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Keeping the family clothing, sheets and towels clean was a tough job and washday took the best part of a whole day. Most families now have automatic washing machines but the oldest people will remember big baskets of laundry done by hand. 

Running water was not always available and even if it was, it was rarely hot. Those raised in the 1950s and 60s might have used a twin tub which included a wringer or a spinner. It had to be attached to a tap and drained into the sink or another outlet. 

Getting laundry dry was a mammoth task for most of the year in Ireland.


  • Was a certain day dedicated to washing?

  • How was the water heated?  

  • What soap/soap powder was used for washing?

  • In what order was the washing undertaken?  

  • How were the collars and the grubby bits of clothing cleaned?

  • What was used to whiten the shirts and sheets?

  • How was the hot washing handled?

  • How was the excess water wrung out of the laundry?

  • How were nappies washed?

  • Where was the washing hung to dry –in summer /in winter? 

  • Do you remember the iron?  

  • Were certain items of clothing starched? 

If you would like this information in PDF format to download or print please click HERE.