Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Homestead Series Make Your Own Laundry Soap
If you remember the 1950's , advertisements for laundry products inundated the lives of women . The shelf full of products awaited all manner of special treatment situations. The ads made every women feel guilty or inadequate for not treating the laundry by their new scientific methods- a field in which women were most often uneducated and uninformed.
Remember when Cheer became blue . Some new formula that would get your clothes whiter and brighter . Nothing new really. They just took the Blueing which was used in the first rinse of wringer washing methods and put it into the box - to be convenient for the new automatic machines.
What's blueing you ask? Cubes of compressed washing soda with a synthetic blue dye added. The blue was an optical illusion to make the whites 'seem' whiter. The washing soda alone with the soap did the work.
To make the laundry even cleaner some borax was added to soften the water making more room for dirt in the water.
Filler was added to give weight and bulk . It made you seem like you were getting more cleaning power .Not really . The filler could be peanut shells sawdust or other ground plant fibre . They did serve another purpose...to absorb the oils and grease that the soap and soda released into the water. Although , the oils would not get stuck in the clothes again as they were already stuck on the soap molecules .
And that fresh clean scent that tries but never really does very well in imitating nature . Perfumes . Only the clothesline puts in the scent you are looking for. Although , for a few decades , people lost touch with the smell of fresh air caught in the laundry and couldn't recognize it . The company told them what nature smelled like ..
What of all those beautiful clouds of suds ? Quite simply...more special effects . Sudsing agents had nothing to do with the cleaning of clothes. They just made the chore prettier to do . A little glycerin added to the mix made the suds last longer. Most people washed until the suds collapsed . Suds that lasted longer meant that the clothes would be agitated longer before the collapse. The agitation did the work not the suds.
When you take away the additions , you are left with what you see in the video .
Much of the time , Mum purchased laundry detergent based on the free gift in the box . Hand towels , facecloths and glasses made their way into the house via the detergent box . People eventually complained that they were being cheated as the items took up too much room . Really the space sacrificed was 'peanuts' and amounted to one load on average since you had to use so much anyway .
Probably an evil rumour started by soap companies to increase their profit margin . We were better off with the free gift in the box .
Check for videos of those magical laundry detergents from your early days . They are a real laugh now.