So I recently learned that there are a lot of people out there who don’t know how to properly care for their clothes. This is going to be the first in a series of posts that will discuss proper laundry care. This blog post will discuss ironing and how to iron clothes, a task that can seem a bit scary for those who have never ironed before. You are wielding a hot piece of metal that could potentially burn you or your clothes, so it’s understandable if ironing clothes makes you nervous. After watching the scene in the movie ‘Pleansantville‘ where one of the men shows an iron shaped scorch mark on the back of his shirt, it made me nervous about scorching my clothes as well.
What You Need
If you have clothes that need to ironed, there are a small number of items that you need. The first thing is you need a clean iron. Make sure that it’s free of rust or anything burnt that could be sticking to it, like starch if it’s used while ironing. If the iron is not clean it could ruin your clothes. You’ll also want to invest in an ironing board. You don’t want to use furniture because it could be dirty, the iron could possibly ruin it, or worse potentially start a fire. Ironing boards are designed with a material that is flame retardant and that’s breathable so steam is able to escape while ironing. You can buy stand up ironing boards, or ones that you can lay flat on a table or the floor. If your iron doesn’t come with a steamer then you will want to buy a small, cheap spray bottle and fill it with some water. The last thing you may need is some starch, but that only if you like to use it. It’s not a necessary item for ironing, I don’t ever use it.
Get to Know Your Iron
Before you ever try to use your iron, the first thing you should do is read the instructions and get to know your iron. Every iron is different, from the settings, to how it works, so read the instructions! Check and see if your iron comes with a steamer, and how to get the steamer to work. Learn how to change the intensity of the heat, and what setting they recommend for a certain type of fabric. My iron has settings 1-10, my friend’s iron has 1-7. Mine you have to manually turn a huge knob on the body of the iron to the proper heat setting, on her iron it’s a small dial on the handle. Every iron is different!
Using the Iron
Here are some general how to iron tips and techniques, Before you turn on your iron, figure out what type of fabric you will be working with, is it cotton, maybe polyester? Different fabrics have different suggested settings that will work best for that fabric. Once your iron is plugged in, if it needs to be plugged in, and you’ve put it on the proper setting, you now need to wait for the iron to heat up. While the iron is heating up or not in use, balance it on it’s flat, back end. NEVER lay the iron down flat on the metal side while it’s turned on. That is how things get burned, or how a fire gets started. Also make sure there is nothing hanging close to the hot metal, it could melt and/or catch fire.
When it’s time to start ironing, first spray a little bit of water, just a spritz or two, on the clothes you will be ironing. This water will steam, which is good! When you start ironing, keep the iron moving at all times. Don’t lay it down on the garment and let it sit there because it will burn, or scorch, your clothes. Just slowly lay the sides of the garment flat and move the iron across in small strokes and flatten out any wrinkles. The heat, steam and movement of the iron will flatten out wrinkles and put everything in it’s place.
Certain items have certain ways they need to be ironed, or pressed. There are clothes with creases that need to be kept, or items that need to be ironed in a certain direction, like top to bottom. Here are some resources to help you learn how to iron your clothes, so that they look clean and wrinkle free.
- How to Properly Iron Shirts, Pants, and Skirts
- How to Iron a Shirt like a Pro
- How to Properly Iron a Dress Shirt
Good luck in your future ironing endeavors, and remember, if used properly you have nothing to fear of your iron or ironing clothes. Until next time!