Story: Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene

Laundry soap recipe, 1882

Laundry soap recipe, 1882

Many 19th-century housewives made their own soap from cooking fat. This recipe for laundry soap was included by Mrs William in her book Facts: or, the experiences of a recent colonist in New Zealand (1882). She advised that the soap was not suitable for ‘bed-room use’ – meaning that it was too harsh for skin and should not be used to clean bodies. At the time people often washed in their bedrooms at washstands.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Mrs Williams, Facts, or, The experiences of a recent colonist in New Zealand, 1882. Yalding: Mrs. William, 1883, p. 47 (B-K-1021-47)

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene - Household cleaning', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 2 December 2023)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 Sep 2013