Do you love ironing? I know some who do, they find it like a meditation… but for me, not my idea of a fun time! So I asked Bianca who is an expert on all things ironing to write me some tips to ease the ironing burden, as I’m sure that others may feel a little like me about this necessary chore (if you want to look polished, pulled-together and stylish).
Most of us have at some point have been faced a gargantuan pile of laundry that needed ironing. Just looking at it makes your heart drop into your shoes and you start to seriously question your life choices.
But iron you must! If you don’t, co-workers and family members might look at you and wonder if you’ve truly given up and if they should actually start planning that intervention.
Thankfully, HomeCult.org has jumped in and put together a list of quick and easy hacks for us, to help you make the task quicker, easier and more fun!
1. Dodge the Ironing All Together
The best way to iron is to not iron at all. You can buy wrinkle-resistant clothing which eliminates (for the most part) the need to iron.
Choosing synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, rayon as well as some natural fabric like wool, cashmere or some denim blends, will drastically reduce ironing time.
Simply hanging the garments after a wash is usually enough to smooth out the wrinkles.
You could plan your wardrobe perfectly and never have to touch an iron! But what if you absolutely have to iron something… how can you make it easier, get it done faster and maybe even enjoy the experience? Here’s tip number 2…
2. Netflix and Ironing?
Ironing is not rocket science and if you’re comfortable enough with the distraction, the best way to pass the time is to get in some binge-watching on your favourite series. Even better, make it one you can enjoy alone without having to consider the rest of the family.
Before you know it, you’ll be done with the ironing work and wishing there was more. Okay, let’s not get too excited… it’s not a magical solution, but it will help the time pass quicker.
Now let’s look at some more technical ways to speed up the process.
3. Use Tons of Steam
Did you know that the steam actually does most of the ironing work? It conducts the heat from the iron into the fabric fibres causing them to soften and release the wrinkles much quicker. The more steam you use, the faster the whole process will be over and done with.
A good clothing iron with super high steam output will be your best friend here.
4. Iron Clothes Slightly Damp
As with the previous tip, if the clothes are slightly damp, the heat will penetrate the fabric much easier and the wrinkles will just melt away. Iron the clothes right after they leave the dryer (and before they’re fully dried) and keep a spray bottle with water handy in case you need to re-dampen stubborn creases.
If you want to take it extra easy, a continuous mist spray bottle will take all the effort out of getting your clothes lightly damp before ironing. They work effortlessly and save you from having to continuously pump the sprayer of your iron each time you want to use it.
5. Cut Corners
A sneaky hack is to only iron the parts of the garment you can see. If you’ll be wearing a dress shirt under a jacket, consider ironing only the front, the collar and the cuffs of the shirt.
As long as you don’t remove your jacket, no one will ever know!
The same goes for cotton or linen shirts that will be worn under a sweater. Make sure it’s a really light sweater so you’re not tempted to remove it as the day warms up.
6. Start an Ironing Club
I know, I know… this idea seems crazy at first, but the more you consider it, the more it makes sense.
Ironing club is when you get together with some friends on a weekly basis and just fly through the ironing together rather than standing alone and miserable in your living room. You get to chat about anything and everything.
It’s cheaper than therapy and might actually become something you look forward to. Why not try a different bottle of wine each week to add to the experience?
7. Lastly, Pick Your Battles
Many of us have been led to believe that if you really want to be “worth your salt” as a woman, housework has to be done by you and you alone.
Firstly, let’s get over this misconception right here and now. It’s your job to help delegate the work so that it gets done without anyone burning out…. that includes you! Don’t let those teenage kids fool you either. They’re perfectly capable of ironing a garment or two.
If your significant other is overworked and the kids are too busy studying, consider sending the laundry out to be ironed once in a while. It’s a small price to pay for a great deal of sanity.
That’s a Wrap
The last thing we need in our already busy lives is an ironing emergency the morning before a meeting. By implementing even one or two of the above tips, you’ll prevent the ironing from getting ahead of you and the ironing you do end up doing will be less of a grudging chore.
It was over 4 years before I ever unpacked the ironing board after the last move. I rely heavily on option 1 and don’t buy things that need ironing. Something else that works is taking clothes out of the dryer and spritzing them with water, smoothing any unruly bits, and then hanging up the items in an area with good airflow. This works even when things like twill pants stay too long in the basket before folding.
I do my ironing as soon as I can after taking out of the dryer. I am retired now, but when I worked in a factory, I would make sure my tops in particular wear ironed and ready for me to wear in the mornings. I have never in my almost 48 years of marriage had a pile of ironing. If you do each load as you take it out of the dryer, you will never have one either!
Ironing hacks I learned from my great-grandmother & grandmother are:
1. Iron damp clothes
2. Remove the ironing board cover, then carefully cover the entire ironing board with heavy duty aluminium foil shiny side up keeping the foil smooth. Carefully replace the ironing board cover. The foil reflects the heat back and speeds drying. Lift the cover when done ironing to allow the area underneath to dry. Leave the foil on the board until it wrinkles then replace. The foil usually stays nice for a couple months even with weekly ironing.
3. If ironing pleats, like on school uniforms, arrange each pleat clipping it with a bobby pins. Clip all pleats, iron and hang the item carefully removing the bobby pins when the item is cool.
4. Hang each item on a hanger immediately to cool. (My mother hated ironing and would hang my Dad’s shirts on a door knob when done. They would look messy even though freshly ironed.)
Joke: Teach children to iron then old enough to safely use an iron but young enough to still feel important about the doing a “grown up’s job”. Once taught, initially it was my responsibility to iron my own school clothes, then I inherited the rest of the ironing chores bit by bit. I still iron when needed but own mostly wrinkle free fabrics as I travel extensively for work.
My ironing hack is simpler still — my husband does it all! It’s only his shirts that need ironing; I wear knits and softly draping fabrics. And he’s good at it.
One tip I learned that has saved me a lot of ironing is this: hang laundry to dry while HOT! If you have a washing machine that can do a hot rinse, that will work. Otherwise, run items in the dryer for about 5-10 minutes and then hang them, smoothing any parts that need it . By doing this, I can avoid or minimize ironing many of my skirts, jeans and even blouses. I also like to use drip-dry hangers rather than clothespins and a line, so the item hangs well while drying.
Many items will not need ironing if they are not left too long in the dryer. I separate things that don’t need ironing, such as socks, underwear, etc, from shirts and pants before they go into the dryer. Socks can wait, devote your attention to the things that need it. I let shirts, etc, warm up enough in the dryer to get limp, not dry. This is similar to steaming. Take the items out one at a time and hang immediately. Leave the remainder tumbling while you smooth and stretch the garment on the hanger. This takes much less time than ironing. They will finish drying on the hanger. Excluding items like socks from the dryer load allows more room for your dress items, and that cuts down on wrinkling, too. If you have a protected area that is not heated or air conditioned, hanging garments really relax when exposed to humidity, especially overnight. Hang pants from the hem, using a skirt hanger. The waistband is the heaviest part, so it naturally helps to pull the crease in place. Magic!
Oh wow I think the ironing club idea is genius Imogen !
I dont like ironing but luckily don’t have to do it.
Hanging shirts and dresses from a clothes hanger while line-drying dramatically cuts down on the amount of ironing needed, I’ve found. If they’re made of thin silk or cotton they may not need any ironing at all.
The never ending chore of laundry just got easier! Thank you for your laundry tips, they are very useful.