Top Ten Tips for Ironing Clothes

An easier way to iron...

Includes easy tips to make ironing laundry faster and more effective.

Set up an efficient ironing space

There are a few people who love to iron their clothes. They find the task to be very soothing and relaxing. Others consider it an unpleasant chore and do it just when absolutely necessary. They undertake the dreaded task only before the big company meeting or a family friend's wedding. But most people loathe ironing, avoiding it at all costs. They purchase wrinkle free clothing or hire someone else to iron for them, or simply walk around looking rumpled and unkempt.

With just a few simple ideas, ironing may not become an enjoyable task - but it can be at least tolerable.

teaching daughter how to iron clothes

Have the right equipment.
The iron you inherited from grandma with duct tape wrapped around its cord. The ironing board with the broken leg bought at the charity rummage sale. The kids' squirt gun. These might all be items you grab when it comes time to iron. But these things will only make the chore more difficult, make it take longer, and make it that much more frustrating. You don't need to purchase the newest and priciest equipment on the market, but a little investment up front will really pay off for years to come. A good iron, a solid ironing board, and a fine-mist spray bottle are all the basics you need to make the task a little faster and easier.

Have a designated "ironing area".
Ironing can be made even more annoying when you have to search the house for everything you need before you can get started. Did you last use the iron when making crafts with the kids, or to kill that cockroach? Is the ironing board out in the garage being used as a tool bench, or is it still part of the fort in the playroom? Was the spray bottle last used to water the plants, or to spray the neighborhood tomcat?

Knowing everything is already in one area will make just the idea of ironing far less daunting. It doesn't have to be a large or fancy space. A corner in the laundry room or a spot in the basement by the television works great. This is the area where the iron, the ironing board, and a spray bottle can always be found. Maybe add a clothes rack, hangers, and sewing kit if space is ample.

What if your studio apartment isn't large enough for a designated ironing area? Then purchase equipment that is portable and easy to maneuver. A cordless iron and a table-top ironing board can be easily stored in the bedroom closet, allowing the newly pressed clothing to be hung directly in the closet.

Share the chore with other family members.
Your husband might think twice about crumpling up his dress pants and throwing them in the hamper if he knows it is his responsibility to iron them. Teach your kids how to iron. After all, do you really want your daughter to have to learn how to press her blouse the same day she has her first job interview? Or do you want your son to learn ironing from a fraternity brother?

Ironing may not be the favorite chore of most people, but with the right tools and preparation it can be less of a drudge.

Top 10 Ironing Tips

1.   The right equipment.
As with any other task, having the right equipment will make ironing a lot less burdensome.

  • Iron - irons come in a large variety of types, capabilities and price ranges. Do a little research to see what kind of iron will realistically fit your needs. Take good care of it and your iron will last for many years.
  • Ironing board - there are a lot options for ironing boards on the market, from free-standing to over-the-door to built-in, etc. Use a pretty cover and make your ironingboard an art piece.
  • Spray bottle - have a bottle full of water or a can of starch handy to make the ironing simpler. You can even make homemade spray starch to save money.

2.   Hang Dry when possible.
Air drying lets gravity do some of the work for you. If you use your clothesline on a breezy day it will be even better, by keeping the fabrics supple.

ironing board and other equipment

3.   Distilled water.
Only put distilled water in the iron and the spray bottle. The minerals and chemicals found in tap water can stain your clothing and will eventually ruin your iron.

4.   Aluminum Foil.
Place aluminum foil underneath the ironing board cover. This will make the chore go twice as fast, as you will be ironing both sides of your garment at once.

5.   Designated area.
Have an assigned place for all of your ironing equipment. Knowing you are not going to have to spend twenty minutes combing the house before you even get started will make the chore far less intimidating.

6.   Read the label.
Know what setting the iron should be on before pressing any garment. Putting the iron on high will not necessarily make the chore go faster - it might even melt that favorite blouse!

7.   Separate fabric types.
Iron delicate fabrics that need a low setting first, then work your way up to a higher setting. It is faster to use the iron as it is warming up rather than waiting on it to cool down.

8.   Keep it damp.
Clothes are much easier to iron when they are slightly damp. You can either start ironing before the item is completely dry, use a water bottle as you go, or have an iron with a steam function on it.

9.   Hang it up.
Properly hang the garment as soon as you are done ironing it. Throwing it into a neat pile to hang later will counteract all of your hard work.

10.   Devil's in the details.
Iron the more difficult detailed parts of the garment such as the collar, pleats, and cuffs first. It is faster if you save the easier straightaway sections for last.

Disclaimer: You are responsible for any suggestions you choose to follow, or not follow. This advice is offered for consideration with no guarantee of safety or effectiveness. Use this information at your own risk.