Friday, August 7, 2009

Ironing 101

My husband recently finished his training and just started what we call his “real job.” For years, I have not ironed his clothes because he wore a long coat to work every day. Who wants to do all of that work if he is just going to throw on a coat and get everything wrinkled? Last month, I finally gave in and got out the rusty old ironing board. It took a lot of strength to look at all of those wrinkled shirts and know how much work I had cut out for myself. I soon realized that it wasn’t just my ironing board that was rusty. I found that I really did not know what I was doing. For this reason, I have done some research and thought I would share what I learned about ironing with you.

Ironing Tips

1. Adjust the height of your board to the correct height. The board should be at the level of your hips so that you are not slouching. Be sure that you can place your palms on the board without bending your knees.
2. Use the correct temperature settings by checking the labels for the manufacturer’s suggestions. Here are a few rules: for manmade fabrics (such as acetate and acrylic) use the coolest setting. For silk and wool, use a warm setting. Iron cotton and linen on a hot setting.
3. Iron in order. First, iron all parts that have a double-thickness (ties, bows, sleeves, pockets, and collars). They will wrinkle less quickly than larger and thinner areas like shirt backs. For button-down shirts, iron the reverse side of the button row to give it a smoother line. Iron the backside of a shirt collar first and then the front for less wrinkling. For pockets and cuffs, do the backside first. Then, iron in a slow up and down pattern on major areas, pressing harder on the forward motion than the return one. Do not move in circles because it stretches the fabric. Do not press too hard, and let the heat and steam do the work.
4. Ironing works best on slightly damp clothes- if they are too dry you may scorch and yellow your garments. Keep a spray bottle of water at hand for spot dampening.
5. If your fabric is lined, turn it inside out and iron the lining first.
6. For any fabric that is hard to iron like silks, rayons, velvets, and corduroys try ironing them inside out.
7. For ruffles or gathers, hang the garment up and use a vertical burst of steam from your iron or hand steamer.
8. Hang clothes up immediately when the dryer shuts off, the clothes will still be warm and many of the wrinkles will fall out.

I hope these tips help you to become a better ironer. Honestly, I need a lot of practice!

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