Cleaning in the Kitchen in 1800s

Your female ancestors during the 1800s did not have an easy time trying to clean in the kitchen or where ever they prepared the meals. No running water, no hot water, so cooking pots really needed handwork to get clean. Your ancestors used a mixture of soft soap and salt to clean their pots. This soft soap was a brownish goop made with wood ash, lye with fats. Mixed, it then had to cure for a month so the lye would not burn the hands and skin. Later manufacturers produced this soft soap in a bottle and even barrel size.

To clean pudding cloths, a needed item to make boiled pudding took special cleaning. They first needed to be soaked, then washed, then scalded in boiling water, then dried completely before they could be used again. No soap was used in the process as any residue could affect the taste of future puddings.

For pans with baked-on or stubborn food residue, they were soaked with washing soda, sometimes repeatedly, until the residue began to lift.

For fry pans with grease, with the use of bread, grease was removed using stale bread to absorb the oil. Nothing was wasted in the old days. But, of course, if there were no pans in need of cleaning, the bread could have been made into stuffing, breadcrumbs, or fed to the chickens or pigs.

Doing kitchen clean-up was not easy, it really makes you appreciate your female ancestors.

Photo: Typical 1880s kitchen

Related Blogs:

Kitchen Essentials in the 1940s

Victorian Kitchens

Overlooked Aspects of Our Ancestors’ Lives

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