Ironing Tips

By: Editors of Consumer Guide


How to Clean Water Reservoirs
Remove mineral deposits from the water reservoir when the steam action begins to decrease. Pour a solution of 1/3 cup white vinegar and 1/3 cup water into the water reservoir. Heat the iron, and let it steam for about three minutes. Unplug the iron, and position it, soleplate down, on a small glass dish that has been placed in a larger shallow pan. Allow the water to drain from the vents for about an hour. Drain away any remaining solution, and flush the reservoir with clear water before using the iron.

­Do you sometimes feel like your clothes look even more wrinkled after you iron them? The following tips and guidelines should help make your ironing go more smoothly.

Ironing Time-Savers

  • Do your ironing in the bedroom. You'll be able to use the bed to sort your laundry, and you'll have hangers close at hand in the closet.

  • Cut your ironing time by putting a piece of aluminum foil under the ironing board cover. The foil will reflect heat so you're actually ironing from both sides at once.

  • Progress from articles or garments needing the lowest temperature to those requiring the highest.

  • For a perfect fit, place your ironing board cover on the board while it's still damp, and let it dry in place.

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    To avoid creases, place a rolled up towel in a sleeve before ironing.
    ­To prevent wrinkles, keep moving freshly ironed surfaces away from you.

  • To prevent collars, cuffs, and hems from puckering, iron them on the wrong side first.

  • Iron double-thickness fabric on the inside first, then on the outside.

  • Acrylic knits can stretch out of shape if moved when wet and warm. Press each section dry, and let it cool completely before moving it on the ironing board.

  • When pressing badly wrinkled corduroy, hold the iron just above the garment and steam the fabric thoroughly. While the corduroy is still damp, quickly smooth it along the ribs with your palm.

  • Revive the nap of velvet or corduroy by pressing it right side down on a piece of the same fabric.

  • If you don't have a sleeve board, insert a rolled-up towel in sleeves so they can be pressed without leaving creases. Or make your own sleeve board from a cardboard tube covered with soft fabric.

  • Quick spray starch can be made at home by slowly adding 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 2 cups water. Stir until the starch is dissolved, and pour the blend into a clean spray bottle. Spray fabrics lightly when ironing.
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    Use paper clips to hold pleats in place.

    ­­Restore a shiny look to chintz by ironing the fabric right side down on waxed paper.

  • To keep from giving your wash-and-wear garments a sheen when you do touch-up ironing, turn the clothing inside out and iron the wrong side.

  • To remove wrinkles from a tie, insert a piece of cardboard cut to fit its inside. Cover the tie with cheesecloth, and press lightly with a steam iron.

  • To avoid flattening embroidery or eyelets when ironing, iron them facedown on a thick towel.

  • Hold pleats in place with paper clips when ironing. Be careful that the clips don't snag the fabric -- particularly if it has a loose weave.


Electric Irons

Ironing clothes can be a counterproductive task if it isn't done properly. Follow these handy tips and guidelines for ironing.

­The obvious problem with a clogg­ed steam iron is that it doesn't deliver enough steam. An even worse problem is the tendency of clogged irons to become suddenly unclogged and spew white mineral globs all over your best black suit. A clean iron speeds your pressing and protects your clothes.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions to keep the steam vents from becoming clogged. Some irons use tap water; others require distilled water.

  • When you clean the soleplate of your iron, remove residue from the vents with a cotton swab or pipe cleaner. A sharp knife or other tool may scratch the soleplate.


  • Use a cloth dipped in baking soda to clean the soleplate of a slightly warm iron. Scrub starch buildup or other soil. Rinse well, taking care to clear the vents.

  • If your iron is sticky from pressing starched clothes, clean it by running it across a piece of aluminum foil, fine sandpaper, or paper sprinkled with salt. If your iron is plastic-coated, though, avoid salt or other abrasives. ­