8 tips for using your iron most effectively

The goal for most people is to do as little ironing as possible. On the other hand, most people like the results that ironing gives them — crisp, unwrinkled shirts and trousers with respectable creases. Sometimes you have to iron and when you do, you want to be effective. Here's how, plus a tip or two for making the job easier.

8 tips for using your iron most effectively

1. Wash and dry your clothes correctly

  • Follow the previous advice for reducing wrinkles before your clothes get near the ironing board. Chief among that advice is not to overload your dryer and don't over dry your clothes.
  • Sometimes all you need to do is smooth a garment with your hands and fold it or hang it and put it away.
  • Dry things well, and you will cut your ironing time down considerably.

2. Try touch-up ironing

Instead of giving a garment the full going-over, you might just have to run your iron quickly over collars and cuffs. That may be enough to make them look more respectable.

3. Read care labels

  • They will tell you what the best technique is for ironing a particular garment.
  • Don't pile boxes in front of your ironing board or leave the cords of your iron in a tangle. The set-up hassles will discourage you from ironing the next time. And the next time. And the next.

4. Keep your ironing board and iron clean

Otherwise, you might stain clothes the next time you iron them.

5. Sort items by ironing temperature

Start with fabrics that require a low ironing temperature, such as silks and synthetics, and move on to high-temperature items, such as cottons and linens.

6. Iron clothes while they are still damp

  • This will make the job easier, since wrinkles are not as set in the fabric.
  • Hang your garments up immediately to help them stay fresh and pressed.

7. To keep wrinkling to a bare minimum

  • Start ironing with small areas, such as cuffs, collars and sleeves, and then work your way to the larger areas.
  • Iron lengthwise on the fabric, as this will help prevent the fabric from stretching.

8. Never iron stains

The heat will set the stains permanently.

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