This is Not Your Grandmother’s Wash Day


My Dad’s mother hanging laundry in the yard at the farm, probably pre-1960.

Hydra and I just bought some pretty new bedding for the guest room.  I tossed the sheets into the laundry without looking at the care instructions because we do everything in cold these days.   When I looked at the care instructions before putting them in the dryer, I was shocked to see that they needed to be line dried and possibly ironed!

What!?   Are the manufacturers aware that some U.S. neighborhoods actually have prohibitions against hanging out laundry?  I checked the comforter and shams that came with the set.

DRY CLEAN ONLY, hollered the tag.  Dry clean linens?  For shame!

I looked at the external packaging.  No hint of the horrors that awaited inside.  “Care instructions inside,” read the small print.

Coincidentally, one of my cousins has been putting old family photos on Facebook lately.   Most of them I have never seen before, like this one of my wonderful Grandma W. hanging laundry.

Okay.  So it’s not as hard as it was when she was doing it with no running water inside the house–that was a Mother’s Day gift at some point along the line–and with one of those barrel style washing machines with a scary (potentially finger crushing) wringer on the top.  Something like this one.

I bundled the new sheets out the back door and hung them up, but those DRY CLEAN ONLY things are going to hit the cold cycle themselves before too long.  If they don’t survive, well, they don’t.   I’ve had other stuff that said dry clean only that withstood washing…like a pair of workout pants that I didn’t notice were dry clean only till I’d worn them.  Sheesh.  Who are they kidding?

I think Grandma would like the view over my clothesline.  And I can guarantee she would love my washer and dryer.





3 thoughts on “This is Not Your Grandmother’s Wash Day

  1. me says:

    Don’t you love it that your grandma is wearing a dust cap? Such an old fashioned thing! I’m sure she had to make her own. It was so old fashioned even in the 50’s.

  2. Kathy Rogers says:

    When I was little, we had a small washer but not a dryer. Mom hung all our things on lines in the backyard. I have fuzzy recollections of running up and down between the walls created by hanging sheets.

    Dry clean workout clothes? That ain’t right.

  3. Sundry says:

    Kitty – Yes, what a cute dustcap. Makes me really appreciate how easy it is to jump in a hot shower these days. Just washing her hair meant a lot of work heating water, etc.

    KathyR – We had a dryer, but hung a lot of stuff out to dry. I love the way my clothespins are now the color of an old barn, just like the ones I remember. It’s hard to find cotton line that doesn’t seem to have a little too much stretch in it though.

    The workout pants lasted a long time in spite of me washing them regularly. Weird, though.

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