‘Warshing’ Clothes

This was shared by a friend on Facebook. It originally came from the Pecan Valley Genealogical Society Facebook page.

Years ago a Texas grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe.
This is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook, spelling errors and all.


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.

Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles:
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard and boil, then rub colored don’t boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.

Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

. Photo credit: Mrs. Bostain washing clothes, vicinity of Penland, N.C. ca. 1930. Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection, University of North Carolina.

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7 Responses to ‘Warshing’ Clothes

  1. MaryfromMarin says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! (And no, I’m not name-dropping…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. litenmaus says:

    I have family that still do the ‘warsh’ and make sure the ‘warsh cloths’ are folded just so..

    Wonderful post Stella. :0)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. stella says:

    Women worked hard in the old days, especially if they lived on a farm. Here’s a pic of my great grandmother, probably taken in about 1910 (maybe later; I’m not sure.) She would have been in her late sixties then. She died in 1923.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. czarina33 says:

    In New Orleans Monday was wash day. Women set up a pot of red beans to cook while they did all that work, so dinner would be ready at the end of the day. Don’t know if they had tea at the end of the day, but I’ll bet it was cool, and under a shade tree, cause I’ll bet it was hot as Hades doing all that work around a fire! I love that they put the wash and “wrench” water to good use. We have a sprinkler system which puts all our “used” water out into the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. auscitizenmom says:

    Love this. (just took a while to get around to reading it)

    Liked by 2 people

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