Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Traditional Laundry Methods are Alive and Well at The Vintage Wash House

Linda Peake set up The Vintage Wash House at Skipton’s Handpicked Hall in May of 2013. As of March 2014, the shop is now located at 3 Court Lane, Skipton. The 1940s-inspired stall sells nostalgic homeware gifts and a range of traditional cleaning and laundry products, from the former Sunwin House department store. 

From her stall, complete with authentic washboard and mangle, and blitz-style paper-tape crosses on the windows, Linda demonstrates the household duties of a typical 1940s housewife, using traditional products like Soap Flakes and Soda Crystals.

Linda explains, “I wanted to set up a totally unique stall showcasing vintage laundry methods and demonstrating how traditional products can work just as well, if not better, than their modern equivalents. Soap Flakes, for instance, clean effectively and efficiently but contain no perfumes or allergens, making them perfect for delicate laundry and cleaning without aggravating skin conditions.

After demonstrating her nostalgic laundry methods, customers are able to buy from the range of traditional and natural cleaning and laundry products, including Linda’s own hand-knitted 100% cotton dishcloths, as well as vegetable Soap Flakes, Soda Crystals, White Vinegar, Bicarbonate of Soda, Borax Substitute and Laundry Starch.

The traditional products, made by family-run Derbyshire manufacturer, Dri-Pak, are experiencing something of a revival of late, thanks to their simple and effective cleaning power. The allergen-free alternatives to modern cleaners are made from sustainable sources and are extremely versatile, as Linda explains: 

Soda Crystals alone have hundred of uses around the home, from unblocking a slow-draining sink, to clearing a driveway of moss and removing laundry stains like grease, ink and blood, they really are a true multi-purpose product”.

The nostalgic atmosphere of the Vintage Wash House stall often encourages people to share their own experiences of washdays gone by, as well as sparking questions from the younger generations, as Linda explains:

I really enjoy people sharing their memories of using the old washboards and mangles, and it’s great teaching the younger generations how we used to do things. Many of the people I speak with agree that a lot of the simpler, old-fashioned products deserve place in the 21st century home!

The Vintage Wash House at 3 Court Lane, Skipton (BD23 1DD) is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. 

Find out more about the History of Soda Crystals and Soap Flakes on the Dri-Pak website.

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