This section is from the book "The Complete Home", by Clara E. Laughlin. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Home.
If bleaches of any kind are to be used - washing powders, sal soda, borax, and the like - it must be in either the soaking water or the boiler, and very sparingly. Indeed, the use of bleaches at any time is a custom more honored in the breach than the observance. Though there is no hard-and-fast rule as to the order of precedence, it is well to wash the woolens first, after shaking them free from lint and dust. Prepare two tubs of lukewarm suds, the second very light, adding a little borax dissolved in boiling water to each. Never apply soap directly to the flannel, nor rub on a board, which mats the wool, but rub with the hands,, squeezing and dipping up and down in the first water till clean, rinse in the second water, which should be of about the same temperature as the first, put through the wringer, shake well, pull into shape, and hang in the shade to dry.