Back in our Great-Grandmother's
time, laundry was done the old way. She would set aside one day a week to wash all of the family's laundry.
A fire would be built to keep the water in the large kettle hot. Often times she would use a homemade soap instead of
the store bought. A scrub board, scrub brush or other alternative was used to scrub out the dirt and grime from days
of hard physical work on the farm. A stick or broken broom handle was used to lift the clothing out of the scalding
hot water and placed on the scrub board. Many women bore the scars of knuckles that had bled during the scrubbing process.
Laundry was then rinsed and hung on a clothesline, bushes, fences, or even laid out on the grass to dry. It was an all
Today, we have it much easier. Sort the laundry, toss into a machine, add soap and start the
machine. That is it. Once done, toss into a dryer and start it up. Sounds simple enough. We are even
able to easily buy laundry soap and not have to make our own. But, what if your machine breaks down and you don't have
the ability to fix it right away? Taking your laundry to town, washing it at a laundromat and paying about $2.50 per
load to wash and dry them just seems too pricey. The price quickly adds up if you have a week's worth of your family's
laundry to do. Below is what I have done in when in that situation. I know that many will think it hard work but
when the situation arises, it is nice to know what to do.
Homemade Laundry Soap Powder
To make this recipe, you need only 3 ingredients, all of which are easily found at the
grocery or discount stores. One quick note - washing soda (baking soda) is sold in the laundry isle in a large box,
this is the one you will want to purchase.
a 3-pack of Ivory soap
Using a very fine grater, grate the bars of soap into very small pieces. The smaller
the better as it will help the soap to dissolve in hot water more efficiently. Once you have grated all the soap, measure
it to find the amount you have. You will need this measurement to calculate how much borax & washing soda you will
In a large bowl mix 1 part soap, 2 parts borax, and 2 parts washing soda. Mix well
and store in a container. To use, you will need 2-4 tablespoons of the soap per large load depending on how soiled the
Washing Laundry by Hand
Washing by hand is very physical work and time consuming, but can easily be learned.
With experience, you develop a technique that makes the task easier and often faster as you find out what works best for you.
Below are a few guidelines to get you started.
* Unless the tags on the clothing you are washing states otherwise, use hot water.
It makes the job much easier.
* Presoak heavily soiled items such as jeans if possible.
* Fill a tub or other deep container with hot soapy water. Have a second tub of hot
water for rinsing. You may want to add a bit of white vinegar to the rinse to help remove any soap residue from your
laundry. White vinegar is also a natural fabric softener.
* When washing the laundry, wash the least soiled items first then work your way to the
heavily soiled ones. This will cut down on the number of times you have to change out your wash water.
* For stubborn areas that are hard to clean, use a scrub brush to scrub the dirt out.
* Rinse the laundry as thoroughly as possible. If you notice that your rinse water
is beginning to look soapy, change it out for clean water.
* Wringe out the laundry, removing as much water as possible to speed up the drying process.
* Hang out on a clothesline to dry.