You are not alone… most people don’t enjoy ironing.
- Many items can be taken off the line and folded away or hung on clothes hangers without the need for ironing
- Buying drip-dry fabrics reduces the need for ironing
- Using fabric conditioner in the final rinse of the wash cycle makes items easier to iron
General ironing tips:
- Follow the garment care label instructions carefully
- Remember that the iron's temperature takes time to change when you alter the setting – the indicator light shows when it has reached the right temperature
- When lowering the heat setting, wait for the light to come on and then go off before ironing your clothes
- In order to prevent ironing clothes with a temperature hotter than is suitable for a garment, sort clothes into piles of linen, cotton and synthetics
- Set your iron to synthetics and iron the synthetics pile, increase temperature to the cotton setting for your 'cottons' pile etc. By doing so, you will slowly increase the heat of the iron and will not need to wait for it to cool down. This minimises the risk of ironing garments using too hot a temperature.
- Avoid ironing over the top of sharp objects like zips or buttons
How to avoid shine and iron marks:
- Use a well padded ironing board (especially for wool)
- Iron inside out whenever possible. Always iron delicate fabrics, inside out on a low temperature setting.
- Use a press cloth such as a clean pillow case. For some fabrics, e.g. wool, use steam or press with a slightly damp cloth, using light pressure.
Temperature guide for different fabrics
Cotton: Iron slightly damp on the right side with hot iron.
Linen: Iron damp on the wrong side first, then on the right side to bring out the sheen, especially damasks and light-coloured linens. Iron dark linens on the wrong side only.
Silk: Iron slightly damp on right side with warm iron
Wool (knitted): Turn the garment inside out and press dry or nearly dry on the wrong side with warm iron or steam
Wool (woven): Press dry on right side with a pressing cloth to avoid scorching, using a warm iron or steam iron
Acrylic: If needed, press on wrong side with cool iron. Do not use steam or damp cloth.
Nylon or Polyester: Iron nearly dry, on the wrong side with a cool iron to prevent glazing
Acetate: Iron evenly damp, on the wrong side with a cool iron
Caring for your iron
It is also important to look after your iron. Here's how:
- Keep the flat ironing surface clean with a special sole plate cleaner (available from hardware stores)
- If you have a steam iron, check for mineral deposits, which can cause brown spotting
- If you are using starch to stiffen your clothes, iron the starched items quickly. Do not have the iron too hot, or the starch will burn in to the bottom of the iron
- If synthetic fabric such as nylon is accidentally melted onto the sole plate, do not allow the iron to cool down, or it will set hard! Turn the thermostat to 'hot' and carefully use paper to wipe away the soft melted fabric, then clean the iron while the ironing surface is warm. As the iron will be hot, special care should be taken during this process.