As promised here are some more instructions that would have been passed to the trainee lady’s maid.
To keep Silk from staining in Washing
HEAT some rain water in a sauce-pan till it is pretty hot, then put into some Castile soap, and dissolve it well. Take it off the fire, and when it is almost cold sprinkle in it a small quantity of fuller’s earth, and then scour your silks with it. Don’t suffer them to be on heaps, but spread them, and clap them between dry cloths, and they will be as fresh as when new.
To keep Linen not used from receiving any Damage
WHEN you have washed and well dried it, fold it up, and scatter in the folding the powder of cedar-wood, or cedar small ground, having first perfumed your chest with storax; by which means not only dampness is prevented, but worms or moths &c.
To make Linen White, that is turned Yellow
TAKE two quarts of milk, heat it over the fire, and scrape into it half a pound of cake soap. When the soap is thoroughly dissolved, put the linen in, and when they have boiled for some time, take them out, put them into a lather of hot water, and wash them out.
The best Method of whitening any sort of Cloth
TAKE your cloth and buck it well, then spread it on the grass, and sprinkle it with alum water. Let it continue in this situation for three or four days; then buck it again with soap and fuller’s earth, and use it as before; by which means it grow both thick and white.
To clean Hangings or Tapestry that have lost their Colour
First, beat the dust out of them as clean as possible, the rub them well over with a dry brush, and make a good lather of Castile or cake soap, and rub them well over with a hard brush; then take some fair water, and with it wash off the froth, and make a water with alum, and wash them over with it, and you will find when dry, most of the colours restored in a short time; and those that are yet too fait, you must assist by a pencil dipped in proper colours. It will not be amiss if you rub over the whole piece in the same manner with water colours mixed with weak gum-water, and it will cause it, if well done, to look at a distance like new.
To clean Ribands
SPRINKLE them moderately with a little fair water and then smooth them out. Lay them on a carpet or clean cloth at full breadth, and having made a thin lather of Castile soap, rub them gently with a brush or fine woolen cloth. Then take some water, mix with it a little alum and white tartar, and rub them well with it. This will make them not only clean, but the colour will be fixed from further fading. You must dry them in the shade, and smooth them with a glass slick-stone.
To wash black and white Sarcenets
LAY them smooth on a board or carpet, spreading a little soap over the dirty place; then make a lather with Castile soap, and having an indifferent fine brush, dip it therein, and rub over the silks the right way, viz longways, and repeat this till you find that side is sufficiently scoured; then turn the other, and use it in the same manner; after which put it into fair water scalding hot. When it has been un this some cold water, and rinse them well; then take them out and fold them, clapping or pressing out the water with your hands on a carpet that is dry; when you find the wet pretty well out, in case of the white, you must have some brimstone ready to smoak, or dry it over till it is ready for smoothing, which must be done on the right side with an iron moderately hot.
To wash Silk Stockings
YOU must first of all be careful not to let your stockings lay in soke before washing, as it will entirely destroy their colours. They must be washed in cold water with two lathers, the latter of which must be well blued. They must not be rinsed, but turn them often, then press them, and when they are thoroughly dry, put them up for use.
To wash Silk Handkerchiefs
THESE also must be first washed with the water cold; neither must the second lather be too hot; about lukewarm will do. After the second washing, rinse them in cold water, dry them gently, and then fold them up.
To wash Lace
TAKE your lace and soap it well with soft soap, then take a piece of plain deal board, sew a piece of cloth on to it very tight, and roll your lace very smooth round it. After this sew another piece of cloth over it, and put it into a clean boiler of water, and set it on the fire till the water is scalding hot; then shake out the lace, put it into a pan, and pour water on it. When go have done this, rest one end of the board on the dresser or table, and with the other rub it well with a hand-brush, dipping it at the same time into water, and pressing your hand downwards with the brush to squeeze out the soap and dirt. You must repeat this in a second kettle of water, pressing it with the brush as before; and when you have got the dirt out, take some clean water, put some blue into it, and let it boil well; after which make some good starch, give the lace a gentle boil in it, and then squeeze it well out. When you have done this, hang the board up till the lace in thoroughly dry, and then take off the cloth. Then put the lace between some clean sheets of paper, and lay a heavy weight on it all night. Take off the weight in the morning, and your lace will look as well as when it was new.
To make Yellow Lace White
TAKE a quarter of a pound of soft soap, and a quarter of an ounce of powder blue; mix them well together and rub it well on the lace, then put it into the water cold; let it have one or two boilings, and if that don’t do, a third time will. If the weather is hot, soap it as above, and then lay it in the sun; after which boil it, and it will not only be white, but also take out all stains or spots of any kind whatever.
To wash Blond Lace, Muslin or Gauzes
THE same method for one of these will do for the whole. They must be washed in three different waters, each of which must be tolerably warm and well lathered. When you have done this, rinse them well in good blue water, then hang them up, and when they are dry let them be well starched and hung up again. After this is done, get half a pound of isinglass, put it into three pints of water, and let it boil till it is reduced to one, then dip your lace or gauze into it, squeeze it out, well and then iron them. Remember that the starch you use be made thoroughly stiff, and let it be well blued. The sooner you iron them after washing the better. The sooner you iron them after washing the better, more especially the gauzes. You must also observe, that after your muslins have been boiled in two lathers, you must then beat up a third very strong and well blued; then wash them out, rinse and starch as above, hang them up to dry, and then iron them. They must not be squeezed but patted between the hands; lace will always look best by being ironed on the wrong side. It will not be amiss if, after you have starched your muslins and lace very stiff, and they are quite dry, you throw them into a little cold pump water, then squeeze them well out, clap them, wring them well, and iron them. This will help to make them look much clearer, and little inferior to new.
To wash Cambricks
LET them be well soaped, and then washed in water pretty warm, then repeated the soaping, and wash them with the water quite hot. When you have done tis, mix some soap and blue together, rub it on the clothes, lay them in a tub or killer, and pour some boiling hot water on them. Let them lay in this situation for about two hours, then wash them well out, and rinse them in pump water well blued. When you iron them be careful to do it the right way, as you will otherwise be subject either to single or fray them.
It is necessary to observe, that whenever you boil any small things, such as before-mentioned, you first mix your soap and blue together, and then pour it into the water to boil the clothes. This will keep the blue from settling and make the clothes perfectly clean and white.
Whilst I am fascinated by these recommendations the more I read the more I can see Lady Catherine de Bourgh giving her instructions to Mr and Mrs Collins!