Aug 24, 2016

Traditions: You're Not Going To Make Me Wash In That Tin Tub!

This man washes in a tin tub while the little girl watches.  

I remember we had a large tin bathtub that we washed in, we could sit in it as children.  It was a very long time ago.  I also remember a cousin that came down from up north and when mama told him it was time to take a bath I remember his exact words, "I'm not going to take a bath in that tin tub"! Today's post is about how far we've come and how much we take for granted. I hope you enjoy this retro post.

I remember them heating water to pour into the tin tub for a bath.  With so many to wash it wasn't unusual that more than one child bathed in the same water...(can you imagine?)

That only lasted a short while for us but I've never forgotten it. We were only in that little house long enough for our daddy to build our home.  I, being the oldest did form some good memories even in that very simple time. I posted about that house here Simple Living.

Me as a child

My great-grandparents and one set of grandparents did not want indoor plumbing.  Nope, not them so we spent most of our Summers with them and this is how we bathed.

photo credit

Oh, I did forget to tell you my great-grandparents were astounded to know that we washed (bathed) more than once a week. That is what they did way back then and it was usually on Saturday Night. Throughout the week they would wash off and use another type of tin tub they called that a foot tub. I remember them doing that.

Tin Foot Tub had a handle and was smaller than the Tin Bath Tub

My Earliest Memories. You see I have memories of first walking, taking my first steps ever, and newly walking at my grandparent's farm as well.  I can hear them now excitedly talking about me walking. My first steps were in a beautiful white home located on what was later to become a local golf course. I actually remember walking that first time on those beautiful hardwood floors.    I know this may sound strange but I actually remember those things.  I remember telling mama about the memories and she was so surprised when I explained how the house looked the furniture and all.  I was right she said and then she showed me the house it was still standing so I could see at the time.  She shook her head because I was a little younger than one year old.

I've been busy grating and chopping laundry soaps for making my homemade laundry detergent which is really a laundry soap. I grated a case of LIRIO White Laundry Soap among others.  I couldn't wait to try it because it is for whites only.  I can tell you it does clean excellently.  I really did notice a brighter cleaner whitewash.  I'm going to love using this laundry soap for whites!

Making Soap

photo credit

Sometimes we revert back to what our ancestors did and that is somewhat what I am doing in making my own laundry soap/detergent.  It saves so much money and saves you from using and wearing clothing filled with chemicals.  Now I wonder if I will ever make the soap itself just like grandma did in an old iron wash pot over an open fire?  No, but I may break down and make soap the easier way.

Speaking of laundry did you ever see the old wringer-type washing machines?  I did at my grandma's house.

Wringer Type Washing Machine

I remember my grandma's wringer machine was on a screened-in porch and she got her water from a hand pump. She heated the water on her wood-burning stove. I can't imagine the pumping she must have done to fill her washer and I recall she had a large tin tub like the bathtub I just showed you with clean water for rinsing. She had a handle to make her ringer work because I guess she didn't have this 'newfangled' electric ringer washer.  She would run that ringer and let the sudsy laundry go into that rinse water and then when finished rinsing would run through the wringer. Then off to the clothesline to hang the laundry.

I do remember her, my aunt, and mama getting their arms stuck in the ringer and of course, the clothing would get stuck often in that ringer and have to be removed.

1960s Wringer Washer

I also remember them ironing all the time!  I only iron my table linens now.  Although I do enjoy ironing I'm so grateful not to have to iron almost everything.  My mother-in-law bless her used to iron the cotton underwear and the bedsheets!  No, I can't imagine.  I do remember seeing that she had a large flat plate iron (she was wealthy).

I had to include the wood-burning stove because that is what grandma would heat the water on for those baths.  Imagine the wood cutting and chopping that had to be done. I remember my grandpa doing that a lot.  The pumping with a hand pump water to use to cook and for baths had to be a lot of work.  That stove had some mighty fine food cooked on it I can tell you that!

photo found on the internet

I was so shocked when hearing that people thought it would make them very sick if they bathed a lot in older times. We sure need to appreciate the changes that we enjoy today.  Maybe it will make us think of how fortunate we really are.  I know I need to stop and think about it.

Let's talk about the Outhouse!

Did I love visiting the grandparents?  You bet I did and I think that is why I live out in the country now because of the fun we had as little children there.

Did I like using an outhouse?  Heck no!  Spiders, ugh how I hate spiders, wasps, bees, and the big dark hole beneath you! It was a horror movie I'll tell you!

The closest thing is a Porta-John and as gross as they are still a lot better because you know where that hole ends! We had those in the strawberry fields so I became used to them, never loved them but tolerated them.

photo credit

I know a touchy subject.  Great grandparents had a small one-seater and grandparents had a fancy two-seater!  Now that was the last one grandpa built right before the house burned down he didn't want to leave it there.  They had to move and it was hard getting them to move into a home that had indoor plumbing.  They did move but he still wanted his fine outhouse, the one they had to leave behind.  

Chamber Pot

Chamber Pot you may say, what is that?  I'll tell you that is the little pot that people kept beside their bed to use at night time.  No, they didn't cook in it.  You know we're talking about living without indoor plumbing,  I can tell you they didn't use it to wash their face and hands.  Look it up here if you really don't know.  I looked it up for you.  Shhh....don't tell anybody I said this but my aunt called it the 'pee pot'....

cham·ber pot

a bowl kept in a bedroom and used as a toilet, especially at night.

photo credit

Now I'm going to go take a bubble bath and the next time I wash a load of clothes I will stop and think about how easy it is to throw a load in and just walk away! Best of all I don't have to go outside in the dark at night or fumble with some chamber pot beside the bed!  

Aren't we lucky?
Yes, we are!


  1. Great post Dolly. I had to laugh at ironing the bed sheets because we did that when I was a kid. The first thing we learned to iron was pillow cases and hankies. Then bed sheets and when my mom felt we were good enough, my dad's dress shirts for work. I really hate ironing.

    1. I'm laughing too because I guess my mama put her sheets on the bed time she took them off the line I declare I don't remember her ironing them. She may have though. :) I remember she did have us ironing daddy's shirts. I didn't like that. That was smart what your mom did to have you iron the pillow cases! Thanks Kim!

  2. Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?
    clothes can wrap around the wringer and be torn
    If it does, an article of the wash may
    wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a
    piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller .

    1. Hi Anne,
      No I personally have never because these were before my time of doing laundry. I sure did watch the grandparents though wrestle with the thing to unwind the piece.

  3. This was such a great post! I never had to wash in a tin tub but I have heard that too many baths would make you sick. I haven't tried to make homemade soap or laundry detergent. I do want to give it a try! Oh and I just started a load of laundry before this post! ha ha.. we do take for granted how easy it is!

    1. Thank you Ginger! This was my trip way back down memory lane! It is cute/funny how people thought washing would make you sic. Always so good to hear from you. If you want to try the laundry soap making it is easy just wear a mask because it can hurt your sinuses. I know what you mean I just got back into town and the first thing I had to do was put wet bathing suits and towels on to wash. I don't know what I'd do without the hand wash cycle on my washer well all of them I need!

  4. I still have my late Mum's wringer washer and it still works. It's the best thing for really dirty clothes because you can let them agitate as long as necessary to get clean. My first wading pool was Mum's tin washtub I still have a chamber pot around somewhere and about 5 oil lamps

    1. Hi Lois,
      Thank you for sharing your sweet memories with us! It is great you still have your Mum's wringer washer! That is a blessing that it still works! Love the wading pool too!
      Every detail of the things you still have remind me of my family and their things...Good to hear from you!