Thursday’s Thoughts ~ About Laundry

Sometimes I  find myself grumbling about having to take the clothes out of the washer, and place them into the dryer.  I’ll also grumble about having to catch the end of the drying cycle. Then I think back to the “good old days” of this…


image via Google

Back in the day, my maternal grandmother used to have a ‘wringer type’ washing machine.  She kept it outside, on the back porch of their old house, like most people did, back in those days. Grandma didn’t have a hot water heater, so she had to heat the water for washing clothes in a large wash pot, outside, with a fire built underneath it.  After the water heated, it was then poured into the tub of the washing machine, where the clothes were then washed.  After the clothes finished washing, each piece had to be ‘fed’ through the ‘wringer’ to squeeze the excess water out.  (It would be a bad day if a piece of clothes got wrapped around that wringer, or if your finger got caught in it!)  The clothes were placed in a large metal washtub as they came through the ‘ringer’.  The clothes were then rinsed, and fed through the ringer again.  Ultimately, the clothes were hung out on a clothes line to dry.  Needless to say,  doing laundry took up most of the day!  Grandma finally got her first automatic washing machine in the mid sixties, when she was probably in her mid sixties!


image via Google

Thank goodness, my mama had an automatic washing machine for as long as I can remember, but I do have some special laundry day memories concerning her, too. I remember mama used to put starch in the final rinse of the laundry.  Then she’d put daddy’s work pants on “pants stretchers” and hang them on the clothes line to dry. (I was always amused by those “pants stretchers”)


image via Google

In those days, everything was cotton, which meant it had to be ironed. Mama had a sprinkler bottle, which consisted of a glass coca cola bottle, with a cork and metal sprinkler top, that she used to ‘sprinkle’ the dry laundry.  After she sprinkled the clothes that needed to be ironed, she’d roll them up so they’d get damp all over, then she’d proceed to iron them, one piece at a time.  Mama never sprinkled more than she could iron at one time, because the clothes would ‘sour’ if they sat too long.


image via Google

When Ed and I first got married, we didn’t have a washing machine.  This meant we had to spend a portion of every weekend at the laundromat.  It wasn’t long before we scraped up the money and bought a small washing machine of our own!  However, it was several years before we were able to afford a dryer to go along with it.  I have some not-so-fond memories of hanging out laundry, in the dark, after a long day of work!  Did I mention that Ed’s work clothes were all white, too?!


image via Google

The years passed, and our family of two eventually grew to a family of five.  We required two laundry hampers, and they were usually full at all times.  It was SO hard to keep up with all of the laundry!  I was very thankful for my extra-large capacity washer and matching dryer, as well as the permanent press materials that most of our clothing was made of!  I never owned a sprinkler bottle, but I did have a plastic spray bottle and a can of spray starch!

Now that it’s just Ed and me, laundry is a lot easier to keep up with.  Since we’re retired, we don’t worry a lot about wrinkles, unless we’re going somewhere.  We hang our clothes up after they finish tumbling in the dryer, and most of the wrinkles are gone by then.  However I still hate putting wet clothes into the dryer–and I still hate folding the dried clothes, and putting them away.  In fact, there’s a load on the couch, waiting to be folded, now.  Shame on me!  I’d better go and get busy.


Published in: on April 21, 2016 at 7:38 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That photo of the sprinkler bottle certainly sparked a memory. In fact, I could almost smell the smell of hot cotton that would permeate the room when my mother was ironing. My two brothers and I attended parochial school which meant 5 clean white shirts to be ironed for each child. Like you, though she did grumble. My dad’s shirts, however got sent out to the Chinese laundry. That was my weekly job to bring a new batch in and pick up the ones that were finished.
    As for me, I do not even own an iron. I have no qualms about wrinkles! And as soon as the temperatures permit, I’m out there hanging up my clothes to dry in the yard. In fact I was able to hang out my last load last week, and will continue to do so until October or so. I love the process although like you I hate folding them and putting them away – and it’s just me!

  2. Laundry is one of my chores that I dislike the most. But this post reminds me that it could be a whole lot worse. 😉

  3. Laundry is not one of my favorite chores, either, but I am thankful to have a washer and dryer in the laundry room. My mom liked to hang the wash on the clothesline and what a rush we had if it started to rain before things were dry! We also had one of those sprinkler bottles and rolled the clothes up before ironing. Ironing was one of my chores. To this day, I hate to iron and don’t unless I absolutely have to. Fun post!!

  4. I remember when I was real little, my mom had a wringer washer. I was probably 3-5 years old. I also remember her sprinkling the clothes and rolling them up and she put them in the fridge. I wonder if that helped to keep them from souring.

  5. None of my grandparents lived to provide wringer washing machine memories. Lots of clothesline memories,though. They include hanging out my little brother’s cloth diapers on Saturdays, taking them in after school and folding them on weekdays before Mother got home from teaching. She washed and hung them out on weekdays before she left early for work. I remember those pants stretchers as well as the wonderful scent of sun-dried laundry, especially when I stretched out beneath those sun-dried sheets at bedtime.

  6. I’m blog browsing while waiting to switch my loads of laundry 🙂 I’m trying to get it all done tonight because we are having plumbing work done tomorrow and they may shut off the water. We always hung our laundry, either in the backyard or in the boiler room, when I was a kid. Now I put just about everything in the dryer. I think everything looks nicer when it is freshly pressed. I remember coming home from the hospital when my daughter was born and my mother-in-law made my bed up with freshly ironed sheets. What a treat that was!

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