Most of us can iron, but are we ironing correctly?
There are so many easy mistakes to make during this tricky task. It's easy to use the wrong temperature or adopt a bad technique when you don't know any different.
Expert Home Tips are here to steer you the right way. Get ironing like a pro with these 20 handy tips.
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1. Make use of the entire ironing board
Why faff around with clothes hanging over the sides of your iron? Be sure to make use of all of the ironing board, by placing long items landscape on the board.
The thinner end of your ironing board can also be very useful. It's particularly good for getting to creases near armholes. Place your top over the end, being careful not to stretch the fabric, and iron into the stretched out crevices.
2. Remove iron scorch marks using vinegar
If you do make a little error when ironing, it's not the end of the world.
A quick fix for scorch stains is white vinegar. Dip a clean cloth into the liquid, then wipe over the stain. Make sure to wipe with a clean part of the cloth each time to avoid spreading the mark.
Wipe with clean, cold water to finish.
3. Use the correct ironing technique
Yes, there really is such a thing as an 'ironing technique'. The correct way to iron is in long, straight strokes.
Avoid wiggling the iron around too much, as this may cause the fabric to stretch. It may also create new creases in the fabric, which will be tough to remove.
4. Boil your iron water
If you're like me and live in a hard-water area, you should really boil your water before use.
If you don't, you run the risk of your iron getting blocked up. This leads to all sorts of problems, such as stains on clothes and reduced efficiency.
Take the time to boil your water first - why not treat yourself to a cuppa while you're at it!
5. Remember to iron around decorative objects
Most of us know to avoid zips and buttons. The same is advised for detailing in general, be that sequins, glitter or very fine lace.
These areas often don't even require ironing. If they do need a quick 'once-over', iron them inside out on a low temperature.
6. Inside garments inside out where possible
Have you ever noticed a slight sheen on dark clothes post-ironing? This is caused by the heat of the iron.
A simple way to avoid this is by ironing inside out wherever possible. This will help protect the appearance of your garments and keep them looking great.
7. Iron in the correct order
Some items like vests are fairly easy to manage, but shirts are a different story.
If you don't know where to start, always remember to go 'outside in'. Start with the collar, then the cuffs and work your way in from there.
Having an order makes the ironing process much less fiddly and easier to tackle as a result.
8. Use bobby pins to secure your pleats
I just love this tip! When tackling a pleated item, such as a pleated skirt, pin the pleats into place using bobby pins.
This allows you to concentrate on your ironing technique without having to bother about moving pleats.
For more unique ways to repurpose bobby pins, check out my 19 NEW ways to use bobby pins that don’t involve hair.
9. How to correctly position your ironing board
Don't make life more difficult than it needs to be. Before you begin ironing, make sure your board is at the right height for you.
You don't want to have to stoop or bend over too much if possible as this can cause back pain. Bear this in mind and adjust your ironing board as required.
If you suffer severely from back pain, other additions may help. Thick rubber shoes that support your weight, for example, will help reduce the strain.
10. Iron on one side only
Everyday items actually don't need much ironing at all.
If your garment looks good after being ironed on only one side, don't bother with the other.
Not only will this save you time, but ironing may cause your clothes to look tired over time. Don't do more than you have to.
11. Hang up or fold your ironed items immediately
You've spent all that time ironing, don't make it go to waste.
Keep a selection of coat hangers nearby whilst ironing and you'll be able to hang garments up right away. For those items you aren't hanging, fold them on a flat surface immediately and put to one side.
This will prevent clothes from getting more creases before you put them away.
12. Banish creases with a DIY ironing spray
Some creases need a bit more than a hot iron.
For those cases, a DIY spray made from equal parts white vinegar and water can be used. Mix it up in a spray bottle, and spritz onto areas with particularly bad creases. They'll come straight out when you go over with your hot iron.
13. Iron in a well-lit room
Spending an hour ironing in the living room only to find your clothes still looking creased when you take them to your wardrobe is not ideal.
Attempting to iron in a poorly lit room can really hamper your efforts. It's often difficult to spot smaller creases, especially on lighter items.
Be sure to set up your ironing board in the best lit room in the house. The processes will be quicker and easier, and you'll achieve better results.
14. Iron in order from cool to hot
Before you begin ironing, take a few minutes to organise your items. Separate your items into different types: delicate, medium and durable.
Start with the delicates on a low temperature, and work your way up to the more durable garments and a hotter iron.
As irons take a while to cool down, this is the most reliable way to ensure no damage is caused to your clothing.
15. Line your ironing board with aluminium foil
All these tips will certainly help you to cut your ironing time down. Here's another cracker: line your ironing board with aluminium foil.
As aluminium foil is a heat conductor, the heat from the iron will mean the foil 'irons' the other side of the garment when you pass over it. This removes the need for ironing on both sides and gets great results - try it!
16. Iron down the centre of blouse sleeves
A nice, crisp line down the centre of a shirt sleeve looks sharp. Do the same with a blouse, however, and the result is strange.
To avoid these stiff looking folds, iron down the centre of the sleeve as opposed to along the seam.
17. Don't iron dirty clothes
When we throw clothes in the wash without removing stains, they're unlikely to come out.
The same goes for ironing - if you iron a garment that's unclean/spoiled, the heat will make the stain permanent.
This is easy to avoid, just make sure your clothes are all nice and clean before you start.
The exception to this is if you're using an iron to remove a butter stain. Find out how it's done in our other article!
18. Consider ironing large items on a table
If you have a very big item to iron, such as a bedsheet or a table cloth, consider using a table. Providing you line the table with towels beforehand to prevent burns, there's no risk.
Alternatively, place two chairs behind the iron and fold the large item carefully onto these as you go. This will prevent it from dragging on the floor and keep it looking nice and crisp.
19. Iron 100% cotton garments whilst still damp
Items made from 100& cotton are much easier than other materials. That's not to say they are easy, however.
Cotton creases can be extremely hard to iron out. One way to help is to tackle them whilst they are still damp. The heat will create steam when it hits the water, helping creases to fall out.
20. Clean your iron regularly
You've got your dress all ready for the party. It's freshly washed, now it just needs an iron. You turn on your iron and begin, only to find it leaving marks everywhere - what a nightmare!
This can often happen when we fail to maintain our iron. Irons, just like washing machines and other devices, should be cleaned regularly.
You can clean your iron using bicarbonate of soda, q-tips and other household items. Check out this tutorial by Real Simple to learn how.
Learn other ways Bicarbonate of Soda can be used to clean your home in Anushka's article.
Wow! I can't wait to put some of these new ironing tips to the test. Which ones are you going to try?