An Experiment to Do. - Have you ever boiled a garment and found that it became covered with a scum and tiny particles of dirt? This probably happened because the garment was boiled in hard water without a sufficient amount of soap or without softening the water. It is an interesting experiment to boil two articles in hard water, one with a water softener and plenty of soap, and the other with no water softener and very little soap.
The Importance of Rinsing. - Many people do not know that rinsing makes a great deal of difference in the appearance of a garment. In order to do this properly clothes should be rinsed in several waters. The first rinsing water must be hot in order to remove the soap and loosened dirt. Cold water causes the soap to leave a sticky scum on the fabric. The last rinsing water may be cold and sometimes bluing is added to this rinse water in order to counteract any yellowness, but this is not necessary if the clothes are properly washed and can be dried in the sunshine. If the bluing should be put into the hot rinse water the clothes will absorb too much bluing.
An Experiment to Do. - Certain kinds of bluing will cause rust stains to form on the clothing if the soap is not well rinsed out. Put a little liquid bluing in a test tube and add some caustic soda or other alkali. Shake and heat gently. If the blue color changes to a reddish brown color, it shows that iron is present. This is what happens when strong alkali soaps are used with certain kinds of bluing. If you happen to get spots of iron rust on your clothing while laundering, these spots can be removed with an acid. You have already learned how to do this. See page 236.
Starching the Clothes. - Do you think a gingham dress or collars and cuffs that have been laundered without starching will stay clean as long as when they have been starched? Clothes are starched not only for the purpose of keeping them clean longer but also to give them a fresher and newer appearance. The following is a good recipe for making starch.
1 quart boiling water. 1 ½ tablespoonfuls of starch.
½. teaspoonful of borax.
½ teaspoonful of white wax or fat.
Mix the starch with a little cold water. Then add the borax and fat. Pour boiling water over this mixture and boil gently for about ten minutes or until it becomes almost transparent. Starch should be strained to prevent lumps and should be used while hot. In starching clothes, the best results will be obtained if the garments are turned wrong side out. When the garment is dipped into the starch it should be thoroughly rubbed so that the starch is worked into the fabric. Be sure that the garment is wrung out well so that there is no excess starch.
It is possible to buy a prepared starch in which the borax and fat have already been added. Making and using this starch is the same except that it is not necessary to add borax and fat.
Some Questions to Answer. - 1. What would happen to the garment if the starch were made too thick?
2. What would happen if the starch were not properly wrung out of the garment?
3. Describe a garment that has been properly starched.
4. Make a list of the articles that should be starched. How to Dry Clothes Properly. - Most girls who help with the family laundering hang the clothes out to dry as part of their share of the work. The first thing to do is to wipe the clothes line clean so that it will not make dirty marks on the clothes. If you were hanging out the clothes and some of the yard were in the sunshine and some of it in the shade, which clothes would you hang in the sunshine? Why? We should always take advantage of the sunshine whenever possible because it helps to keep the white clothes bleached out white. Too quick drying in hot air, as in the commercial laundry, may cause the clothes to be yellowish. Why then is it that clothes from the commercial laundry are generally so white? The answer is because the laundry often uses chemicals for bleaching. What advantage is there in always shaking out the garment well before hanging it on the line? Why are good laundresses always particular to hang clothes so that the wind blows through them? In taking the clothes down, does the girl who folds the clothes carefully as she puts them into the basket or the girl who jams the clothes carelessly into the basket save more time when it comes to the process of ironing? Often busy housewives do not iron sheets and towels but merely pull them straight and fold them carefully as they take them down from the line.
Do You Help with the Ironing? - How many girls in the class help with the ironing at home? Decide with your class what articles girls of your age should be able to iron. There are several things to remember when you are ironing. One thing is to sprinkle the clothes so that they are just damp enough to be ironed easily. If they are too dry it is impossible to press out the wrinkles and if they are too wet it takes too long to iron them dry. Another thing to remember is that it is best to iron each part dry as you go. Otherwise they will look rough instead of glossy and smooth. A third thing that helps to do good ironing is to pull the edges straight and keep the corners square when ironing such articles as handkerchiefs, towels and napkins.
Watch a demonstration of ironing by your teacher or someone at home and make more rules that will help you to do good ironing.
Laundering a Woolen Garment. - If you should wash your woolen sweater or gloves and follow the same process as that used for cotton and linen the garments would become harsh and shrunken. This would happen because boiling water causes the wool fiber to shrink and mat. Strong soap, hard rubbing and wringing will also cause your gloves and sweaters to shrink and become harsh. When properly laundered wool remains soft and fluffy. There are a few simple rules to remember when you wash a woolen garment. First, the garment should be washed and rinsed in warm water of the same temperature. Second, it should be dried in warm air, because any extreme change in temperature causes the fiber to shrink and mat. Third, the garment should not be rubbed or wrung hard; the water should be merely squeezed out. Fourth, if it is a garment that requires pressing, use a medium hot iron.
Laundering Silk. - Probably one responsibility that you have with respect to your own laundry is that of washing such articles as silk ribbons and silk stockings. The laundering of silk is similar to the laundering of wool. Silk should never be put into boiling water because it weakens the fiber and destroys the luster. Strong soap and drying in the sunshine will cause silk to turn yellow. Like wool, silk should not be ironed with a very hot iron.
A Problem to Do. - Each girl should launder one simple article. If there is no laundering equipment in your school, each girl should do it at home.
Judging the Success of Your Laundering. - When the articles have been laundered, arrange an exhibit by laying them out on tables so they can be inspected. Ask yourself the following questions about the article that you laundered and compare your work with that of the other girls.
1. Is it clean and sweet smelling?
2. Is it pure white or is it gray or yellowish? If it is not pure white, can you give the cause for its being yellowish or muddy?
3. Is it properly starched?
4. Is it well ironed? If not, can you tell why?
5. Did it have the right amount of bluing?