"A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Chores & Household Tips

Would men help with washing clothes? 
Oh, no, -they worked on the fields. It was the lady of the house had a "free" day from field work to do the washing.

How did they wash the clothes?
by Rosina Schmidt

My grandmothers house faced a river. She took the clothes in the warm season to the river, dunked them all in, put some stones on them so they would not float away and then took one by one, soaped it with home made soap, laid it onto the washing board, took a washing bat and hit the folded item numerous times this way and that. Then she soaped it again and repeated the procedure. Finally she rinsed it in a similar fashion until the water run clear through. Then she wrung it, spread it on the grass and let the sun bleach it sparkling white.   In the winter time she made a fire under the huge kettle, soaked the items first in cold water in the washing basin, then put it into the kettle with some home made soap and let it boil. No bacteria had a chance of surviving that procedure.

Then she took each item and rubbed it on the washing board, this one of a different kind. Everything had to be rinsed as well. All the water had to be brought in pails from the covered well in the yard and the wood for boiling the water in the kettle split the day before. It was a huge undertaking. 2) For storing linen and such there was a chest in the parlor or bedroom; for the Sunday outfits there was a furniture clothes closet but the daily clothes were hang on the hook and covered with a curtain for protection from the dust.

Cleaning the Dirt Floors:
by Rosina Schmidt


"Die Kathi am Brunne" (Kathi at the well)
Lovely wood-cut picture by Hans Roch.
Contributed by Diana Lambing, 20 Mar 2004

wash tub & scrub board

Many very wealthy Danube Swabian homes in the 1950's had dirt floors!! Only the room above the wine cellar had a wooden floor. Even though the floors were stamped clay, they were daily cleaned by sprinkling the floor with water and using a fine corn broom. Those floors kept the house nicely cool in the heat of the summer but also radiated the heat from the stove/oven in the winter months. Remember, our Donauschwaben were mostly agriculturist and would come and go with their shoes on to the interior.


Image: Die Donauschwaben: Bild eines Kolonistenvolkes
Gauss, Adalbert Karl, Die Donauschwaben: Bild eines Kolonistenvolkes.
Publisher: Pannonia-Verlag, 1961.

Making Rugs

Our grandmothers saved all the clothes not used any more. During the winter time they would cut the items in narrow strips and weave rugs for the floor. (Rosina Schmidt)

"For the Frau" Helpful household hints... published in an Banater Almanac, dated 1953, contributed by Jody McKim Pharr

Chocolate spots are removed with water and soap or detergent.  If that does not help rub spots with a mixture out of glycerol and Eigelb, warm water. and repeats rinse.  [Eigelb is (literally) egg yellow... or, more commonly "egg yolk. (Dan Drew)]

Schokoladeflecken werden mit Wasser und Seife oder Waschmittel entfernt. Hilft das nicht, den Flecken mit einem Gemisch aus Glyzerin und Eigelb einreiben und später wiederholt mit, warmem Wasser nachspülen.

Cotton Fabric with fresh inks spots, rub with lemon juice and wash afterwards. Also you can clean the spot with fresh cooked milk.

Baumwollgewebe mit frischen Tintenflecken mit Zitronensaft einreiben und nachwaschen.  Auch kann man die Stelle mit dem Fleck in frische abgekochte Milch reinigen.

Car grease, rub fabric with turpentine.  Afterwards rinse with fresh water.

[Gewebe mit Terpentin means fabrik dipped in turpentine (Diana Lambing)]

Mortar marks on the windowpanes can be removed with a linen rag, which is soaked with vinegar.

Mörtelflecken an den Fensterscheiben lassen sich mit einem Leinenlappen, der mit Essig Getränkt ist, entfernen.

Red Wine, Fruit and Cocoa Marks Stains - Pour simmering hot potato water over soiled fabric.

Abgegossenes Kartoffelwasser, siedend Heiss verwendet, entfernt Rotwein, Obst and Kakaoflecken aus Leinwand.

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr]

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Updated: 03 Mar 2018