Sunday, August 3, 2014


Just after 1855 when Amana was first established women had to carry in wooden wash baskets, the dirty laundry of the men who worked in the field , feedlot, and animal stalls. The streets and yards were muddy so there was lots to be washed often. Rainwater was caught in a cistern, pumped and heated in large copper boilers for laundry to be done. Monday was always wash day, done by the community kitchen and garden workers who would adjust chores to do laundry in the community washhouse. Laundry was soaped and scrubbed on washboards, wrung out and rinsed over and over. It was then hung on an outdoor line or in a dry attic if it rained.. Lye soap was made by the local soapworks from ashes, liquid lye and lard cooked for 3 days, then poured into barrels or forms.  This "SCHMIERSEIF" was made for the laundry. Other soaps were made for bathing and facial use. After 1932, each house had its own wash house located near the main house, and the community washhouse system met its end.

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