Are you familiar with Mrs. Beeton?
She was wise beyond her years. She started writing a book on home management at the young age of 21. The day after the birth of her 4th child, she tragically died of puerperal fever.
She left a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in her book Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management.
Mrs. Beeton mostly discusses how to cook, shares recipes, instructs how to manage servants, nursemaids and remedies for children’s ailments.
So what does this Wise Woman have to say about laundry?
I’m so glad you asked.
She has an entire section devoted to “The Duties of the Laundry-Maid.”
Take a peek at the description of the Laundry-Maid (it starts at 2372). And then be thankful for you washer and dryer.
This is my favorite:
2375. The laundry-maid should commence her labours on Monday morning by a careful examination of the articles committed to her care, and enter them in the washing-book; separating the white linen and collars, sheets and body-linen, into one heap, fine muslins into another, coloured cotton and linen fabrics into a third, woollens into a fourth, and the coarser kitchen and other greasy cloths into a fifth. Every article should be examined for ink— or grease-spots, or for fruit— or wine-stains. Ink-spots are removed by dipping the part into hot water, and then spreading it smoothly on the hand or on the back of a spoon, pouring a few drops of oxalic acid or salts of sorel over the ink-spot, rubbing and rinsing it in cold water till removed; grease-spots, by rubbing over with yellow soap, and rinsing in hot water; fruit— and wine-spots, by dipping in a solution of sal ammonia or spirits of wine, and rinsing.
I love that she started with the basics: sorting laundry and carefully checking for stains.
Sometimes it helps to be reminded what the most basic parts of a task are. And I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs. Beeton that it is sorting and stain removal. While neither laundry duty is rocket science, whole loads of clothes can be ruined if not done accurately.
So take the time to sort your clothes into the correct piles: Whites, Darks, Delicates, Linens, Bedding. And it only takes a couple of seconds to glance over clothes to look for stains.
If your laundry routine starts out on the right foot from the beginning, you’re going to love your laundry results.
Do you have questions about how to sort? Or specific stain removal questions?
Feel free to leave them in the comments or shoot me an email.
Interested in reading some of Mrs. Beeton’s work? It really is fascinating. The content of the text is no longer under copyright and you can download a free copy at Project Gutenberg.
The text above was obtained from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Houshold Management and was used with permission.