I have been doing a lot of extra hand washing of laundry the last few days to make up for the weeks of rain we have just been through. Today I finished up by scrubbing and scrubbing an old, off white cotton polo shirt. I was getting pretty tired as using a washboard can be pretty rigorous exercise sometimes and my elbow was aching (washboard elbow anyone?) from all I had already done. That darn shirt was just not coming as clean as I wanted it to. Then I remembered something I had read in one of the Foxfire books. A family in one of the narratives mentioned washing their laundry in the creek and then boiling it for fifteen minutes before hanging it to dry. I figured that those Appalachian folks had gone to all of that extra trouble for a good reason as boiling laundry is certainly not easy in an already taxing life. It must have done something great for their laundry!
So I decided to give it a try. I boiled that shirt for fifteen minutes on top of the stove and it worked! The shirt looked much cleaner and whiter afterwords. I was delighted and happily hung this very clean shirt to dry in the sun.
I just thought I would pass on this little Appalachian-gleaned tip. It is so fun trying these simple measures for myself and discovering through personal experience that they really work. Perhaps you would like to try this one too.
From the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia,
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