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When we look at our latest Maytag Commercial front loader, it’s hard to remember a time when laundry wasn’t as easy as pressing a button.

(Mainly because the sorting, drying and folding are enough of a headache already.)

But, if we go back even just a few decades, it’s clear to see that we’ve actually got it pretty good. And if we go back a few centuries? Well, let’s just say our ancestors earned their dinners.


Ancient times (3000 BC)

Back in the day, washing machines weren’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Which meant laundry day was more like a full-body workout.

People would haul their dirty clothes down to the nearest riverbank – armed not with detergents, but with stones – ready to attack those stains.

And attack they did. Hitting garments against rocks, scrubbing their tunics with abrasive sand or stone and pounding their clothes with wooden sticks.

It was like CrossFit without the spandex. And it worked – which is why it’s still the preferred method of washing clothes in many parts of the world.


Ancient Rome (1st Century)

We all know how the Romans love to add a touch of elegance to even the most mundane of tasks – including laundry day.

The Romans pioneered the use of urine as a detergent thanks to its ammonia content. Where did they collect it from? Public restrooms.

Talk about recycling!

The Romans also saw the beginning of commercial laundry, with cheaply produced garments being more popular than homemade fabric.

Fun fact: This is why Roman ‘fullers’ (cleaners who dyed, washed and dried clothes) were so valuable in Roman society.


Middle Ages (5th – 15th Century)

As we moved through the Middle Ages, laundries saw an upgrade… hello, soap!

Although, laundry day still required the same muscle power as centuries past. People would take their dirty garments and go to town on them – pounding and beating them with wooden bats and sticks.

So… it still wasn’t a great time to be a tunic.


Renaissance (14th – 17th Century)

The Renaissance period saw laundry as the same same, but different.

Still, of course, labour intensive. But with a sprinkle of sophistication as lye soap, scrubbing boards and paddles became more common. Or should we say a battledore and beetle.

Don’t ask us why they called it that. Guess you had to be there!


Industrial Revolution (18th – 19th Century)

When it came to laundry methods, the Industrial Revolution certainly did not let us down.

*Enter ‘the great wash’*

Involving entire households – and sometimes even entire communities – laundry was submerged in one massive tub, beaten and stirred by servants and wash people. The process often taking a few days to fully clean their clothes.

Luckily, the Industrial Revolution saw more advancements during its time.

With the development of early washing machines – and the establishment of businesses like the Maytag Washing Machine Company – the washing process took its first steps towards automation.

Using water, soap and agitation (the laundry kind, not the bedsheet-keeps-tangling-itself-when-I-try-to-hang-it-out kind) to clean clothes, people from this period began to know peace on laundry day.


Early 20th Century

While some households still did laundry by hand by the early 20th Century, most made the switch to washing machines.

Very similar to the washing machines of yore, the early 20th Century added a facelift to these machines in the form of a motor. They also featured a tub for washing and a wringer for removing excess water.

But even with these machines well and truly revved up – sorry, we had to – the laundry process was still quite labour-intensive for the washer.


Mid-20th Century

In the mid-20th Century, societies all over the world stood together in awe and gratitude at the face of the technological advancements in laundry.

Well… okay, maybe they didn’t do that exactly, but they were very impressed.

And how could they not be? With built-in agitators and spin cycles, washing machines allowed for more efficient washing and spinning of clothes. This significantly reduced the amount of manual labour required.

For some more pizzazz, the mid-20th Century also saw the widespread adoption of electric dryers – making laundry day a breeze.


Late 20th Century

Our lives in laundry continued to become even more charmed in the late 20th Century, when liquid detergents spilt onto the scene – along with even more advanced washing machines and dryers.

Automatic washing machines became more sophisticated, offering a variety of wash cycles to accommodate different types of fabrics and soil levels.

Also in the late 20th Century, laundries went green! Or, green-er. With front-loaders becoming more popular than top-loaders, we saw greater energy efficiency and water conservation.


21st Century – today!

Nowadays, laundry days are our favourite days. Right, everyone?

Okay, maybe not favourite days. But they’re certainly a far cry from the labour-intensive chore they once were.

With our high-efficiency washers and dryers, along with our eco-friendly detergents, the 21st Century is seeing an unprecedented shift towards sustainable laundry practices.

A trend that, hopefully, will continue in the centuries to come.


Want to keep your laundry up with the trends?

Explore our innovative range of laundry equipment today.

Call us: 1800 629 824
Email us: [email protected]

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