I’m no expert in the field of ironing, and I’ll openly admit I detest it. I would rather scrub the toilet with a toothbrush (just not mine!). The first and last time my husband asked me to iron, I burned a gaping huge hole in his favourite shirt. I was never asked again – and I feel it was truly a blessing in disguise. However there comes a time you just have to ‘suck it up’ and get on with the job. Here are some hints on making ironing easier!
Hang your wet clothing on coat hangers on the line. Pull them out of the washing machine, give them a good shake – and hang. The weight of the wet clothing tends to gently pull out a lot of the creases therefore making ironing either obsolete or easier! Adding a cup of white vinegar to every wash is also good as not only does it get rid of any body odour on arm pit areas, but it helps absorb fluff – so keeps your clothing looking better for longer – and is a much cheaper alternative to fabric softener!
Fold your clothing straight off the clothes line (if you don’t use coat hangers). I know most of us are busy – and I’m one to say that my pile of washing tends to sit in a pile until I either wear it or the Mother in Law visits (she folds – yippee). However whilst your washing is sitting in the said pile, it gets even more creased and squashed. Even if the item needs ironing, folding it and putting it away until it needs ironing can benefit as a) it’s easy for you to find and b) it isn’t sitting in the ironing basket getting even more creased.
Use the dryer. Okay so I know this isn’t exactly ‘frugal’ – but if you place the said item in the dryer for even a few minutes, the heat will naturally iron out a lot of the creases. In saying that – if you overload your dryer with clothes, you will have an even bigger crease problem – so less is more when it comes to the dryer.
Use distilled water in your iron (or it can clog up with mineral residue – you know that brown nasty stuff that comes out when you hit the steam release button). Distilled water is found in the laundry section of the supermarket and is cheap cheap cheap. Make sure you keep the bottle near to where the iron is kept, so there is no excuse. Plus always make sure you have plenty of water in your iron, a dry iron doesn’t iron anywhere nearly as well as a normal water filled steam iron.
Use the correct setting for the item of clothing you are ironing. If your not sure what your garment is made of, check the label and following the ironing instructions if there are some. If you choose too hot a setting, you could burn or scald your clothing. There really isn’t any way to fix it once that has happened. This is particularly true of very dark polyester clothing, it tends to get a ‘shine’ if it is ironed too hot. If your garment is special, either get a professional to press it for you, or use the lowest setting you can for the material, and turn it inside out first! Plus any children’s clothing with transfers on the front – iron them inside out – or the transfer will stick to the iron and you will ruin both the garment and your iron!
Lay the item flat on the ironing board, taking particular care of seams, folds and creases. Start ironing from the centre and move outwards. Try to iron in long smooth strokes if you can and don’t spend too long on a particular area!
Use a good starch spray, especially for hard to iron items. Cheap starch spray is just fine – or even make your own! Shirts in particular are tricky. But start at the collar and iron both sides flat. Then move to the cuffs, and do any pockets. Then iron all the easy flat areas. Last of all do the arm and back creases – these can be tricky – but if you spend the time to do them right the first time, even after washing it will be easy to see exactly where the folds in the material lay.
Only iron what you need. Seriously – hankies and sheets don’t need ironing. If you feel the compulsion – go right ahead – then come around my place and tackle the pile here!