Historical information

The little blue bag was stirred around in the final rinse water on washday. It disguised any hint of yellow and helped the household linen look whiter than white. The main ingredients were synthetic ultramarine and baking soda, and the original "squares" weighed an ounce and cost 1 penny.
Reckitt’s had been in the blue and starch business in Hull, England, even before they started importing French ultramarine in the 1850s to make the new blue rinse additive at their English factory.
These blue bags, being alkaline , were useful to ease the pain of wasp, ant and insect bites.


Reckitts blue bags were an essential part of washday for early settlers in Moorabbin Shire and continued to be used throughout 20thC.

Physical description

Laundry blue bags (2), 'Reckitt's' Blue Bag, paper-wrap made by Reckitt and Colman (Australia) Ltd, Australia, c 2oth C. Made of powdered ultramarine and baking soda.

Inscriptions & markings

RECKITT& COLMAN PTY.LIMITED SYDNEY AUSTRALIA / Reckitt's Bag Blue / Squeeze the bag in the last rinse / & stir. This keeps your linen white / / RECKITT & COLMAN PTY. LIMITED SYDNEY AUSTRALIA.
Red & white stripes Regd.