Friday, September 21, 2012


I am not particularly fond of doing laundry.  I am not particularly fond of cleaning anything.  But I am particularly fond of clean clothes and clean houses, so I clean.


My mother-in-law once told me she loved doing laundry.  It is satisfying in that you start with a huge pile of dirty things.  Then at the end of the process you have a small stack of clean and tidy things.  More satisfying than cleaning toilets I guess.


For some reason I tend to wash on the weekends.  When I worked or when the kids were in school it made sense.  Now it is a habit.


When we lived in Tonga and Samoa laundry was a different thing all together.  You would fill a large tub with water and soak the clothes.  Then each item was removed and scrubbed.  You could purchase a long rectangular bar of soap, about a foot long.  And each time you did laundry you would cut off a hunk to use. 

First lay out the dirty item on a rock.  Scrub it with the soap.  If there is obvious dirt, use a small handful of coconut fibers as a scrubber.  Wad the clothing up and hit it a few times with a large, smooth stick. Rinse and repeat. 

When we got to Tonga we bought a wash board.  These are not for making old time music.   If you have never seen one try here.  A washboard is a piece of corrugated metal that is encased in wood with two feet .  You hold it with the feet in the water and then rub the clothing against the metal bumps to scrub it clean.  This is a step up from the handful of coconut fibers.  And from the stick on the rock.

The clean clothes are then draped over bushes to dry.  In some cases they were placed over a single strand of barbed wire that was strung between two houses.  If you push down gently they stay in place and don't blow away.  Much faster than clothes pins!


Perhaps you can see why I like my new washer and dryer.  They are even on pedestals so I don't have to bend over very far.  It uses less water than the old fashioned method and less electricity than all but the newest models.  You have to see how the rest of the world operates to appreciate how lucky we are.  Modern technology.  Ain't it grand?

1 comment:

  1. We are very lucky to have such conveniences, especially after reading your description of how you did laundry as many people have and still do in many parts of the world. I remember my mother had a washboard with glass vs. metal. I too like laundry best when it's done.