Ironing tips to keep your clothes looking their best

Whether you iron all your washing while watching football on Sunday afternoon, or find yourself rushing to iron one dress shirt early in the morning before heading to the office, the same basic ironing rules apply.

Ironing tips to keep your clothes looking their best

With today's modern steam irons, ironing boards and other aids, ironing is often done in a jiffy. That doesn't mean you can't learn from some of grandma's old tricks, which make even delicate textiles and tricky seams or pleats easy to handle.

Equipment

  • Help save your back from injury by investing in an adjustable-height ironing board.
  • Place aluminum foil under the ironing board cover to reflect heat. It will save you a lot of time.
  • Let your steam iron steam off two or three times to percolate out any lime deposits. Repeat this each time you iron.

Before ironing

  • Put cotton fabrics including your shirts and blouses, into the dryer for 15 minutes at moderate temperature and hang them up to dry. This makes ironing easier than if they're completely dried in the dryer.
  • Spray excessively dry fabrics with warm water before ironing them — warm water spreads through the fabric more quickly than cold.
  • Sprinkle clean laundry with water, then roll it up and put into a plastic bag to keep laundry damp until you're ready to iron it.
  • Add a little vinegar to the water used for sprinkling to make your iron glide over laundry more smoothly.

Ironing basics

  • Iron just to the edges of seams and stitches to ensure they don't push through.
  • Iron button facings on a soft underlay from the back side; don't iron the buttons.
  • Iron fabrics manufactured on a diagonal against the direction of the fabric.
  • Protect delicate fibres by placing a cloth or tissue paper between the iron and the fabric.
  • Iron heavy fabrics such as wool and flannel with a damp cloth between the iron and the fabric.
  • Iron the collars of shirts or blouses first — then the inside, from the tip of the collar to the middle to avoid wrinkles on the seam. Iron the cuffs in the same way, followed by the arms, and then the front and back.
  • Iron fabrics from the back side and the creases last longer.
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