"Washing is a necessity, ironing a luxury." This terse sentence expresses very clearly the relative value of the two large divisions of the laundering process. The thorough washing of clothing is a most important branch of household sanitation, upon which the health of the family and of the whole community depends, for disease is communicable by means of soiled garments and those that are imperfectly cleansed in unsanitary houses and possibly in commercial laundries. The ideal city will have many large and spotlessly clean laundries, where skilled labor intelligently directed will insure clothing as clean as it can possibly be made.
There is an aesthetic element in laundering as well, for good washing methods give a tinted white to fabrics that it is a pleasure to see, and ironing makes a smoothness that is pleasant to the touch, and brings out beauty of design, as in damasks and embroideries. There is an economic feature, too, in that poor and rough methods of work in both washing and ironing injure fabrics and shorten their term of usable-ness.
"Washing Day" has an ill repute that it does not deserve, for laundering is a science and an art that it is a pleasure to practice, if one has skill. Make it one of the household arts which you must carefully study, and you will find it pleasurable as well as necessary.
The dust and dirt of the street and house that soil our garments contain inorganic particles of earth, lint from textiles, organic matter from animals and human beings, and also bacteria. The material from our bodies consists of particles of skin, skin secretions, and bacteria, which are collected in underwear and bed linen and towels. Spots of grease and stains may fall upon our outer clothing, and fruit stains affect table linen in particular.