten dollars a week at the office and pays all her own expenses. She always looks very neat and well dressed. What is the secret?
She has learned how to spend wisely and how to care for her clothing. She learned much of this at school, and experience has taught her how to manage. Suppose we learn, too, so as to be able to care for our clothes. Here are some of the things Marjorie's cousin learned:
1. That clothes, if well brushed, look better.
2. A well-pressed suit or skirt lasts longer and looks neater.
3. Stains or spots spoil one's neat appearance and look careless.
4. A patch or a darn is no disgrace. They make one feel more self-respecting than holes or tears. They help to increase the life of a garment, too, if taken in time.
5. That being careful each day saves much time; a little care is worth while.
Fig. 94. - Ethel Allen remembers about the lesson on neatness. She is removing a spot.
Let us study today how to do some of these things. Perhaps we can clean our school coats or some wool garments brought from home.
Brushing clothes. Many people who live in large cities do not have gardens and yards where they can hang their clothes and brush them. Often brushing and cleaning must be done on the roofs of houses. How glad we should be for space and a chance to keep clean. The Pleasant Valley girls have studied about this. Do you know that it costs to keep clean? It takes time and energy and much thought. People who live in the country can keep clean more easily than city people. This is a good way to air and brush your cloth garments: Hang them on the line, and beat with a clothes beater. Turn the cuffs or collars and pockets inside out if possible. Brush with a whisk brush carefully all over. Shake free from dust and let them hang in the sunshine. They will smell sweet and clean.
Pressing suits and skirts. A suit or skirt which is kept well pressed has a neater appearance and keeps its shape for a longer time. Tailors do this work; but one can learn to do it at home, if no tailor is near, and can save the money, too, if one has the time. It is a good general rule to press on the wrong side unless one is using the steaming process. Then, one presses on the right side, over dampened cloth. Wring the cloth, place over a portion of the garment, and press with hot irons until nearly dry. After steaming the garment all over on the right side, turn to the wrong side and press dry. Woolen goods will mark or shine if pressed on the right side without a cloth. This pressing will add to the life of a suit. Good press boards, tailors' cushions, and sleeve boards help very much if one has them.
It is always wise to examine clothes before pressing and to remove any spots which have accumulated. Grease, milk, oil, sugar are common spots which girls are apt to get on their woolen clothing. The Pleasant Valley girls studied how to remove these.
Removing stains and spots. Woolen goods which are soiled and badly spotted can be cleaned by washing in warm water with soap solution or soap bark. Here are some recipes for making soap solution or soap bark:
Soap Solution. Simmer (do not boil) one cake of white soap in two or three quarts of water.
Soap Bark. I cup of soap bark or powder in three or four quarts of water. Let it stand two hours. Strain and pour into the lukewarm water in which the material is to be washed. Why is lukewarm water used? Wash and rinse carefully. Always use water of same temperature for rinsing. What would the shock of cold water do? Bath temperature is about right.
All woolen garments should be washed and rinsed carefully in lukewarm water only. Some day we shall try at school. Good pure white soap is best for woolens. Why do woolens shrink in hot water? Why are they difficult to cleanse?
Let us examine the school coats to see if we can find grease. As a rule grease spots can be removed by washing with soap solution and lukewarm water. Wagon grease can be removed with lard; then wash in warm water. Grease may also be removed by dry cleaning, or chemical cleaning as it is called. The cleaning liquid may be benzine or ether. This is a warning: D-A-N-G-E-R. These must not be used near fire or an explosion will occur. A bad accident occurred at Pleasant Valley in just this way when Mrs. Leroy was cleaning her white gloves. Rub the spot on the wool garment with a cloth or sponge wet with benzine. The grease or fat spreads when dissolved; a piece of blotting paper under will help to absorb some of the grease. Care must be taken to use fresh benzine as each rub removes some of the fat, which will spread if rubbed in again. It is usually wise to use as a sponge a piece of the same material. Rub towards the center so as to avoid a ring. The spot cleaned will usually be lighter than the rest of the garment, which is apt to be soiled. Sometimes by rubbing the surface near the spot all over, the ring will not be noticeable. Another way to remove grease is to try a warm iron and a blotting paper. Place paper on right side, iron on the wrong side of the cloth. This will remove some grease spots, as the blotter absorbs it.
Marjorie Allen discovered that sugar spots can be removed with warm water. Dip cloth in water and wash thoroughly and rinse before pressing. What does the warm water do to the sugar?
Milk spots can be removed from some materials with cold water and pure white soap. Why cold?
Machine oil spots can be removed by washing in cold water and pure white soap. This will remove most machine oil spots. Barbara Oakes got some oil on her nightdress while making it, and removed the oil easily in this way.
Courtesy of Miss Alice Blair.
Fig. 95. - Which way do you arrange clothes in your closet ?
These simple rules will help every girl to be neat. Let us see how many garments you can clean at home after you have learned to brush, clean, and press one at school.
Protecting clothes. Marjorie's cousin takes good care of her clothing while it is in use. When she works about the house she always wears an apron. Do you?
This saves a great deal. You know how to make some attractive ones.
When she removes her clothing it is not thrown in a heap, but is hung up on skirt or coat hangers. They are very cheap or one can make them. Barrel staves or even rolls of newspaper, rolled securely and covered may be used as coat hangers, a cord or ribbon may be tied at the center. Nails between two points in a closet will keep the bands of skirts extended, when loops are sewed to the bands. Marjorie's cousin always airs her clothes at night (Fig. 56 ), and when necessary washes her shields and hangs them up to dry. Many girls do not realize how necessary this is. The odor of perspiration is not neat and is offensive to others. If one washes one's self carefully with warm water in which borax has been dissolved this odor will not be noticeable. Marjorie noticed that her cousin has covers over her good clothes (Fig. 96). This saves a great deal. Also she is particular about sewing buttons on her shoes, and braid on her skirt when it is torn. She also washes the yokes of her dresses and sometimes her own shirt waists. She is going to teach Marjorie to do this. Some day we shall learn at school. Do you know that Marjorie discovered that the people at the summer boarding houses near have difficulty in having their dainty shirt waists carefully laundered. She is going to practice during the winter and next summer she will earn some money in that way. It is a good idea. Perhaps some day she may have a laundry of her own, if she is a good manager and can have help to work with her.
Fig. 96. - A useful cover to protect your best dress.
Cousin Ann told Marjorie that each winter she is particular about buying a pair of rubbers. She finds they save her shoes because they prevent the dampness and wet from rotting the thread of the shoes. She is particular about having her heels straight. Cousin Ann believes that many girls lose good positions because they are not clean and neat about their personal appearance. Run over heels are not neat. Ann is careful about having her shoes resoled when necessary, and so lengthens their life. She wears an old pair of shoes on rainy days with her rubbers. Ann knows that wet feet are dangerous. One may not feel the results at once, but sometime the effect on health will be felt.
Fig. 97. - Cousin Ann thinks about these things.
Next lesson let us learn how to keep our clothing darned. You may bring any garment or towel or other piece of household linen which has a tear, and we shall learn to darn it.
1. Carry some of your clothes to the back yard. Brush them, and hang them in the sunshine.
2. Try at home to press your wool skirt. Steam it; it is not difficult to do.
3. Do you know of any other way besides those Cousin Ann tried, of keeping your clothes clean so as to prevent them from getting spotted ?
4. Do you not think that knowing how to launder shirt waists carefully would be a good way to earn money when the summer boarders come to your town ?