Mrs. M. F. Walker, Chicago.
Take 1 pound potash (it comes in cans), 1 ounce salts of tartar, and 1 ounce liquid ammonia. Put the salts of tartar and potash in a gallon of water on the stove, in any convenient kettle. It will dissolve very soon. Then set it off, let cool, and add the ammonia. Cork tightly in a jug. Soak the soiled clothes over night. In the morning make a strong suds of cold water, add a cup of the fluid to 10 or 12 gallons, put in clothes to nearly fill the boiler, let heat gradually and boil 10 minutes. Take out, rub lightly, rinse, blue, and hang out. Use less fluid with rain water.
The second recipe is called Magic Washing Soap.
To 5 gallons water (if hard cleanse it), add 5 pounds common bar soap, cut up into small pieces and dissolve over a moderate fire, then add 12 ounces borax and 16 ounces sal soda; stir frequently while dissolving, and when thoroughly incorporated pour into a convenient vessel to cool; stir frequently while cooling, and it is done. Should you wish to use good soft soap, from 10 to 15 pounds will be required, according to the thickness of the soap, with from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 gallons of water; the thicker the soap the less, but more water; the thinner the soap the more of it, but less water, with 12 ounces each borax and sal soda; in the case of soft soap, dissolve the borax and sal soda first in water and then add the soap. To use, heat as much soft water as will just cover the white clothing; a little more than blood warm. To each pail of water add 1 cup of the Magic soap; dissolve well; moisten the dirty streaks of your clothes, rub on a little soap, and spread them in your tub, push down under the water and spread a thick cloth over your tub to keep in the warmth as much as possible; in about 5 minutes catch the clothes by one edge, raise them up and down once or twice, then turn them over entirely; repeat the same operation two or three times; soak from 20 to 30 minutes, as you please; in the meantime have your boiling suds ready, by adding 1/2 a cup of soap to each pail of water needed; now wring your clothes moderately from the soaking water, overhaul them, rub some soap on the dirty streaks, or places, if any remain; roll them up and put them to boil or simmer, stirring and turning occasionally for 15 minutes (no longer, remember), rinse in 2 waters, and hang up to dry; no bleaching or washboards are needed. The above method of washing positively will not injure the clothes. Now use your boiling suds for washing your colored clothes and save by it. Be sure your soap, borax, and sal soda are thoroughly dissolved.
Take best Prussian blue, pulverized, 1 ounce; oxalic acid, also pulverized, 1/2 ounce; soft water, 1 quart; mix. The acid dissolves the blue and holds it evenly in the water. One or 2 tablespoons of it to a tub of water, according to the size of the wash. This is far preferable to the blueing sold in stores, and is much cheaper.
To prevent common blueing from spotting the clothes, dissolve the blueing in warm water and have the blueing water a little warm.
Melt together, with a gentle heat, 1 ounce white wax and 2 ounces spermaceti. Prepare your boiled starch in the usual way, put into each pint a piece of British Enamel the size of a large pea. It will give your clothes a beautiful polish.
Allow a teaspoon of starch for each shirt. Use only enough water to wet the bosom, wristbands, and neckband well. Dip in, squeeze out, roll up, and iron in fifteen minutes, or let it lie longer if desired.
Dissolve 2 tablespoons raw starch in a little cold water. Pour on boiling water till of the consistence of paste. Cook several minutes. Many laundresses make their starch early and leave it to cook slowly on the back of the stove for 2 hours or more. Others just merely cook it through. Put in a piece of enamel according to directions, or a few shavings from a sperm candle. In the absence of these use a tablespoon of kerosene to 2 quarts of starch. If the clothes are dry, make the starch quite thin. Bear in mind that the hotter it is, the better the garment will iron and the stiffer it will be. Dip the bosom in and rub the starch through and through with the fingers. Pat it hard with the hand and be sure that every thread is wet with it. Treat the neckband and wristbands the same way. Let dry thoroughly. Then take a teaspoon of raw starch in a quart of cold water. When well dissolved, dip the starched parts in quickly, squeeze out, lay smoothly, and roll up hard. They may be ironed in an hour or two. Some shirt-ironers dip in clear cold water, and some, again, in clear hot water, and all with equally good results. This can only be determined by experimenting.