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Thread: Wash Day When You Grew Up

  1. #1
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    Wash Day When You Grew Up

    Yesterday I was starching fabric while ironing and had a flash back to starching and laundry when I was growing up. We had a wringer washer and a tub behind it the water ran into. My mom kept a bucket of blue starch and I remember when I was six a little teddy bear I had fell into it. It was very stiff after that! Wash was done only once a week, I think on Thursdays. We didn't have heat in the basement but had a coal burning stove, one of those little black things with the door you put the coal into. Clothes were hung on clotheslines until I was about eight when we got a dryer. That was really big!

  2. #2
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    Yes helped with the wringer washer and hung the clothes on lines in the basement in the winter. In the summer we hung the clothes outside on the lines. We didn't get a clothes dryer until I was a teenager.

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I remember a ringer washer. We lived in a little rent house on a dead end street but when my Mother went to work at Foley's dept store, she hired a maid to do the washing. we were the only people to have a maid! she caught her poor hand in that ringer. she was all right but i bet it wasn't pleasant!! and yep, clothes lines outside. I can't think of a yard without one, even though i mostly use the electric dryer.

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    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    My family lived in a subdivision where all of the back yards were visible up and down the block and every single Monday (weather permitting) all of the back yards were full of clotheslines full of clothes. My mom tried to be the first one outside - very important to her. My father had to be at work really early in the mornings, so she was up and washing using the wringer washer way before dawn. Then they got a new washer and dryer and that all quit. Doubt if anybody in that neighborhood even has a clothesline outside anymore.
    Nikki in MO

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    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I do remember a ringer washer, cloths lines, sprinkling cloths with a bottle, starching,then when I was a little older it was washer and dryer no more hanging cloths or any of the rest. Boy times have changed!!!!!

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Some of my earliest memories are of the wringer washing machine and Mom hanging clothes on the line to dry. When I was in my twenties, I got all the kids to chip in to buy a new automatic washer and dryer for her.

    My older sister told me about a friend of hers who was married. They moved into a new house in a more "upscale" neighborhood, and she hung her clothes on the line to dry as usual. A neighbor visited her and told her nobody in the neighborhood hung their clothes out to dry; it was "tacky". The friend bought a dryer so she would fit into the neighborhood!

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    My mom used a ringer washer and we had two rinse tubs as well When I got married in 1964 My husband and I was at an auction and they had a really old square ringer washer that I talked him into buying for me. Did all our wash for 5 or 6 years with it than bought an electric washer and dryer set But I really loved my old maytag washer

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    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    yes, i remember. mom taught us early to iron those starched items. we hung the clothes on a line in the back yard. even in the winter... the clothes freeze dried. thanks for bringing back fond [or not] memories
    Nancy in western NY
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    Super Member sewmom's Avatar
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    When I was small, our well water was salty so we hauled our dirty laundry to my Granparents house. They had a wringer washer that my Grandpa had put an electric motor on. Until I was old enough to hang the clothes on the line, my job was to catch them as they came out of the ringer. After we had a new well dug, we had our own washer/dryer. The washer was a suds saver, which meant the same water was used for all the clothes- whites first. The dryer was only used in the winter.
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    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    My mother thought automatic washers were such a waste of water. I remember helping Mom with the washing each week. Once, my arm went through the wringer. We hung clothes in the house in winter and outside in the good weather. Mom starched everything and I had to help iron as I was the only girl. I had to help iron my stepfather's boxer shorts but I don't think they were starched ! Mom did not get an automatic washer until she was about 75 years old and the dryer only came when she was about 80. She hung clothes till the day she died, she only used the dryer when she had to. She hated these new machines, she never had a dishwasher.

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    Senior Member Nancy Ingham's Avatar
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    We had a wringer washer until I was a freshman in high school. My mother would back it up to the kitchen sink, pass the clothes through the wringer into the sink filled with water to rinse the clothes by hand, and then run them back through the wringer to squeeze the water out. I remember many times hanging the clothes outside, so cold during the winter that out fingers ached, only to retrieve them for Mom, clothing frozen stiff as boards, to re-hang on lines that hung the length of the kitchen. We had no central heat so no hot running water and I had six sisters and two brothers, making a total of 10 people for my mom to do weekly laundry for.
    Thanks for the memories!
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    Washday memories, YEP! Fun in the summer when we "accidentally" got all wet. Crowded basement in winter with lines hung end to end. Outside we had to hang the underwear on inside lines so it wouldn't be seen from the road. Guess nobody else wore unmentionables! A couple years ago a friend and I demonstrated old time washers from our county museum at our little towns yearly picnic. The kids thought they were, as they said, "awesome". Their grandmas remembered them as hard work. Times change for sure.

