remember mom doing this never asked why, laundry?? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

As soon a perma press fabric came in, out went the laundry starch and the piles of ironing. When I was a child I remember mom using this stuff but I never learned how or why or exactly how much, she would also sprinkle all the laundry (shirts) roll them up and put them into the laundry basket before she would proceed with the ironing??? I feel that I should know how to do this and that I might be able to rescue much loved limp shirts etc. How do you use laundry starch and what do I use it for. Also I love the smell of shirts ironed and starched with niagra stray starch, reminds me of Dad and my brothers getting ready for church when I was a little girl.

-- ronda (, July 21, 2001


The reason your mom did this was to moisten the shirts thereby creating a little steam when ironing. The steam makes the wrinkles go away.

-- Ann Markson (, July 21, 2001.

And the starch helped keep the wrinkles from coming back.

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 21, 2001.

This old hermit was startled by the posts subject! I have heard about indoor plumbing and such and I suspect most of you have it; but has laundry methods got so advanced that starch is a foreign object? I dress pretty simple, levis and tee shirts, don,t own nothing that need starching or ironing; no where to go to need such. I guess I am just getting old....

-- mitch hearn (, July 21, 2001.

Hi Ronda,

Your post took me back! I remember sprinkling, starching and ironing all those bushel baskets of clothes! Back then you ironed EVERYTHING...pillow cases, handkies, everything!

The reason you sprinkled the clothes was because they didn't have steam irons. The damp clothes ironed easier. You almost had to do it keep from scorching the clothes too. You would sprinkle the clothes and then roll them up so the moisture would penetrate all the cloth. If you had only a few things, you would sprinkle as you iron. Most people had an ironing day. You would sprinkle all the clothes then put them in a plastic bag so they wouldn't dry out. If you didn't get to them you would put them in the refrigerator so they would not mildew. Boy oh boy if you didn't get back to them the heck you would pay from Momma for letting the clothes mildew. They had to be washed, hung and resprinkled.

The starch you can still get today. It comes in a liquid and you can add it to the rinse water. Directions are on the lable.

Best of luck!

-- Karen (, July 21, 2001.

... and ironing sterilised things. Particularly important if people used farm work shirts several days in a row. Some people cut way back on ironing (I'm one), but one thing you should definitely still iron is handkerchiefs. Or if someone is getting boils or pimples, iron everything you can that's been washed with their clothes, and put disinfectant in the rinse water for the rest. Line hanging in sunshine does a good job too, but ironing is guaranteed.

-- Don Armstrong (, July 21, 2001.

Haven't really thought about this subject for years. Mom sprinkled the clothes in a basket they went. They didn't get to sit at all. She used to iron for the neighbors. Widow with 9 kids. As I think back I can remember that basket of clothes she kept dry in her room. When one of us girls said we were sick and stayed home from school it was waiting for us. If she didn't really think we were to sick to go to school out it came and got sprinkled and we got to iron it. Needless to say we didn't miss to much school. Smart woman, got the clothes ironed, kept us in school, couldn't fool her. Thanks for bringing back a great memory.

-- Barb (, July 22, 2001.

Ironing. My mom used to iron everything!!! One thing I always found funny. You washed the clothes (got them wet), hand them out to dry, sprinkle them to get them wet and then iron them to get them dry. Who thought up that plan??? :-) When I iron (HAHAHAHA) I iron right from the washing machine, hang on a plastic hanger and let them finish drying. Cuts out the middle man / women.

-- Mary R. (, July 22, 2001.

My Mama used to sprinkle my Dad's shirts, roll them up, and put in the the frig until she ironed them. Now she doesn't iron anything! She won't buy anything that needs ironing! I can remember my Grandmama ironing everything including Grandaddy's undershorts!!

You may have trouble finding liquid starch. I went to 3 stores before I found Linit starch for my crocheting. They have a website at

-- Cindy in NY (, July 22, 2001.

Must be a regional thing, everyone irons and starches their jeans here. My kids use the liquid starch that they then put into a spray bottle. The biggest difference between the olden days of ironing and the new are the cheapo irons. Yes steam irons are wonderful, but the 10$ ones from Wallmart are so lightweight you really can't iron with them efficently. I have a heavy duty commercial iron, which makes ironing fast! It's no wonder gals complain about ironing, when you set your lightweight iron down on the board and it falls over! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, July 22, 2001.

Yes, Vicki, guess it's regional...I'm in Texas too and we starch those jeans. Gotta look good out on the dance floor!

-- Pat (, July 23, 2001.

I iron dresses and shirts. Not pillowcases or sheets. Will do a tablecloth once in a while.

I always keep a spray bottle handy full of water. I spray each and every time I pull the garment to reposition it on the ironing board. It does far better than sprinkling and rolling the clothes, and far better than the steam feature on the iron. No, I dont starch. I aint crowding any dance floor anyhow. LOL- I just want to look respectable in case anyone stops by for eggs when I'm dancing in from tending to the chickens.

-- daffodyllady (, July 23, 2001.

Mary R., I love your method of ironing out of the washer. I wish I'd heard or thought of it sooner! Thanks for posting.

-- Dee Jarvis (, August 02, 2001.

Wow....I just had to contribute. I remember my mom and grandma with an ironrite...a big contraption with a roller that rolled like a pro. I also remember wire hangers that mom used to put inside the pant legs of dads pants to make the crease. How about those curtain stretchers. Those darn things hurt. Mom used to stretch curtain on them and let them dry in the basement. They looked like carpet laying strips with tacks on them but attactched in a square. She used to use bluing in white clothes to keep them white...I remember my granny let me play with a little blue square in the sink...she was washing her granny know the ones that came to the knee. Funny the things you remember after all these years! (how about those socks being darned?)

-- Granmums (, September 09, 2001.

I enjoyed this post. We had one of those contraptions with the big roller mentioned in the post above. It was called a MANGLE. We sprinkled our clothes when I was a girl. We attached a 'sprinkler head' to a bottle that looked like a pop bottle. Actually I think the 'sprinkler' was the right size to use on a pop bottle. Sprayers were unheard of! I think the 'sprinkler heads' are still sold in Lehmans's catalogs.

-- Renee at Briar Creek (, October 17, 2001.

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