How to Do Your Laundry, 1938

My washing machine is slightly on the blink at the minute. The drying cycle keeps stopping every 20 minutes so you have to keep pushing the button again. And sometimes I forget that I need to do this so it can take hours to get a load dry. Plus, since having a second child my laundry pile has grown so fast! I’m washing every day and yet there’s still a full basket of towels, babygros and felt-tip covered school shirts pretty much all the time.

“Well, boo bloody hoo!” I can hear a 1930s housewife called Elsie saying to me, quite tetchily.

These were the days when you had to have an entire day a week to get your washing sorted – Tuesday is recommended as you’re clearing up after the weekend on a Monday. Soap flakes, blue to get the whites white, cracked hands and all, this is how to do it 1938-style, from Titbits Book of Wrinkles.

Not that they’re grumbling – this is a positive piece emphasising how things have got so much easier for the housewife these days. I dread to think how much harder it must have been before their “labour-savers” were developed. Although reading the piece I’m not entirely sure what they are – soap? A mangle? I remember my Grandma’s mangle, sat on the end of the worktop in her tiny kitchen in Morecambe. I was fascinated by it, and I wish I had it now. But, oh, my RSI-impaired wrist is aching just at the thought of all this effort…

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1 Response

  1. May 26, 2015

    […] you want the details on what exactly “wash-day” consisted of in the 30s, see my post here of instructions on how to manage it in […]

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