Late nineteenth century life: Washing clothes



_To Wash Fine Lace or Linen._

Take 1 gall. of furze blossoms and burn them to ashes, then boil them in 6 qts. of soft water; this, when fine, use in washing with the suds, as occasion requires, and the linen, etc., will not only be exceedingly white, but it is done with half the soap and little trouble.

_To Clean Black and White Sarcenets._

Lay these smooth and even upon a board, spread a little soap over the dirty places, then make a lather with Castile soap, and with a common brush dip it in, pass it over the long way, and repeat it in this manner till one side is sufficiently scoured; use the other in the same manner, then put it into hot water, and there let it lie, till you have prepared some cold water, wherein a small quantity of gum arabic has been dissolved. Now rinse them well, take them out and fold them, pressing out the water with the hands on the board, and keeping them under the hands till they are dry, at which time have brimstone ready to dry them over, till they are ready for smoothing, which must be done on the right side, with a moderately hot iron.

_To Wash and Stain Tiffanies._

Let the hems of the tiffanies be at first only a little soaped, then having a lather of soap, put them into it hot, and wash them very gently for fear they should be crumpled: and when they are clean rinse them in warm water, in which a little gum arabic has been dissolved, keeping them from the air as much as possible; then add a lump of starch, wet the tiffanies with a soft linen rag, and fold them up in a clean cloth, pressing them till they are nearly dry; after which put them near the fire, and finish the drying over brimstone, then shape them properly by gently ironing them.

_To Wash and Starch Lawns._

Lawns may be done in the same manner as the former, only observe to iron them on the wrong side, and use gum arabic water instead of starch and, according to what has been directed for sarcenets, any colored silks may be starched, abating or augmenting the gum-water as may be thought fit, according to the stiffness intended.

_To Clean Buff-colored Cloth._

Take tobacco-pipe clay, and mix it with water till it is as thick as lime-water used for whitewashing rooms; spread this over the cloth, and when it is dry rub it off with a brush, and the cloth will look extremely well.

_To make Saponaceous Lye for Washing._

Boil together in a sufficient quantity of water, 1 gall. of good wood-ashes and 2 or 3 handfuls of fresh-burnt lime. Leave the lixivium at rest till the extraneous matters have been deposited at the bottom, or thrown to the surface to be skimmed off. Then draw off the pure lixivium, add to it oil, to about a thirtieth or fortieth part of its own quantity. The mixture will be a liquor white us milk, capable of frothing like soap-water, and in dilution with water perfectly fit to communicate sufficient whiteness to linen. This liquor may be prepared from wood-ashes of all sorts, and from rancid grease, oil or butter. It is therefore highly worthy the attention of the economist. When the ashes are suspected to be unusually deficient in alkali, a small addition of pulverized potash or soda may be made to the lixivium.

_To Clean and Starch Point Lace._

Fix the lace in a prepared tent, draw it straight, make a warm lather of Castile soap, and, with a fine brush dipped in, rub over the point gently; and when it is clean on one side do the same to the other; then throw some clean water on it, in which a little alum has been dissolved, to take off the suds, and having some thin starch go over with the same on the wrong side, and iron it on the same side when dry, then open it with a bodkin and set it in order.

To clean point lace, if not very dirty, without washing, fix it in a tent as the former, and go over with fine bread, the crust being pared off, and when it is done dust out the crumbs, etc.

_To Clean White Veils._

Put the veil in a solution of white soap, and let it simmer a quarter of an hour. Squeeze it in some warm water and soap till quite clean. Rinse it from soap, and then in clean cold water, in which is a drop of liquid blue. Then pour boiling water upon a teaspoonful of starch, run the veil through this, and clear it well by clapping it. Afterwards pin it out, keeping the edges straight and even.

_To Clean Black Veils._

Pass them through a warm liquor of bullock's gall and water, rinse in cold water, then take a small piece of glue, pour boiling water on it, and pass the veil through it; clap it, and frame it to dry.

