Domestic cleaning has been one of the oldest jobs in history; a task usually done by the women in the household.
Just before the “housework revolution” in late 19th Century and early 20th Century, domestic cleaning was a harsh physical task.
The job of bringing water from the pump was exhausting by itself and it needed to be done at least 8 or 10 times a day, so families could have enough water for any household tasks, from cleaning to cooking.
The smoke from coal or wood burning stoves would make walls black and leave carpets full of dirt and debris. So, on a daily basis, all walls and floors and windows had to be washed and scrubbed.
Before the invention of washing machines, doing the laundry was the “monster” task; one that all housewives would hate the most. Clothes needed to be soaked the day before, boiled, starched, rinsed… Homemade lye soap was used, which would irritate women’s hands considerably.
Hard and exhausting domestic cleaning chores started to see light at the end of 19th Century. Do you know that the carpet sweeper was invented in the 1880s? and the mop in 1893? The electric iron was invented in 1903 and the electric vacuum cleaner in 1907. The use of these appliances didn’t extended to all households at the beginning, being only rich families the ones enjoying the improvements. It wasn’t until 1920s and 1930s, when the use of these commodities started to spread, that we could talk about a real revolution in domestic cleaning.
What do you think? Have you find a new love in your washing machine after reading this article?