How to Iron Clothes
For the inexperienced, ironing can be an intimidating task. The steam, the high heat, and the stress of wanting your clothes to look their best can all make it a daunting prospect. But ironing is an important skill to possess, as it can come in handy when you want to look presentable for an interview, work, or a special occasion. With the right insight and a little practice, you can learn how to iron clothes correctly in no time.
Steps for Ironing
Here are the main steps you should take when ironing:
- Gather the necessary equipment: Besides having an iron, you’ll want an ironing board, water, an old cloth to protect delicate items, and some starch in a spray can. If you don’t have an ironing board, you can use any clean, flat surface that can withstand the iron’s heat. If your iron is unable to spray water, you should put water in a spray bottle and have that ready. You can assemble all these items before plugging in your iron to avoid scrambling around while the iron is hot.
- Sort garments by material: Different materials call for different heat settings and extra precautions. Make your ironing process go a bit smoother by organizing your clothes beforehand so you can focus on clothing of the same material at the same time before moving on to the next. You can find a garment’s material by checking its tag.
- Let the iron heat up all the way: Your iron should take about 10 minutes to fully heat up. You can organize your garments during this time. When you see iron steam coming from the hot metal, you’ll know it is ready.
- Iron your clothes: This is the fun part! Here, you will use the heat of your iron to remove wrinkles from your garments with methodical sweeping motions across the clothes. Different materials and garments require different ironing techniques, which we’ll cover in the tips section.
Tips for Ironing
Practice can help you get better at ironing over time, and the secrets of the trade can get you off to a better start. Use the following ironing tips to achieve greater success and protect your clothes and yourself from accidents that can occur during the ironing process:
1. Start Ironing With Low-Temperature Materials
Save time waiting for the iron to cool down by starting with low-temperature materials and working your way up to high-temperature ones. If you start with a high-temperature garment and accidentally iron a more fragile material before the iron cools, you run the risk of damaging the garment. When you sort your garments by material, order them so that you’re ironing the low-temperature ones first.
Here is a breakdown of the different materials based on ironing temperature:
- Low-temperature fabrics include acetate, acrylic, nylon, and beaded fabrics.
- Medium-temperature fabrics include polyester, silk, satin, and wool.
- High-temperature fabrics include linen, cotton, and denim.
- Do not iron sequins, velvet, and items with screenprinting as the hot metal can permanently damage them.
2. Do You Need to Put Water in an Iron?
The answer is most often yes. The steam from your iron moistens your clothes, allowing the heat and pressure of the iron to remove the wrinkles from the fabric. Without water, the iron will not be able to produce the steam necessary to successfully remove wrinkles. The absence of direct steam might contribute to scorching with certain garments. The only exception to this is with low-temperature garments. You’ll want to protect these garments with a cloth barrier.
Often, it’s best to fill your iron with water before each ironing session so it can produce adequate steam.
3. Double-Thick Fabrics Should Be Ironed Twice
Collars, cuffs, pockets, and hems are all “double thick.” If you find yourself struggling with these parts of your clothes, iron them twice — once on the inside and once on the outside. This should handle the tougher wrinkles on the thicker parts of clothes.
4. Act Quickly if You Accidentally Burn Yourself
Even experienced ironers can burn themselves from time to time, especially if they are in a hurry. Take your time to avoid making a painful mistake. Put on music or a television show to keep yourself engaged. If you happen to burn yourself, immediately put an ice cube on the burn, or run the burn under cold water for 10 minutes to 20 minutes. This can minimize the damage and pain of the burn. You should go to the doctor for more serious burns.
5. Let the Iron Cool Completely After Use
When you’re done ironing, let the iron rest for at least 20 minutes before putting it away. A hot iron can cause a fire if it is too hot upon being stored again. Simply let it sit for a while with the cord safely stowed to keep children or pets from knocking it over. Once it has cooled, it can be put away safely.
6. Know What Materials Cannot Be Ironed
You should not iron certain garments, no matter how wrinkly they might be. Sequins and velvet are two materials you should never touch with the hot metal of your iron as this can permanently damage them. Screenprinted items are also a no-no, as the heat from the iron can melt painted-on designs. Carefully steam these garments with your iron to remove some wrinkles, being careful not to touch the hot metal plate to the fabric. Another option is to hang these garments out of the way of the water stream in your shower with hot water running for 15 minutes-20 minutes. Just make sure not to get them wet.
How to Iron Specific Garments
Here’s a look at how to iron some common clothing items:
- Dress shirts: When you iron shirts, start with the inside of the collar, then the outside. Then position the shirt to focus on the shoulder area, starting with the sides and working toward the center. Next, you’ll want to iron up the sleeves toward the shoulders. Then, doing one section at a time, focus on the body of the shirt. Finish by pressing the back from the shoulders down to the bottom hem.
- Pants: Turn the pants inside out to iron the wrong side of the garment to get the pockets. Then, turn the pants right side out and begin focusing on the waist area. Be careful not to press too hard, as this can result in pocket and seam creases. Lay both pant legs evenly on the ironing board, ironing the top pant and folding it back to iron the bottom leg. Flip the pants over and repeat for the other side. Make sure to line up your seams.
- Skirts and dresses: These garments can be a bit more complicated on account of added pleats and ruffles, but generally, you can start by ironing in the same order as you would a dress shirt. When you get to the skirt section, start at the bottom and work your way to the waist. If there are ruffles, iron the inside of the skirt. Carefully iron around any buttons to avoid damaging them.
Choose Classic Drycleaners for Your Ironing Needs
If you’re looking for high-quality, full-service drycleaning and laundry in South Central Pennsylvania, consider Classic Drycleaners. Often, formal event clothing such as wedding dresses, suits, and prom dresses contain fabric and designs that are difficult to iron or should not be ironed. Bring these tricky and fragile garments to Classic Drycleaners, where we can remove their wrinkles in a safe, effective manner.
We offer pickup and delivery services to help make your life a little easier. Classic Drycleaners is here for all your laundry-related needs. Enjoy the comfort of freshly cleaned and pressed clothes for your next event and contact us today!