_To Clean White Satin and Flowered Silks._

Mix sifted stale bread-crumbs with powder blue, and rub it thoroughly all over, then shake it well, and dust it with clean soft cloths. Afterwards where there are any gold or silver flowers, take a piece of crimson ingrain velvet, rub the flowers with it, which will restore them to their original lustre.

_Another Method._

Pass them through a solution of fine hard soap, at a hand heat, drawing them through the hand. Rinse in lukewarm water, dry and finish by pinning out. Brush the flossy or bright side with a clean clothes-brush the way of the nap. Finish them by dipping a sponge into a size, made by boiling isinglass in water, and rub the wrong side. Rinse out a second time, and brush and dry near a fire or in a warm room.

Silks may be treated in the same way, but not brushed. If the silks are for dyeing, instead of passing them through a solution of soap and water they must be boiled off, but if the silks are very stout, the water must only be of heat sufficient to extract the dirt, and when rinsed in warm water they are in a state for the dye.

_Another Method._

Strew French chalk over them, and brush it off with a hard brush once or twice.

_To Clean Colored Silks of all kinds._

Put some soft soap into boiling water, and beat it till dissolved in a strong lather. At a hand heat put in the article. If strong, it may be rubbed as in washing; rinse it quickly in warm water, and add oil of vitriol, sufficient to give another water a sourish taste, if for bright yellow, crimsons, maroons, and scarlets; but for oranges, fawns, browns, or their shades, use no acid. For bright scarlet use a solution of tin. Gently squeeze and then roll it in a coarse sheet, and wring it. Hang it in a warm room to dry, and finish it by calendering or mangling.

For pinks, rose colors, and thin shades, etc., instead of oil of vitriol, or solution of tin, prefer lemon-juice, or white tartar, or vinegar.

For blues, purples, and their shades, add a small quantity of pearlash; it will restore the colors. Wash the articles like a linen garment, but instead of wringing gently squeeze and sheet them, and when dry finish them with fine gum-water or dissolved isinglass, to which add some pearlash, rubbed on the wrong side; then pin them out.

Blues of all shades are dyed with archil, and afterwards dipped in a vat; twice cleaning with pearlash restores the color. For olive greens, a small quantity of verdigris dissolved in water, or a solution of copper mixed with the water, will revive the color again. Grease spots may be removed by benzine.

_To Clean Black Silks._

To bullock's gall add boiling water sufficient to make it warm, and with a clean sponge rub the silk well on both sides; squeeze it well out, and proceed again in like manner. Rinse it in springwater, and change the water till perfectly clean; dry it in the air, and pin it out on a table; but first dip the sponge in glue-water, and rub it on the wrong side; then dry it before a fire.

_To Dip Rusty Black Silks._

If it requires to be red dyed, boil logwood, and in hall an hour put in the silk and let it simmer half an hour. Take it out, and dissolve a little blue vitriol and green copperas, cool the copper, let it simmer 1/2 hour, then dry it over a stick in the air. If not red dyed, pin it out, and rinse it in spring water, in which 1/2 teaspoonful of oil of vitriol has been put. Work it about 5 minutes, rinse it in cold water, and finish it by pinning and rubbing it with gumwater.

_To Clean Silk Stockings._

Wash with soap and water, and simmer them in the same for 10 minutes, rinsing in cold water. For blue cast, put 1 drop of liquid blue into a pan of cold spring-water, run the stockings through this a minute or two, and dry them. For a pink cast, put 1 or 2 drops of saturated pink dye into cold water, and rinse them through this. For a flesh-color, add a little rose pink in a thin soap liquor, rub them with clean flannel, and calender or mangle them.

_To Extract Grease-spots from Silks and Colored Muslins, etc._

Scrape French chalk, put it on the grease-spot, and hold it near the fire, or over a warm iron, or water-plate, filled with boiling water. The grease will melt, and the French chalk absorb it; brush or rub it off. Repeat if necessary.

_To take Stains out of Silk._

Mix together in a phial 2 oz. of essence of lemon, 1 oz. of oil of turpentine. Grease and other spots in silk are to be rubbed gently with a linen rag dipped in the above composition. Benzine may be used instead.





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