Miner's cabins did not have electricity or running water, the wash had to be done by hand. Most could not afford the luxuries of a washtub as elaborate as this washtub; in fact, most miners simply used a wash board and basin or brought the washing to the water. To operate the wash barrel, one would place the clothes, water, and soap in the tub. The tub would be fastened with the lid and the clothes were cleaned by rocking and twisting the barrel. The agitator would move the clothes around in the barrel knocking loose the dirt. Once cleaned the clothes would them be rinsed, wrung out, and hung out to dry. In the Eaton catalogue of 1902, a leader churn running from 9 gallons to 20 gallons cost $3.85-$4.75. To put the cost into perspective, in the same catalogue, the cost of a stove range was around $45.00, a top hat was $5.00, and a large oval nickel plated tray could be bought for 75 cents. A miner's cabin had little furnishings, most were stark and small and consisted of a cot, a table and a chair, a wood stove and very few luxury items.
Keno City Mining Museum, Keno City