An article by Caroline, added on 09 March 2021 2 min. reading

The Val d'Oise has managed to keep several of its wash houses, which constitute a real heritage in their own right.

The washhouse, as we imagine it (a basin covered with a roof), was born in 18th century.

At the time, laundry is washed only twice a yearMore each laundry takes three days :

  • on the first day, the laundry is immersed;
  • on the second day, the laundry is washed with boiling water and oak or chestnut ash;
  • on the third day, we rinse and then spin the laundry.

It's only from the 1930s that we wash clothes every week.

But this is thehygienic impetus from the end of the 18th century, which involves, in the municipalities, the construction of ponds close to a water source.

The women were responsible for washing the laundry. Each laundry required great physical effort : on their knees, the women dipped the laundry in water, rubbed it with ash or "homemade" soap, then wrung it out several times using a large wooden beater, before drying it .

The women did their laundry together, giving washhouses an important social function. During the laundry, the women could meet, discuss, exchange with each other.

Today, there are several washhouses in the Val d'Oise, the oldest of which is located in the Carnelle forest. : it is the wash house of Belles-Femmes.

Finally, we abandoned the laundries and then ceased to maintain them from the 1950s, as washing machines became more democratic.

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