A reader, Eva Girl, requested I do some research on how laundry was done back in the day for my Everyday Vintage Life posts. I had pondered doing this topic, prior to Eva Girl's request, but initially thought it would be redundant with Destination 1940's posts on laundry, specifically the post Blue Monday. (Unrelated, I do hope you recover quickly Jitterbug.)
I do realize Jitterbug's post doesn't address hand washing clothes, but I think all her laundry posts do such a great job of explaining the history and the task itself that I feel there isn't much to add. With that, I do realize there is plenty of us who wonder how to translate this history into something useful for us today, so I've started putting together a post on how I hand wash items. Yes, I know, not historical, but most of our hand washing today is for delicates, vintage items and stockings - not every bit of clothing we own.
While I'm compiling this post, here is a book Eva Girl found to tide you over on that topic to feed some of your curiosity: Household Engineering: Scientific Management in the Home (1920). The section on laundry starts on pg. 211. Its been digitally archived as a Google book, so it is free for you to flip through and download, but shall we look at some interesting bits together?
Since our last Everyday Vintage was on dish washing, I thought you would get a kick out of this portable dish washing machine.
Both of these drying stations are quite clever, though I really like the one on the right.
This is pretty much the technique I use to mop my floors. I gave up my mop years ago and have never looked back.