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    Super Member needles3thread's Avatar
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    Our clothes lines outside were long -for a family of 6 each week. (A heavy wire, I think)
    We used a wet cloth for cleaning the lines each week before hanging any clothes on them.
    We hung 2 items with one clothes pin if possible & never left the pins outside
    on the lines after the laundry was taken in. We had a special clothespin bag that we could
    slide along the line ahead of us.

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    My grandmother had a wringer washing machine. She eventually got a more modern one. I remember stretching my brother's jeans on those wire things to dry. I still have the clothes pins (plus the bag I keep them in) that I brought when my husband and I married back in the 1960's. If you leave the clothes pins on the line (between washing days) the wood will rot.

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    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    My Mom did laundry on Mondays. She'd wheel the wringer washer over to the kitchen sink to hook up. Everything got dried outside. I remember her putting my father and brother's pants in metal stretcher contraptions before hanging up. This was long before permanent press. In the winter, she'd string clothesline up in the double kitchen to dry the white percale sheets, but continued to dry the rest outdoors. Some laundry would come in, frozen solid and her hands would be bright red. I remember her sprinkling clothes before ironing. Mom passed away in 2007 and NEVER did she use a clothes dryer, wanted no part of it. We later moved to another house when I was nine, that had a clean, dry, warm basement with a cement floor, so she'd hang laundry down there in the winter.

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    Am I the odd one out I still hang my washing out on the cloths line, I do not own a dryer, all my friends do.
    Some years ago we owned a motel and did all our own laundry and yes we hung it all out side to dry.
    We had guests say the could smell the sunshine and fresh air in our sheets and pillow cases

  17. #17
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    I remember wringers that mum used and starch also "bluo" which made whites white!!!!!!

    Gee I always hang my washing on the line. I love to see the sheets, towels and everything else hanging in the fresh air and sunshine. If it is wet I even have lines strung around my large garage. I only ever use the drier in the case of continual wet weather - especially for the undies.

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    Even after the automatic came into the house the wringer washer was still used.All the whites were done in it and all the things that needed starched. Mom said the wringer was the only way our socks would come clean=5 kids made for a lot of socks. I use to help until I put my arm through the wringers when I was 5. Summer in a sling. But I still hang laundry outside all year as long as its close to 40 degrees and warmer

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    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    We washed any time - put it in the machine or copper and proceeded from there.

  20. #20
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I remember sprinkling the clothes using an old coke bottle with the old metal sprinkler top. I can still get those tops from the Amish store. Then mom would roll up some things and Put in a plastic bag in the fridge to be iron later. Ah. Memories!

  21. #21
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Yes helped with the wringer washer and hung the clothes on lines in the basement in the winter. In the summer we hung the clothes outside on the lines. We didn't get a clothes dryer until I was a teenager.
    Yup, Ihelped my mother too. Even got my hand caught in the wringer right up to my armpit!!!!!!! I learned. Edie
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    Sounds very familiar. I think mom washed on Monday, remember the old song Monday wash day is everybody happy....She didn't get a dryer until all 3 girls were out of the house, that's probably when she and dad could finally afford some long desired items. She hung everything on either outside wash lines or in the basement. If we were very good we could sometimes help put things through the ringer, but under intense supervision because she didn't want us to get our hands pinched. I forget which day she ironed, but I remember she would heat my play iron with her iron and I got to iron dad's boxers! She ironed everything including sheets. Needless to say, in some ways I am not like mom!

  23. #23
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    I also like to hang my clothes outside. I have a drying rack that hangs on the patio. Occasionally if we have a little breeze I will find something floating in the pool, other than that no problems, no shrinkage and the whites actually look whiter. I live in Arizona so we have mostly sunny days. I do own a dryer that has a steam function so if anything needs to be softened like towels I toss it in for 3 minutes

  24. #24
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    EllieGirl: OH my goodness that one brings back memories of Mom telling me to keep my hands away from the wringer part of the washer. I still hang clothes out on the line; more the bed linens than anything else. OH wait and the towels what a wonderful smell when you fold them after they are dry and you open them up use for after a shower... DH likes his jeans soft and smelly from the dryer .. LOL Gotta love dryer sheets ..
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  25. #25
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    I'm another throw back. Just as soon as Spring winds start warming the area,my towels go outside,bed clothes too.
    I love seeing the wash on clothes lines.The Amish in Ohio hang them out most of the year.

    One of my fav memories is coming home when Mom was finishing the ironing & listening to "Stella Dallas or Young Dr Malone" on the radio.She usually made ham & beans on a busy day.....so the smells at home were like no others.Even tho I'm a Grma ,I miss her so much.
    Pat

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