If the clothes-line is made of hemp, it should be taken in after use, to avoid dirt and the danger of rotting through the variations in the weather. It should be wound round the hand and elbow, and placed in a cotton bag; occasional boiling keeps it clean and white.
Wire lines should be carefully wiped before using.
These should never be allowed to lie on the ground, but collected in a bag or basket. The best are those made of one piece of wood, not those with a tin band.
CLOTHES BASKETS should have wooden supports to prevent dust getting in through contact with the ground.
These should have no joins; old shawls or blankets may be utilized; felt also is a suitable material. They should not be too soft, and should be fastened firmly to the table. If the table is slightly damped before placing the blanket, the steam (which will arise as soon as the hot irons are in use) will help it to adhere.
These must be scrupulously clean, and should, if possible, be without a join or patch, as the impression of these would be left on the linen when ironed. They should be tied down firmly with tapes to each corner leg of the table.
This should measure about a foot and a half in length and ten inches in width. It should be covered with a double piece of flannel tightly tacked on.
Five feet in length and width, graduating from a foot at one end to two feet at the other, is the usual size. It should be covered tightly with blanket and sheet.
This, though not a necessity, is certainly a boon where many blouses or bodices are to be ironed. It is made of ordinary wood. The top is quite plain, and the board is one and a half inches thick, and five inches wide at one end, narrowing to two at the other. The support is about twelve inches high, and the stand ten inches long by two inches thick, the thickness giving weight and stability.
1. FLAT OR SAD are the most common; they cost less, require less fuel, and are easy to work with. They can be heated in front or on top of a coal fire, which should be stoked frequently to keep the fire up, putting on fresh coal at the back and pushing the red embers to the front. If heated over gas, as soon as the irons become warm they should be wiped, because the hydrogen of the gas, uniting with the oxygen of the air, produces moisture, which, if not removed, causes rust.
2. BOX IRONS are heated by a bolt, which is put in the fire, allowed to become red hot, and then put into the hollow iron. More fuel is thus used, as it is wasted while taking the bolt in and out of the fire, and much dust is made.
3. CHARCOAL-HEATED IRONS are sometimes used; but the fumes are not healthy, and usually cause headache.
4. GAS IRONS are expensive, and a separate burner fitted with tubing is required for each ironer; they are also rather cumbersome.
5. GOFFERING IRONS should be carefully heated; if they become red hot they warp, and the outer coating of the metal peels off, leaving a rough surface, which is apt to cause fine lace to tear.
All irons must be kept thoroughly clean. They should be occasionally scrubbed with strong soda water and Monkey Brand soap, and then well dried by placing them on a warm stove. Each time they are used they should be cleaned on a little finely grated bathbrick, rubbed on a coarse cloth, and then on a clean duster.