This section is from "Every Woman's Encyclopaedia". Also available from Amazon: Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
The object of washing is to get rid of the dirt, which has been loosened by steeping, with as little wear and tear of the material as possible.
Begin with the cleanest things. Wring them out of the steeping water, rinse out the tub, and half fill it with water as hot as the hand can bear.
Separate the Articles
Wash each article separately, and do not put too many into the tub at one time.
Soap as much of the material as is convenient, then rub and wash one piece against another. The linen and not the hands must be rubbed.
Dip the article from time to time in the water, to wash away the soap and dirt, and work methodically over every part. When to Use the Scrubbing-board
The scrubbing-board may be used for the heavier and coarser articles, but collars, cuffs, and bands will be cleansed more easily if spread on the washing-board and brushed with a fairly soft brush. Care should be taken not to injure the fabric in any way.
Large articles, such as sheets and tablecloths, should be folded whilst washing, and then soaped and rubbed by the selvedge.
Special attention must be paid to the more soiled parts of the clothes, which must be given an extra soaping and rubbing.
If the clothes are not clean after the first washing, the process must be repeated in a second hot water until all dirt is removed. Soap and rub in the same way in the second water, turning such garments as can be turned on to the wrong side.
After the things have been washed clean they will be ready for boiling.
The clothes should be well wrung out of the water in which they were washed. All fine, white things may be boiled together, but those of a dark or unbleached character must be kept by themselves.
If there is any fear of the copper discolouring the clothes, it will be safer to put them into bags. This is more particularly necessary in the case of small things, like collars,cuffs,and handkerchiefs. The bags should be made of thin, open calico, with an opening left in the seam to allow the water to circulate round the clothes.
Do not put too many things at one time into the boiler. The water, in which a little soap has been dissolved, should be warm when the clothes are put into it, and after it has come to the boil for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Keep the clothes well under the water, using a wooden stick for this purpose, and when ready,lift them out and place in a tub of warm water, ready for rinsing.
Careless and insufficient rinsing is one of the commonest causes of badly coloured linen, and too much attention cannot be paid to this part of the work.
The clothes must be rinsed in plenty of warm water (two, or even three, separate waters may be necessary) until every trace of soap has been removed. They can then be dipped into, and wrung out of, blue water to restore the colour.
It is difficult to tell the exact amount of blue required. It is safer to test the colour on a piece of rag or some unimportant article before putting the clothes themselves into the water.
Keep the blue water well mixed up from the bottom of the tub. Do not put in too many articles at one time, and never in a twisted roll.
Do not allow the clothes to remain in the blue water, or they will become streaky, but rinse them quickly, and wring them out.
Wringing is best done by a machine. The clothes must be shaken out and folded evenly before being put through the wringer, and all buttons and tapes must be protected.
The wringer should be worked evenly and not in jerks, and a strain must not be put upon the machine through inserting too great a thickness of articles at one time between the rollers.
If the wringing is done by hand, it must be done on the selvedge way of the material, to prevent stretching the article out of shape.
After wringing, the clothes must be sorted, those requiring starching put to one side, and the others shaken and hung up to dry.
The best place for drying is in the open air, an open green, free from smuts, forming the ideal drying-ground, but with care very good results can be obtained in the ordinary suburban garden.
The clothes-line must first be rubbed with a clean duster, and then the clothes secured to it with wooden pegs. Good, firm props for raising the line are also required.
Hang the clothes with a good piece of the material over the line, and with the heaviest part upwards, and in such a position as will best catch any wind. Small articles should be pinned together, and cuffs and collars strung on a tape or string.
Clothes should be dried indoors in as warm an atmosphere as possible, and must either be hung on a clothes-horse or on a clothes-drier fixed to the ceiling, so that it can be raised or lowered by a rope and pulleys. To be continued.