Days Gone By - stories from the past

SATURDAY SECRET: Washing white lace was very difficult in the 1890s as these directions reveal

In the 1890s, young girls often had dresses made of lace like the girl in the picture and I’m sure it was difficult keeping them clean. Here are two recipes from the past to clean them from an 1890s book.


To Wash White Lace No. 1

First, the soiled laces should be carefully removed from the garment and folded a number of times, keeping the edges evenly together, then basted with a coarse thread without a knot in the end. Now put them in a basin of luke-warm suds. After soaking a half hour, rub them carefully between the hands, renewing the suds several times: then, after soaping them well, place them in cold water and let them come to a scald. Take them from this and rinse them thoroughly in like-warm water, blued a very little, then dip them into a very thin, clear starch, allowing a teaspoonful of starch to a pint of water, so thin that it will be scarcely perceptible. Now roll them in a clean, fresh towel without taking out the bastings; let them lie for an hour or more; iron over several thicknesses of flannel, taking out the bastings of one piece at a time. and ironing on the wrong side with a moderately-hot-iron; the laces should be nearly dry, and the edges and points pulled gently with the fingers into shape, before ironing.

Girl in white lace dress (Library of Congress) (2)Young girl in white lace dress ca. 1900 (Detroit Publishing Company Library of Congress)

To Wash White Thread Lace No. 2

To wash white lace, cover a bottle with linen, stitched smoothly to fit the shape. Wind the lace about it, basting both edges to the linen. Wash on the bottle, soaping and rinsing well, then boil in soft water. Dry in the sun. Clip the basting threads and do not iron. If carefully done, it will look like new lace.

Discover many more household tips and recipes from the past in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past  Now in paperback, makes a great gift!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past (Paperback)


By (author):  Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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One comment

  1. Laurie Harris Norman

    A woman’s job is never done!

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