Benjamin Franklin may have overlooked one certainty in life: laundry. National Laundry Day on April 15th creates an opportunity to assess our laundry habits and teach our children to develop good ones.

Humans have been doing laundry in numerous ways for as long as it has existed. One of the earliest ways was beating the dust and dirt out of our clothes and bedding with a stick or pounding the grime out against a rock in the river.

Early forms of soap were developed from a mixture of animal fat and ashes. Washboards and tubs replaced washing by a river. Scrubbing the fabric over the ribs of the washboard and soap helped release the grime and stains. Humans also washed their clothes in manually cranked tubs. These tubs eventually led to the first automatic washing machine. The first U.S. patent for an electric washing machine was granted to Alva J. Fisher in 1910.

Dry cleaning is another process we’ve used to clean our clothes. These days, so many clothes are wash-and-wear, dry cleaning has moved lower and lower on the household budget.

When we do laundry has also changed, too. Before commercial washing machines and dryers, clothes were hung on a line to dry. Though many people still line dry their wash, few people have clotheslines. Also, the poorer a person was, the more frequently they washed their clothes and linens. Once a week was fairly average and wash day was traditionally on a Monday as noted in several books and nursery rhymes. For example, this is a nursery rhyme from before the Victorian era shows weekly laundry washed on a Monday:

They That Wash on Monday

They that wash on Monday
Have all week to dry;

They that wash on Tuesday
Are not much awry;

They that wash on Wednesday
Are not so much to blame;

They that wash on Thursday
Wash for shame;

They that wash on Friday
Wash in need;

And they that wash on Saturday?
They are dirty indeed!


Though laundry has a long dirty and clean history, we were unable to sort out who the founder of the day is. However, in the early 1990s, September 15th used to be celebrated as National Laundry Worker Day.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalLaundryDay

  • Do your laundry.
  • Teach others how to do laundry.
  • Volunteer to help someone in need with doing their laundry.
  • Organize your linen closet.
  • Explore different ways to keep your laundry fresher longer.
  • Share your stain removing tips and tricks.
  • Join the conversation by using #NationalLaundryDay on social media.
Laundry FAQ

Q. What does “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public” mean?
A. This laundry saying refers to having arguments in public or discussing things in public that should remain private.

Q. What does “laundry list” mean?
A. A laundry list is usually a long, detailed list of items. The lists can be related to upcoming events, to-do lists, or demands as part of an agreement.

Q. Are there other laundry days on the calendar?
A. Yes! Check out these fun days:

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