Washin’ the Old Way

Washin' the old way. Old recipe for washing cloths.

I found this in my files from roughly thirteen years ago when folks routinely forwarded little snippets of interest from around the Internet. I have no idea where it originated, but what follows here is the message exactly as I received it.

When we build our new home with designated laundry room, this will be framed and hanging over my washer.

Image courtesy of olddesignshop.com.


Years ago a Kentucky grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe
for washing clothes. It appears below just as it was written, and despite the spelling, has a bit of philosophy. This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook (with spelling errors and all).

1. Bilt fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water.
2. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in bilin water.
4. Sort things, make 3 piles. 1 pile white, 1 pile colored, 1 pile work
britches and rags.
5. To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down
with bilin water.
6. Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and then
bile. Rub colored don’t bile, just rinch and starch.
7. Take things out of kettle with broomstick handle, then rinch, and
8. Hang old rags on fence.
9. Spread tea towels on grass.
10. Pore rinch water in flower bed.
11. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.
12. Turn tubs upside down.
13. Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea,
sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

* * * Paste this over your washer and dryer and next time when you think
things are bleak, read it again and give thanks for your blessings!


8 Responses

  1. Doree Weller

    I love how nothing is wasted in this, and even the washer gets some attention. I do love old ads like this. Though I’m very glad to have my washing machine!
    Doree Weller

    • amy@amyharkemoore.com

      You and me both! Can you imagine using that to do your laundry? 🙂

  2. The Unknown Journey Ahead

    Sometimes, we all need to sit, rock a spell, and count our blessings. It can be hard when you are in a rough patch, so I hope this post reaches someone in this situation today.

    • amy@amyharkemoore.com

      So true! If this post causes someone to count their blessings, that would be a blessing I would count! 🙂

    • amy@amyharkemoore.com

      Really? Hope it wasn’t the same post. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Lydia.

    • amy@amyharkemoore.com

      I know, right? No wonder they set aside an entire day for doing laundry. And that was between cooking breakfast and lunch and dinner, not to mention the clean up for all of that! Ugh! Calgon, take me away! As long as I don’t have to carry the buckets of water like these women did just to take a bath!