Washing clothes and bedding. The task almost as old as our human civilization. Today it is easy and effortlessly for even the most lazy housewifes - after all, you just have to load laundry into a special machine and press the START button. But how they dealt with this task before the invention of the simplest laundry washing machine, which is until... the nineteenth century?
The answer is simple – it's watercourses. All possible channels of flowing water - rivers, streams and anabranches. And yes, this is not fake story - laundry was first done in watercourses, by letting the (most often) cold water carry away all the dirt, stains and bad smells.
The clothes were usually rubbed, twisted and slapped against flat rocks to remove the impurities. People also used wooden bats or clubs, and – of course – scrubbing borad which was common across Europe and were also used by settlers in North America and Australia. More or less clean garments were then twisted to remove the water and hung up on poles, trees or clotheslines to air dry.
It is worth noting that in many poor and developing countries the laundry is still done the same way. People (to be more precise, usually women) most often did laundry together, treating it as good opportunity to talk and help each other. We can only imagine that talking about men and rumors was very common.
But what if there is no river or a stream at the village? Indeed, in many African countries (and not only) it still happens quite often. Well, if there was no watercourses, laundry was done in water-tight vats or vessels. The other way is to fill a large metal cauldrons with fresh water and heat it over a fire – of course hot water is more effective in removing dirt.