What was Done to Hang Out Laundry

Yes, laundry hung out to dry, before modern clothes dryer, always seemed like a laborious, or at least annoying, chore. Work began with the clothes sorted, then washed, hung to dry, folded and put away. Just the washing process was very pains-taking. The first electric washing machine wasn’t invented until 1908, and the first automatic washing machine didn’t arrive on the scene until 1951. Having a machine dryer did not come until 1938, but they were expensive. You can imagine, your ancestors had a hard time on laundry day.

So they learned and used the proper methods for handling laundry especially even hanging the items out to dry.

First, all-white items were hung in the direct sunlight. But clothes of color needed to hang in the shade to avoid fading. Being outside was a great way to disinfect clothes.

Before hanging out clothes on a clothesline, wipe the line using water because it collects dust and dirt.

Hang socks by the toe of the sock, it will not stretch out as fast.

Shirts needed to be hung by the bottom of the shirt rather than by the shoulders.

The clothespins will last longer if kept inside when not in use rather than kept hung on the line.

It was a problem with bad rainy weather or snowfall, and the clothes had to be hung need the fireplace to dry. Of course, the clothes could have a smoky or musty smell. If an ancestor had a basement, those were used also, but they could be dirty also.

Hang big items such as towels and bedsheets on the end of the lines and your personal clothing in the center, that way those personal items are less likely to be seen by the neighbors.

These are just a few of the lessons of laundry day practiced by your ancestors.

Photos: 1890s -Clotheslines from building to building in a city; vintage clothespins; hanging out laundry in the 1920s and 1930s electric washing machine.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Women’s Occupations

Overlooked Females

Convenience Items of Your Ancestors

< Return To Blog I hung my clothes out sometimes at my apartment many years ago. It was fun. Modern subdivisions are way too pristine. I like to see laundry out. Now where I live the wind blows often and the roads are dirt so into the dryer go my clothes. I didn't know all these rules, though.
Sara N Martin 20/01/21

With the wind it would be great but not dirt - a shame.
alice 20/01/21

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