how to hide your dirty laundry

Laundry bags were such a ubiquitous item, it was hard to find some descriptions of their construction. In 1840 Eliza Leslie just recommends a non-drawstring cloth bag with a hanging loop to keep clothing safe from pests. Most references recommend a laundry bag for each household member and the dining room, as well as separate bags for what we call ‘delicates.’

1840 House Book
1884 American Agriculurist

The 1884 resembles a modern diaper dispensing bag. By the late 19th century colorful store-bought linen towels were just another source of fabric.

1890 American Agriculturist

The 1890 just pairs two fringed towels together, whereas the 1893 incorporates a wooden hoop to keep the top open. I’ve done this with embroidery hoops and I recommend it.

1893 Delineator