From http://www.fascinatingwomanhood.net/ Feb 2005 newsletter:
When I was 16 years old my sister, Maree taught school in Pinyon, Arizona, an almost non-existent town in the pine country of northern Arizona. Her contract was to teach all eight grades. In her case this included very small children to cowboys over six foot tall. The schoolhouse was quite large, made of logs, had enough windows, with an enchanting atmosphere about it. Its only heating system was a pot bellied stove in the middle of the only room, and its only water supply a small mountain stream about 50 feet down the hill. My sister and her three small children lived in a two room house quite close to the schoolhouse. She drew water for her household from the same small stream. Her only heat for her household was the cooking stove in her kitchen, her only light a coal oil lantern.
I occasionally stayed with her – to keep her company and give her a much needed lift. I would often stay a week or so, each time having a taste of true primitive living. To wash the laundry I took a bucket to the small stream, filled it with water, carried it to the house and put it in a large cooking pot to heat on the stove. This required several trips to have enough to wash clothes. In the wintertime when the ground was covered with snow, I filled the bucket with snow and put it on the stove to melt, then heat. Since snow is filled with air, it required twice as many trips for the laundry. When the water was hot I scrubbed the clothes with home made soap on a scrubbing board that was placed in the tub of warm water.
I knew exactly how to do this as I had done it many times at my grandmothers house in St. Johns. When the clothes were scrubbed and the soapy water wrung out, I placed them in tub of clean warm water, rinsed them, wrung them again with my bare hands, then pinned them on a clothesline to dry. When dry I took the clothes off the lines, sprinkled them lightly with water, rolled them in tight little rolls and put them in a basket ready for tomorrows ironing. The tremendous amount of work required to do the laundry required strict rules of living. The children were given a Saturday night bath and allowed a set of clean clothing, which they were to wear for a week. If they got them dirty they had to suffer the consequences by continuing to wear them the rest of the week. You can be sure they were exceedingly careful to keep their clothes clean.
If you are serious about ending your laundry problems I suggest you begin by limiting each child to two sets of clothing. They are to wear one set for one full week. They must try to keep their clothes clean but if they don’t they must suffer the consequences by wearing them dirty. No fair letting them wash their own clothes in an automatic. That will not solve this problem. The only other alternative is to let them scrub their clothes on a scrubbing board with a bar of soap, wring them out by hand, rinse them the same way then hang them on the clothesline to dry. They will get by without the arduous task of hauling water in a bucket but if they cooperate they will learn valuable lessons. One of the best ways to train children in anything is to let them suffer the consequences of their behavior. You can be sure that anyone who follows this method will find a way to keep their clothes clean. Your laundry will suddenly be reduced to a couple of batches a week that you can do at your leisure.
You may want to give them a demonstration of just how to do laundry in this way. They will probably be intensely interested in this historical method of washing clothes. When washing clothes on a scrubbing board it is best to use pure bar soap. The best is Fells Naptha Soap, which is almost like homemade soap. You can find where to order this soap on the internet. Do a search for Fells Naptha Soap and it will appear. You can buy a scrubbing board at most hardware stores.
(I was surfing the net today and thought that someone here might find this interesting.)