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Growing up, I loved watching the old commercials occasionally aired on Turner Classics or Nick at Nite. So I was thrilled to discover a treasure trove of vintage video on sites like Let's take a look back at a few choice videos that I think you'll get a kick out of...


In this vintage video from 1937, a confused housewife gets a lesson on properly washing her dishes from an intruder/announcer. What should she use instead of that boring soap? Dreft detergent. Things were different then. Coffee cost a nickel, men wore hats and ladies apparently washed their dishes with laundry detergent. So this would be a "don't." Here's the video:

Want to take an old-school (but safe) approach to your next load of dishes? Check out...
How to Make Your Own Dish Soap
Knit Dish Scrubbie Sponges
Cleaning with Essential Oils

  • trish

    I remember Dreft (I'm over 60) and my mother and grand mother used it. also Ivory Flakes for wash grand mother had a BIG black coldron up on a couple of bricks and my grandfather would set a fire under it (this was in their back yard). My grandmother did her wash that way and stired it with a real big fat stick (from some kind of tree) that's also how she got the wash out of that big thing. I was very little when I saw all of this, but that's how they did the wash. And dishes got a bucket of hot water from the fired place (they didn't have any electric then, they got it a few yrs. later.

  • Juli

    To Trish. I'm over 60 also . Glad there's someone else here as old as me. I always figured that only young people look at different sites and made comments on them.
    We didn't have the cauldron, but we had a kitchen sink that looked just like that one in the video b/c my childhood home was built in ' 26. .We put two dishpans in it.-----one for washing dishes and one for rinsing.
    We had a washing machine with a wringer on it. And we didn't have a freezer, so we couldn't have ice cream unless we rushed home from the store to eat it.
    Did you live down south ?

  • bootsnchaps

    Tide, Oxydol and Rinso worked just as well.

  • Barb

    Dishes were washed with whatever bar soap was used in the bathroom. Laundry detergent was too strong smelling and never seemed to rinse out of the glasses. Floors were washed once a week, usualy in Fridays and when we came home from school there were newspapers all over the kitchen floor to dry properly and so you win't dirty the floor all over again,It was a different world More famiiy oriented. No ine locked doors to houses or cars and theft just didn't happen..

  • Rev. Angelo M. Chimera

    I had forgotten about the newspapers on the kitchen floor after my mother washed it. You brought back some great memories.

  • Rick

    As far as I know, detergents were not available until after World War II. Prior to that, the big brands for laundry and dishes were actually powdered soap, not detergents.

  • bob

    My mother washed our clothes in Fels Naptha soap she would shave some off of the bar of soap.

  • undrgrndgirl

    i wouldn't call this clip a "video"'s probably part of a newsreel...don't want to confuse the kiddies, tv's didn't come in until the 50s

  • Norene

    Does anyone remember Sylvania light bulbs? Ipana Toothpaste? Ponds Cold Cream? Evening in Paris Perfume? Arpege? Bon Ami scouring powder? Chicklets in a tiny yellow box? Toni Home Permanents? That Miramar swimming pool?

  • Cathy

    Why yes, yes I do...among other things such as tv's with color screens attached to the front of them, rotary phones, party lines, gas station attendants who came out, pumped your gas, checked your oil and the air in your tires, and the best one....being allowed to be a KID..

  • Diane

    I'm 59 and I remember them all except the pool.

  • Linda

    Yes, I remember all of them. I also remember the glass milk bottles that were delivered to each home from your own milkman. Most in my neighborhood, including our house, had a little chute on the side of the house for the guy to leave the milk, cheese, eggs, etc and pick up the empty bottles. Those were the good old days!

  • Joyce

    Brusha Brusha Brusha with the new Ipana.......My husband & I were just talking about Ipana last week. Yes, I remember all those except the pool. I lived in NY City, there were no pools. I'm 64.

  • Benny

    20 Mule Team Borox hand soap in the can.

  • sara

    I just turned 60 & I remember all except the pool. I remember a beaver on Sat. morning cartoons doing Ipana commercials. My mom had a washing machine after she married in 1947, but she had to squeeze the water out of the clothes between two ringers. I was always scared shw would get her fingers stuck.

  • Barry S.

    The Ipana beaver was Bucky Beaver as I recall. I remember my mother washing clothes by hand & then ringing them out by hand or a ringer & then hanging them outside. My Mother had really strong hands which she did not mind using on my butt when I messed up which was often. I also remember going to school (kindergarden) when I was 5 years old. I would walk 2 blocks & catch a streetcar then transfer to a trackless trolley. I would go with my older brother who was 3 years older. It was never a problem.

  • David S.

    Eh, at the end of the day, you washed dishes by hand in '37......and some people still do.....not a whole hell of a lot has changed, other than we have had automatic dishwashers for many years...

  • dragonflyandsun

    Amazing how AOL continues to run headlines that they don't research. The first television commercial wasn't until 1941 and it was for Bulova watch company. Until then, television usage was very limited and only in select markets. Still, the Dreft ad was entertaining.

    **From the editor: This commercial was aired as a reel during movies.

  • geomcd

    in 1937, few of us had sinks with running water. We went to the pump(outdoors) and heated the water on coal or wood stoves........................not fun, but we did it.

  • Susan

    I remember all the things you wrote about Norene, but not the pool. I also rem. that the ladies in my family all heated a tea kettle of water on the stove and then '"scalded" the dishes after they were washed and sitting out.

  • 29 Comments / 2 Pages

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