Article: A Common-sense Laundry

By Mavis Thorpe Clark

Published in Australian Home Beautiful, June 1946

Paid £1/11

Even in these enlightened days, the laundry is not treated with the regard it deserves. In quite modern houses it is often just a cubby-hole with a couple of troughs and a copper, and an odd shelf or two, poked at the end of the verandah or in some odd corner.

The average housewife, especially if she has young children, spends a lot of time in her laundry. Its thoughtful planning and furnishing not only makes the washing easier, but improves the day-by-day appearance of the entire house. The laundry should be designed to accommodate the household wash from the moment it is just a bundle of soiled clothes until, clean and fresh again, it is put away in linen closet or drawer. In so many homes the washing, after coming in off the line, decorates the dining-room table or the tea-waggon until time can be found to iron or air it.

To begin with, the wash-house should be big enough. By that I don't mean big enough to be tool-shed and box-room as well. The wash-house should be nothing but the wash-house. The 7ft. x 8ft. room, a convenient size, is indicated in the accompanying diagram.

It should contain an electric washer or gas-copper. The economically-minded housewife who thinks she saves money by having a wood copper, in whose fire-
box she can dispose of the overflow of household rubbish, is misguided. What she saves in money, she loses in time, cheerfulness and backache. Two troughs are generally sufficient and both should be supplied with hot and cold water. If finance permits, an electric wringer or one of the new driers is a real labor-saving investment.

On one wall there should be a hinged ironing-table (A in diagram) that can be let down or put up at will thus giving ample elbow space during actual washing hours. By having the ironing-table in the laundry the ironing can sometimes be managed in odd moments and there is no need for that wild rush to tidy the kitchen-table if an unexpected friend drops in. A skirt and sleeve board (B and C in diagram) should also be fittings on the wall with the power-point so placed that, with a long or expanding flex, the iron will reach both boards and table. From the ceiling, either above the ironing-table or at the side of it, should be suspended a clothes-horse - in this case, in the form of a number of rigid horizontal bars - that can be so raised or lowered that it is within convenient reach of the ironer while standing at the table. In this way, as the clothes are ironed, they can immediately start airing, and the horse can be pulled up out of the way when not in use.

There should be a good-sized built-in dirty-clothes bin (D) and the clean clothes-bin should be a basket-trolley on wheels which, when the clothes are wet, can be wheeled out on to the drying-green. That is another important point. The door from the wash-house to the drying-green should be direct, with the least possible step. Steps or a ramp should be avoided at all costs, even to the extent of having the wash-house detached from the main building.

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Article as it appeared in the magazine.

"A Common-sense Laundry" Australian Home Beautiful, page 27.

The floor should be of concrete with a concave raised platform, containing an outlet hole for any overflow, immediately under the copper. As a concrete floor is not 
good to stand on, a wooden grating should be supplied for the feet. Care should be taken that troughs and table are of a height to suit the worker. Two windows should be provided-one above the ironing-table and one above the troughs. In the diagram is a cupboard at the side of the troughs (F), with a number of shelves to contain soaps and washing powders, while the space 
under the troughs should be a cupboard for the bucket and starch dish. Above the dirty-clothes bin is an elevated cupboard (E) for the iron and ironing-blanket, 
etc.

The paintwork should be washable and attractive. Why so many laundries are frowsy-looking, even dirty, is because, right at the beginning, they are painted in such uninspiring colors.

Apart from any mechanical aids, such as the electric wringer or drier, these fittings, put in when the building is being constructed, would not be very costly. It is all a matter of planning the wash-house as carefully as you would the lounge, giving particular regard to position.

In America a lead has been given to the more serious consideration of the laundry by a firm that produces special equipment known as Bendix. It issues a series of plans showing how the laundry can be linked with the service quarters in various ways, and not treated as the cinderella of the house or a sort of necessary evil. One of these plans is shown here.