One-Hundred-Year Trips for Removing Mud Stains

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, February 25, 1912:  Went to Sunday School this afternoon. It was exceedingly mean walking though, but managed to get through it by going the railroad.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The Susquehanna, Bloomsburg, and Berwick railroad tracks crossed the Muffly farm, so Grandma could walk the tracks to get to McEwensville when the roads were very muddy.

Did Grandma get any mud on her clothes?

A hundred years ago cookbooks often contained a hints and helps section. Here are tips in a 1912 cookbook for removing mud from clothes:

Mud Stains (Colored Goods)—Let the mud dry thoroughly, and then remove as much as possible by brushing. When fully dry, cover with a mixture of salt and flour and place in a dry place.

If the stains are extensive place the garment in a large paper flour sack with a quantity of salt and flour well mixed, shake vigorously, tie up the sack, and allow it to hang behind for a few days. Afterwards shake out the dust and press.

Mud Stains (White Goods)—Dip the mud stains in kerosene before putting them in boiler. Add kerosene to the boiling water.

Calumet Raking Powder Reliable Recipes (1912)

Whew, can you imagine using kerosene to remove stains? . . . and I don’t have a wood or coal stove that I can hang the bag of stained clothes behind.

The methods for removing mud have really changed over the years. I’d just put some Shout stain remover on the spot and throw it into the laundry.

2 Responses

  1. Easier laundry and probably less risk of mud as well. Lots to be grateful for.

    • One of the things that has changed the most over the past one hundred years is how we do laundry. It used to be incredibly tedious and complicated–and sometimes I wonder whether the clothes were really clean when they finished.

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