Drying garments outdoors, done hit or miss, can be the most exhausting part of the wash-day procedure.
Here are a few rules to follow which will make less stooping and straining:
- Don’t have the clothesline so high that each piece calls for stretching.
- Before wheeling garments out, sort them in the basket in the order in which it is planned to hang them, ie., sheets together, towels together, etc. This will prevent chasing back and forth along the line, either carrying damp clothes or pulling the basket.
- Buy a child’s wagon or build a little platform on wheels on which to trundle the garments along and save lifting the basket. (An old baby carriage with the hood removed would be ideal–serving both as basket and wagon.)
- Hook the clothespin bag on the line and push it on ahead of you or rig up a little trolley wheel which will make pushing easier. (Here are some patterns to make your own ).
- To save sprinkling* take the items down while damp. Follow the same procedure noted above and take in similar pieces at the same time. Smooth and fold them, which will save time later and allow a bigger load in each basketful.
- Arrange dresses and blouses on wooden hangers to make ironing easier.
Rights and Wrongs Of Hanging Items
As in everything else, there are rights and wrongs about hanging clothes. Here are some rights:
- Clean the clothesline with a damp rag (do this after it’s up).
- Be sure pins are clean and smooth.
- Position white articles in the sun where they can bleach; colored fabrics in shade where they will not fade.
- Place sheets and other large pieces first, fitting small pieces into the spaces.
- Fold sheets in half, hem to hem. Position over line the long way with one-third of the folded sheet on one side, two-thirds on the other. Secure on either end and in the middle with clothespins.
- Never hang anything by its corners or hems will tear.
- Place towels with one-third of length over line, pillowcases the same, open end down.
- Napkins, handkerchiefs, belts, etc., may be hung in groups. Make sure colored and white articles are not mixed.
- If there seems to be a strain when an article is fastened with a clothespin, move more of the article over the line.
- Be careful that the clothesline is not hung too close to bushes or any structure which garments may touch if the wind becomes stronger.
- Hang shirts from yoke.
- On hot sticky days, mildew will form rapidly. Do not let dampened items stand more than three or four hours. In the winter, they may be left overnight. Colored pieces should be sprinkled immediately before ironing.
- A large salt shaker, a mason jar with holes poked in the metal cap or a clean whisk broom will aid in distributing water evenly.
- Use warm water, since it penetrates and spreads more easily than cold.
- Do large items first, one at a time. Small articles, handkerchiefs, dish towels, may be laid in piles, sprinkled and rolled together.
- Heavy fabrics must be quite wet. Double areas, collars, cuffs, hems, also require more thorough sprinkling.
- Roll garments smoothly, with as few wrinkles as possible. Pack them in clothes basket and cover with clean cloth.
Source: Woman’s Home Companion Household Book, 1948
*Sprinkling was a common method of preparing items for ironing…nowadays people prefer using the steam setting on their iron although some believe that certain items are ironed easier and turn out nicer when sprinkled damp first.