It is needless to say that clean, well laundered clothing is necessary if we are to be well dressed and attractive. You will remember that soiled, untidy clothing was one reason that the girl who wanted a position was not able to obtain it. Do you not think it is every girl's responsibility to see that her own clothing is clean and fresh? Even though most of your laundry is done for you it may happen that it sometimes is necessary for you to do an occasional piece yourself. In most families the household work is planned so that all the family laundry is done together and if the laundry is done at home it may be your responsibility to help with it. In many families the laundry is sent to the "wet wash" or returned "rough dry" and then ironed at home. Consequently, it may be a girl's responsibility to help with the ironing. In any case you will wish to know something about proper methods of laundering.
To Discuss in Class. - 1. Make a list on the blackboard of the ways in which the different girls in the class help with the laundry. Are there any responsibilites for the girls in homes where all the laundry is sent away to be done? 2. Compare the different ways in which laundry is managed in different homes. What advantages and what disadvantages can you see in each method of having laundry done? A Plan for Your Study of Laundering. - A good way to learn about the laundering process is to see some one demonstrate how it should be done and have each step explained so that you will understand it. Ask your teacher to demonstrate the proper method of washing and ironing two garments, one white and one colored. If there is no laundry equipment in your school, you should be able to obtain some simple equipment from the food laboratory or from someone's home.
Before you see the demonstration you should study the following paragraphs describing the different steps in the process of laundering. This will help you to understand the demonstration. After you have read these paragraphs you should be able to answer the following questions.
1. What are the different steps in the laundering process and in what order do they occur?
2. What may cause the clothes to look yellow or gray instead of pure white?
3. What should be done if it is necessary to use hard water?
4. What precautions should be taken with regard to the temperature of the various rinse waters?
5. What part of the garment is ironed first? Inspecting the Garment. - Before a garment has been laundered it should be inspected to see if there are any spots or any places to be mended. From what you have learned about the removal of spots, do you think it would be better to do this before or after laundering? Most people are careful to do certain kinds of mending before their clothes are laundered. For example, a broken stitch in your knitted underwear or stocking should be mended before laundering. Tears which might become worse in the process of laundering should also be mended before laundering. One generally prefers to mend the holes in stockings and underwear after they have been laundered. Why? Even though her laundry is sent away from home to be done, it should be every girl's responsibility to inspect her own clothes and see that they are ready for laundering.
Why it is Helpful to Soak a Garment. - If you help with the family laundry at home it may be your share of the work to put the clothes to soak. The soaking, of course, loosens the dirt and makes it easier to wash them clean. Even in such a simple process as soaking the clothes there are certain things to remember. If you should put a very dirty garment into a tub with the other clothes it may cause all the garments to be muddy looking after they have been laundered. Soaking clothes in hard water may cause them to be gray or yellowish. Washing soda, ammonia or borax will soften the water, but if too much washing soda or ammonia is used it causes the clothes to be yellow rather than pure white. What would happen if you should soak the colored garments with the white garments?
Washing the Clothes. - No one would ever think of trying to wash clothes without using soap. How would you have liked to wash clothes in days before the use of soap was known? You would have had to take the clothes to a stream and wash them, pounding and beating them to knock the dirt out. We rub out clothes on a washboard or let them rub together in a washing machine in order to get the dirt out. But we also use soap, which helps to loosen the dirt. On what parts of a garment would you expect to put the most soap and do the most rubbing?
It is necessary to have good soapsuds in order to wash clothes clean. It is more difficult to secure good suds when using hard water. Often a scum forms on the water and the clothes are covered with particles of dirt. If the water is softened by one of the agents mentioned before it is easier to make good suds.
Some Questions to Answer. - 1. Find out why hard water does not make good soapsuds.
2. Why is it necessary to wring the water out of the clothes before they are put into the boiler or the rinsing water?
3. Why is it worth while to put the clothes through the wringer in a straight and orderly fashion instead of putting them through in a haphazard way? Why Should Clothes Be Boiled? - White cotton and linen clothes can be boiled as an additional means of cleansing and sterilizing them. When you are washing a single garment the process of boiling is just the same as when the weekly washing for the whole family is being done. Before the garment is put into the water for boiling it should be carefully rinsed. Why is this necessary? After rinsing, the garment should be well soaped and put into cold water. Heating the water gradually will make the garment whiter than if it is plunged immediately into boiling water. Be sure that there is a sufficient amount of water to cover the garment and let it boil for about five minutes after it has been brought to boiling. When several garments are being boiled they should not be packed too tightly in the boiler.