Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘washboard’

How to Use a Washboard

Columbus Washboard Company Welcome Sign

Columbus Washboard Company Welcome Sign

During my recent trip to Columbus Washboard Factory in Logan, Ohio, one of the highlights of the visit was discovering that part of their mission is to send free washboard kits to members of the armed services. This kit includes: a washtub, washboard, soap, clothesline, clothes pins, foot powder when available, and a set of instructions on “How to Use a Washboard”.

For some of you this instruction list will bring back memories of the past, while for others it may seem rather humorous compared to washing methods today. Notice the special suggested order for items to be washed. Not sure if I completely agree with this order, but it was the given instruction list. Maybe you will discover you have been washing things in the wrong order for years. Hope you enjoy the list!

Washboard kit being used by a member of the armed services.

Washboard kit being used by a member of the armed services.

Before you begin, there is a reminder that it is okay to wash laundry in cold water.

1) Put water in the tub until 3/4 full.

2) Put underwear into the water to soak.

3) Rest the soap bar at the top of the board.

4) Rub underwear over soap and then rub item vigorously on the metal rub surface. Repeat step 4 until item is clean.

Dubl Handi Washboard with two different rubbing surfaces

Dubl Handi Washboard with two different rubbing surfaces

5) Put shirts in water and repeat step 4 to clean.

6) Wash pants the same way.

7) Last item to wash would be your socks. Allow them to soak and then repeat step 4 many times.

8) Do not discard the water. Soak your feet for 20 minutes, it will feel sooo good!

9) Dry your feet, apply foot powder if available, clean socks and boots.

10) Discard dirty water, refill bucket and rinse items until no soap remains.

11) Wring out clothing items and pin on clothesline to dry.

12) We hope your laundry days are warm and breezy, and that you all come home safely – soon!

This list was developed by Columbus Washboard Factory, 14 Gallagher Ave, Logan, OH 43138.



Blowin’ in the Wind

"Stick dolls" - aka clothespins

“Stick dolls” – aka clothespins

“Gran, I found some real, stick dolls.” Jenny ran into the room proudly carrying a flowered bag. “Can I play with them?” Five-year-old Jenny was spending the weekend with Gran for the first time ever, so she anxiously explored every nook and cranny of Gran’s house.

“Play with them for a while, but later you can help me use those stick dolls. Actually those are clothespins that I need when I wash clothes. Not many people use them anymore, but I still enjoy hanging my clothes outside to dry. Bring that bag with you and we can hang the clothes I just washed on the line outside.”

When they went outside, Gran first washed off the clothesline with a damp cloth. No sense in putting clean clothes on a dirty line. Then Gran showed Jenny how to put the clothes on the clothesline using the “stick dolls”. Jenny watched with fascination as she handed Gran clothespin after clothespin.

The clothes on the line told the neighbors a lot about the family. You could easily tell when a baby was born, how much the children were growing, and even if someone was sick.

Gran explained how she liked to hang the washing on the clothesline in order : whites, shirts, pants, and towels. Shirts needed to be hung by the bottoms and not the shoulders so they were easier to iron. If you had two lines, you always hung the quilts, sheets and towels on the outside line so the neighbors couldn’t see the underclothes blowing in the wind.

Mom hangs up clothes to dry. (Mural by C.M. Scott)

Mom hangs up clothes to dry. (Mural by C.M. Scott)

Once they pinned all the clothes on the line, Jenny’s questioning eyes looked at Gran,” Now, how do they get dry?”

“Well, Jenny, when we put a pole under the line to push it up higher, the wind will blow on them and make them dry. If we leave them out here for a little while, most of them should dry quickly.”

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

With that Jenny and Gran went back in the house and sat down at the kitchen table. There they enjoyed fresh strawberry shortcake with whipped topping. While they ate, they decorated a recipe holder for Jenny’s mom made with a plastic fork and spoon in a small flower pot filled with sand. It would soon be Mother’s Day, so Jenny felt proud to have something special for her mom.

After a while, Jenny said, “Do you think those clothes are dry yet?”

Since a gentle breeze had blown the clothes dry, Gran took the clothespins off and handed a couple shirts to Jenny so she could see how they dried. Jenny held them close and took a deep breath. “The wind must smell good because these shirts smell better than Snuggle. Drying clothes like this is hard work, Gran. Someone should give you a clothes dryer for Mother’s Day.”

Gran smiled and rolled her eyes, “Next time you’re over, I’ll show you how to use the washboard.”

Coming soon” A story about the history of the washboard and its many uses.


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