I'm thankful for my washing machine

From the January 1851 Godey's Lady's Book:



Take two pounds of the best brown soap; cut it up and put it in a clean pot, adding one quart of clean soft water. Set it over the fire and melt it thoroughly, occasionally stirring it up from the bottom. Then take it off the fire, and stir in one tablespoonful of real white wine vinegar; two large tablespoonfuls of hartshorn spirits; and seven large tablespoonfuls of spirits of turpentine. Having stirred the ingredients well together, put up the mixture immediately into a stone jar, and cover it immediately, lest the hartshorn should evaporate. Keep it always carefully closely covered. When going to wash, nearly fill a six or eight gallon tub with soft water, as hot as you can bear your hand in it, and stir in two large tablespoonfuls of the above mixture. Put in as many white clothes as the water will cover. Let them soak about an hour, moving them about in the water occasionally. It will only be necessary to rub with your hands such parts as are very dirty; for instance, the inside of shirt collars and wristbands, &c. The common dirt will soak out by means of the mixture. Wring the clothes out of the suds, and rinse them well through two cold waters.

Next put into a wash kettle sufficient water to boil the clothes (it must be cold at first), and add to it two more tablespoonfuls of the mixture. Put in the clothes after the mixture is well stirred into the water, and boil them half an hour at the utmost, not more. Then take them out and throw them into a tub of cold water. Rinse them well through this; and lastly, put them into a second tub of rinsing water, slightly blued with the indigo bag.

Be very careful to rinse them in two cold waters out of the first suds, and after the boiling; then wring them and hang them out.

This way of washing with the soap mixture saves much labor in rubbing; expedites the business, and renders the clothes very white, without injuring them in the least. Try it.


  1. Oh, goodness. Me, too

  2. Oh my! I am now thankful for mine too :)

  3. yipes! it almost seems like it'd be easier to throw away your dirty clothes and start all over with a new outfit, huh? ;)

  4. I love doing laundry. It's the only chore I actually *enjoy* doing. I even volunteer to do my roommate's laundry! Something soothing about sorting and folding...and no mess the clean up at the end :) All from pushing a button.