Utensils According to Washing to be Done and Space Available - A List of the Most Important

Articles - How to Use Them and Keep Them Clean

The number of utensils required for laundry work will depend very much upon the amount of washing to be done and also upon the space available.

In a small house, when the washing has to be done in a kitchen or scullery, the number of utensils bought specially for laundry purposes must be reduced to a minimum; but where a special wash-house is provided, it will be found a saving of labour and patience to have the proper utensils provided and kept for their special purpose only.

Everything should be strong and good, as laundry utensils are necessarily subjected to great wear and tear.

The following utensils will be required to do the work conveniently:

Tubs. Two or three large ones and one smaller one. If the tubs are not fitted, a wooden bench or stand will be required to place them on. The tubs must be kept very clean; dirty water must never be allowed to remain in them, as a greasy scum will settle on the sides and be most difficult to remove. Wooden tubs, when not in use should have a little clean water left in them, to prevent the wood shrinking. Zinc tubs, on the contrary, should be thoroughly dried, to prevent rust, and turned upside down, to keep them clean.

A Scrubbing-board. This is helpful in the washing of the heavier and more soiled clothes. Choose one that is strong and of a good make. After use, the dirt which collects underneath should be brushed off, and the board dried and left ready for future use.

A Boiler. When a fitted boiler is not provided, a large goblet, or boiling-pot, must be kept for the purpose of boiling the clothes. The boiler should be kept free from dust and rust; thoroughly wash and dry it well after use. If the boiler is fixed, always fill it before lighting the fire, and always see that the fire is out before emptying and drying it. If the boiler becomes greasy inside, a little soft soap and paraffin is a good thing to clean it with, and if this is insufficient use a little scouring soap as well; then thoroughly rinse with hot water.

Clothes Lines and Pegs, Clothes Horse or Pulleys. The two former will be required only if the drying is done out of doors. It is very important to keep them clean, and when not in use they should be kept in the house in a bag or basket. They should be wiped each time they are used, and washed occasionally with hot water and soap. For drying indoors it will be necessary to have a clothes horse, and, in addition, one or two pulleys fitted to the ceiling of the kitchen or wash-house.


These are of several different kinds - such as flat-irons, box-irons, charcoal or gas-irons, but for ordinary purposes the flat-iron does very well. Three or four, at' least, will be required, and it is an advantage to have more, so as to have variety in size; heavy ones for ironing plain things, and small ones for ironing frills and more intricate parts. The heating of the irons can be done on an ordinary kitchen-stove or on a stove kept for the purpose. If the kitchen-stove is used, it is important to make up the fire and to sweep and wipe the stove free from grease before the irons are put down. They must never be put into a fire; but, if they have to be heated in front of an open fire, this should be bright and free from smoke. The irons must be kept very clean, and should be rubbed on a piece of brown paper with bath-brick sprinkled on it, and then on a piece of coarse sacking slightly greased, after being taken from the fire. Dust well before using. When not in use, it is important that the irons be kept dry, as rust spoils the smooth surface and ruins the iron. It is-a good plan to grease them if at any time they are to be left long unemployed.

A Polishing Iron. This will only be necessary when polishing of shirts, etc., is done at home. It is an oval iron with a bevelled edge.

Goffering Irons. These are used for fluting frills and lace. Two pairs are a saving of time. A light make should be chosen, and fine, medium, or coarse sizes, according to the kind of work to be done. Goffering tongs should be heated in gas or on the top of the stove, never in the fire. Test them on a piece of rag before using them on the material.

Ironing-Table, Blankets, and Sheets. The table must be of a good size, steady, and of a convenient height. It should be placed in a good light. For covering it, a blanket or piece of thick felt and a sheet will be required. These should be sufficiently large to come over the sides, and be either pinned or tied tightly at the corners to prevent them moving.

Shirt, Skirt, and Sleeve Boards. The shirt board is used for ironing the starched front of shirts. One side, at least, must be covered with a double fold of white felt tightly tacked or sewn on to it. Over this it is a good plan to put a cotton slip, which can easily be removed when dirty. The skirt board, as its name implies, is used for ironing skirts, and, like the table, should be covered first with a piece of blanket, and then with a small sheet when in use. The sleeve board should be covered in the same way, and is valuable when ironing the sleeves of intricate blouses.

Other Valuable Accessories

The following small articles will also be required. A soap dish, an iron stand, a small saucepan and knife for making soap jelly, a wooden stick for lifting clothes from the boiler, a soft scrubbing-brush, a laundry-basket, a pail or can for water, a small steel comb for fringes, one or two large basins, two or three towels, some soft rag for rubbers, one or two bags for boiling clothes, and jars for keeping soda, starch, etc.

A Wringer. This is a very valuable assistant in laundry work, as for most materials wringing is done better by machine than by hand. A wringer with indiarubber rollers is the best, and it can be attached either to the tub or to a separate stand. There should be a screw to regulate the tension, and when not in use this should be kept loose. The wringer must be kept clean and free from soapsuds. It should be oiled from time to time, and a little turpentine will remove any stains from the rollers.

A Mangle. This is a large machine with heavy wooden rollers used for pressing linen. The working parts must be kept oiled, and when not in use the tension must be kept loose. There must be no undue straining when using the machine. The rollers ought to be rubbed with a soft cloth, and the mangle covered when it is finished with.

Washing Machines

If nome washing is done on a very large scale, one of these machines will be found very useful. It is a great saving of time and labour, and a good machine will wear the linen less than the ordinary method of washing. With some of the machines a mangle and wringer are combined. A machine of simple construction should be chosen, one that can be cleaned easily and one that efficiently cleans the linen without unnecessary wear and tear.

The above list of utensils may very easily be added to if means and space allow, or it may be reduced if the washing has to be done in a kitchen or in a very small space. In households where some of the washing is given out the mangle may be dispensed with if the larger articles are not done at home; or if the starched work is given out, the skirt, shirt, and sleeve boards, as well as the polishing and goffering irons, will not be required.

It is better to start with just those things that are absolutely necessary, and then to add to them as the need arises.