Boil wheat bran (about two quarts to a dress) in soft water half an hour, let it cool, strain the liquor, and use it instead of soap-suds; it removes dirt like soap, keeps the color, and the clothes only need rinsing in one water, and even starching is unnecessary. Suds and rinsing water for colored articles should be used as cold as possible. Another way is to make thick corn meal mush, well salted, and use instead of soap; rinse in one or two waters, and do not starch.
To wash a silk dress with gall soap, rip apart and shake off the dust; have ready two tubs warm soft water, make a suds of the soap in one tub, and use the other for rinsing; wash the silk, one piece at a time, in the suds, wring gently, rinse, again wring, shake out, and iron with a hot iron on what you intend to be the wrong side. Thus proceed with each piece; and, when about half done, throw out the suds and make suds of the rinsing water, using fresh water for rinsing.
- Have a clean pan or kettle on stove with one quart boiling water, into which stir three heaping table-spoons flour, previously mixed smooth in little cold water; stir steadily until it boils, and then often enough to keep from burning. Boil about five minutes, strain while hot through a crash towel. The above quantity is enough for one dress, and will make it nice and stiff. Flour starch is considered better for all calicoes than fine starch, since it makes them stifter, and the stillness is longer retained.
A great convenience is the apron pocket for clothes pins. It takes nearly one yard of calico to make it, the apron or pouch being fifteen inches in length, and nearly as wide. Round the corner at the bottom. At the top, on each side of the front, two inches from the middle, cut out a strip nine inches long, and one and one-half inch wide for pockets. Bind them with lighter colored fabric than the apron, that they may be readily seen. Gather into a band and button at the back, or put on strings and tie.
All that is necessary is abundance of soft water, and soap without resin in it. Resin hardens the fibers of wool, and should never be used in washing any kind of flannel goods. Blankets treated as above will always come out clean and soft. A little bluing may be used in washing white blankets. They should be shaken and snapped until almost dry; it will require two persons to handle them. Woolen shawls, and all woolen articles, especially men's wear, are much improved by being pressed with a hot iron under damp muslin.
Turpentine should never be used when washing is done with the hands, as it is very injurious to the health; but when the clothes are pounded in a barrel in the old fashioned way, or when the rubbing is done by a washing-machine, a table-spoon of turpentine added to a pint of soft soap, taking enough of the mixture to make a good suds for each lot of clothes aids in removing the dirt. Care must be taken not to handle the turpentine with the hands, or to breathe the fumes of it, as it is very injurious to some persons, and great care should be taken to rinse the clothes very thoroughly, or the clothing may retain enough of the turpentine to be injurious, when worn next the skin.