In the 1930s and 1940s, many of the household chores that we do in a short time today were much more difficult and sometimes took all day. Washing clothes now is pretty easy – all you have to do is put the clothes in a washing machine, press a button, and then you can go do something else with your day. It might take less than an hour of labor. Before washing machines, however, doing laundry took much long. Everything had to be done by hand, from pumping the water to making soap.

Families usually designated one day of the week for washing clothes, because it would often take them all day to accomplish the task. Clothes had to be scrubbed in extra hot water with soap made from lye, which was quite irritating to skin. Then the clothes had to be rinsed and hung on a clothesline to dry. When the weather was nice, this would only take a few hours. If the weather was cold, though, the clothes might freeze, and would have to be dried next to the fire inside.