A Present for a Servant-Maid: Washing Linen
Next to being expert in buying and Dressing of Victuals, there is nothing so commendable in a Servant as the well and quick washing and getting up of Linen. That you may not therefore be wanting in so valuable a Qalification, I have taken the the Pains to give you some Instructions, which I doubt not but will be readily followed by as many of you as are ambitious of acquiring the Reputation of being good House-wives, or wish to give Satisfaction to those you serve.
Directions how to manage Linnen for the Wash.
How to wash Linen.] As soon as any Linen is left off, look it carefully over, and mend whatever little Cracks or Rents you may find in it, for otherwise they will grow larger when they come into the Water; then fold it up with the same Smoothness you would do if clean, and put it into the foul Bag, that it get no more Soil, Linen, where bad Housewives have the Management of it, is as much worn out by being thrown carelessly about, as by the Wearing. If there happen to be any Stains of Ink, Red-Wine, or any Sort of Fruit, you must be sure to get them clean out before you begin to wash.
How to get Spots or Ink out of Linen.] Take the Linen and let that Part of it that the Ink has fallen upon, lie all Night in Vinegar and Salt, the next Day rub the Spots well with it, as if you were washing in Water, then Put fresh Vinegar and Salt, and let it lie another Night, and the next Day rub it again, and all the Spots will disappear.
How to get the Stains of Fruit out of Linen.] Rub all the Stains Very well with Butter, then put the Linen into scalding hot Milk; let it lie and steep there till it is cool, and rub the stained Places in the Milk, till you see they are quite out.
Water.] Some People are so inconsiderate as to wash with Water when it first comes in, which being always thick, and very often yellow, gives the Linen a muddy Cast: Be sure, therefore, to save Water enough for your Washing, that it may stand and settle three or four Days at least before you use it. If it happens to be a harsh Water, take a Chump of Wood, and burn it on the Hearth, then put the Ashes into a Piece of Linen Rag, tie it close, and throw it into the Water, which will make it as soft as Milk, and save Soap.
Soap.] Be careful in chusing the oldest Soap you can; for that which is new-made not only spoils the Colour of the Linen, but also does not go so far.
Washing.] See that your Pot or Copper be nicely clean, that it may not soil or grease the Water; while it is heating, sort your Clothes, laying the Small in one Heap, and the Great in another: The Coarse must also be separated from those that are finer.When you have done this, rub them all well over with Soap, especially those Places you find most dirty, then put the Fine first into the Tub, and pour the Water on them ofa moderate Heat ; for if it be too hot, it scalds the Dirt into the Linen: Pash it well in the Water before you rub it: In fine Linen you will not have Occasion to rub very hard, for without it is more than ordinarily dirty, the Strength of the Lather, and the Motion you give it, will have all the Effect of rubbing, and wear it less out. When it is well washed, take it out of the Tub, and lay it on your Table or Dresser, on a clean Cloth, which you must spread for that Purpose, to prevent any fresh Soil from coming in it, then put in your coarse Linen with some more hot Water, and rub that with greater Strength than the fine; then lay it on the Dresser. and throw away your Suds, without you have any Stair Cloths, Dresser Cloths, or such kind of Things to wash, if you have, you must save it in another Tub, in order to wash them when you have done the others. You must now soap all your _Linen over again, pour Water as before, but something hotter, and wash it well; if it is not very dirty, two Lathers will suffice, but if it has been worn long, you must give it three.
Boiling.] Soap it slightly when you put it in to boil, and mix a good deal of the best Stone Blue with your Water: Pash it often about while it is boiling and then pour it altogether into Your Tub; Let it stand till it grows cool enough for your Hands to bear it, and then wash it well out, taking care that not the least Smear of Soap remains; for if you leave any, it will look like Grease when it Comes to be dry. Throw every Piece as you Wash it into a Tub full of clean Pump Water well blued, and when you have done, wrince it thoroughly to take out all the Suds, then hang it directly on Lines, which you must be careful to keep nicely clean. As soon as it is moderately dry, take it down, fold it smooth, clap it, and let it lie till you iron it, which ought to be as soon as possible, for Linen is apt to turn yellow by lying damp.
Ironing.] Whether you make use of Box, or Flat Irons, let them be kept very bright and smooth: If the latter, they must be well rubbed on a Piece of Matt, and afterwards on Flannel every Time they are taken from the Fire. Use them as hot as you can without Danger of singeing; to prevent which, always try them first on a Rag. If the Linen happens to be too dry, sprinkle it with a little fair Water, fold it again, and let it lie together clapp'd down, that it may be all over of an equal Dampness. Fine Linen should be ironed somewhat more damp than the coarse, in order to make it stiff, and look like new.
Starching.] Muslin, and every thin or old Cambrick and Lawn require starching, or they will look like Rags, and not last clean a Moment. Use nothing but the best Poland Starch, make it very thin, and mix a small Quantity of Powder-blue with it, and when it is boiled almost enough, put in a little Piece of Isinglass to clear it ; then dip your Muslins, into it, just warm, and clap them between your Hands till they are dry enough to iron: To prevent them From shining, take a Piece of white Paper and lay over them, and rub your Iron over that. You must always take this Way with Laces or Edgings, or any thing that is flourished or spotted, to keep the Work from being too much flatted.
How to wash Silk Stocking.] Make a strong Lather with Soap, and pretty hot, then lay the Stockings on a Table, and take a Piece of very coarse rough Cloth, roll it up, and rub them with it as hard as you can, turning them several times from one Side to the other, till they have passed through three Lathers; then wrince them in three or four Waters, till not the least Tincture of the Soap remains and when you find them quite clear, hang them up to dry, without ringing, wrong side outwards. When they are about half dry, take them down and pull them out with your Hands into Shape, let them lye a while, and then smooth them with your Iron on the wrong Side.