Ever since man decided to put on furs to hide his nakedness, he had to find a way to clean his clothes. The first attempts at laundry duties took the woman of the house (or cave), to the river side to beat the heck out of the clothes on the rocks, which apparently beat the dirt into submission, causing the dirt to float away with the current of the stream. As time rolled on, and clothes got fancier and more costly than going out and killing a bear for his coat, new measures were invented to clean clothes.
All I can say is that I’m VERY glad I live in the Twenty-first Century with the huge leaps in technology that makes washing a breeze. If I had lived in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century I would have to allocate at least one entire day to wash the household laundry once or twice a week. Methods for laundry in that era were incredibly laborious! First, soap had to be made by hand –and this may actually have involved rendering animal fats and making lye from wood ashes. Then the soap had to be grated, the clothes washed on a washboard in a boiler (makes my gym routine seem rather pathetic!), clothes rinsed and wrung out by hand, then hung on a line to dry, starched, and ironed with “sad irons,” which were heavy metal irons heated on coals (thank goodness we have electricity!). I’d like to see anyone who would trade their washer/dryer and permanent press for that.
It must have been grueling work, involving bending, scrubbing, and hauling large tubs of very hot water. Women and servants were the designated launderers, and men might be regarded as henpecked or effeminate if they helped, even if the woman was pregnant.
As time went on, some acknowledgement of the misery of laundry methods crept into advertising. Purchased laundry soaps became available, at first advertised as economical, then, more and more, as labour saving. They were made in flakes or powder, saving the labour of grating. Various ingredients were touted as making the process easier. Advertising showed well-dressed women, completely unruffled, using the product. Or little girls were pictured, happily laundering doll clothes.
From rocks, to wash-boards, to modern washing machines – I’m grateful for the advancements in technology, but nevertheless, we can still take a leaf from the book of history without giving up all our modern conveniences. When it comes to choosing a laundry soap or washing powder, my choice is to use an all natural, handmade and soap based washing powder – which is good for my skin and good for the environment. Commercial washing powders and liquids are really just synthetic detergents, made with chemicals that are cheap to manufacture but not so good for us or our washing machines.
We have become conditioned via marketing hype to believe that lots of suds and bubbles = cleansing power. But the truth is, it’s the ingredients that do the cleaning, not the bubbles!
With high efficiency washers, lower sudsing is important. In washing machines, excess suds can cause a problem called “suds lock.” The machine has both an inner and an outer tub, and when there is too much sudsing, the two can get linked together by the suds. This puts a huge load on the motor and the drain pump. It’s especially likely in a front-loading washer. If you’re using a washboard, of course, this isn’t a factor (cheeky wink and smile!)
But in any case, a high-lather laundry powder is often more difficult to rinse out of your clothes, which can leave a residue build up in the fabric.
Our all natural 100% Vegan friendly laundry powder is really well suited to HE machines, because the natural ingredients in our formula is VERY low sudsing. Just make sure you use the recommended amount of detergent (1 tablespoon for light to medium loads and 2 tablespoons for heavier soiled loads). A little goes a long way, so it’s really economical cost wise too.
Yes, doing the laundry has come a long way since the days of beating clothes on a rock or scrubbing on a wash board, but I will go back a step in time to the natural goodness of natural soap to wash my clothes – will you?
TIP: To replace your synthetic fabric softener, add 1/2 cup white vinegar when you would normally add fabric softener. It won’t make your clothes smell like vinegar – promise!