Rediscovering 1800s Ingenuity: Clever Tools for Household Chores

Source: Etsy

A soap saver is a small, wire or metal container that is used to hold soap. Its main function was to contain small pieces of soap that were too small to be managed by hand. .Soap was considered to be a luxury item in the 19th century. It was homemade and could be made from animal fats and lye and could be quite costly. Consequently, families looked for methods of how to use as much soap as possible. The soap saver represents the thrifty attitude towards resource management that was prevalent in household in this era. The soap saver made sure that no soap was left behind; this helped in avoiding wastage and therefore cutting on costs.

source: Etsy

How It Was Used for Laundry

Collecting Soap Scraps: In the course of the week, tiny pieces of soap that could not be grasped were collected and put into the soap saver. What would otherwise have been waste was the soap saver made it possible to use every bit of the soap.

Preparing the Laundry Tub: On laundry day, a large tub or basin was filled with hot water. The soap saver with the soap scraps was dipped and swirled in the water. The movement was used to mix water with the soap to form lathers which were crucial in the cleaning process of the clothes.

Washing Clothes: The clothes were then soaked in water with soap. It could be used to scrub some areas that are very dirty on the clothes or it could just be left in the tub to dispense more soap. This way, the soap scraps did not escape while at the same time using every bit of the soap.

Rinsing and Drying: In the next step, the clothes were rinsed in water to ensure that all the soap is washed off the clothes. The soap saver, which had previously contained soap scraps, was put aside to dry until the next use.