How to Iron and Starch Clothes and More Ironing Tips
Choosing an Iron and Ironing Board
First, select the right iron for your needs. If it is time to buy a new one, consider the following:
- Does it sit solidly on its heel so that it can't be knocked over easily? Many new models have safety heel rests or bars.
- Does it feel comfortable in your hand? Well-balanced? Not too heavy?
- Is the fabric guide clearly coded to the temperature settings, and are the settings easy to change?
- If it's a steam iron, can you tell at a glance whether you have to refill the tank? Is the tank easy to fill and empty?
There are additional features available, such as a self-cleaning action that flushes out water chambers and steam vents. This enables you to use tap water instead of distilled water. Several brands have a device for releasing an extra amount of steam. There are irons that remember to shut off, cordless irons and those that shoot a jet of steam. And, you can purchase either a regular size or a small one for quick touch-ups and travel. In addition to the regular metal soleplate, a non-stick soleplate finish is available that allows the iron to glide easily. It resists accumulation of fibers, linen and starch, but it can be scratched by pins or zippers.
Most of the irons now are light-weights --- irons that weigh about a pound less than the old conventional irons. Their lighter weight makes them less tiring to use. They also have faster heat-up and cool-down so you don't have to wait as long to start ironing or changing fabric settings. For best results, be sure to read the use and care manual which comes with your iron.
Next, consider the ironing board. Start with a sturdy board so it doesn't tip or collapse. It should have a metal top with adequate ventilation for the steam to escape, and it should be light-weight and adjustable so you can select the ironing height that is most comfortable.
An important basic is your ironing pad and cover. Your pad should be thick and resilient enough to provide a good cushion for ironing, as well as to permit absorption of excess steam. The cover can be muslin, silicone or Teflon. A muslin cover is soft, absorbent, and can be tossed into the washer and dryer. It should be removed from the dryer while still slightly damp, replaced on the ironing board, and sprayed lightly with Faultless Spray Starch to keep it fresh and clean longer.
Silicone and Teflon ironing-board covers help reflect heat, so your ironing goes faster, and they are scorch and stain resistant. They are smooth, so clothes move more easily when you arrange them on the board. Machine laundering ruins the finish of a silicone or Teflon cover, so just use a damp sponge to wipe it clean, then go over it with a dry iron to remove all moisture. This helps keep it fresh and usable longer.
For quick touch-ups on collars, cuffs or button plackets, use thickly folded towels, an old folded sheet, your kitchen bread board, the kitchen counter, a bed, floor, or even a pool table. Use a light spray of Magic® Sizing to help remove wrinkles and add a hint of body.
Organize your ironing, including touch-ups. If space permits, find a place where you can leave your ironing board up for convenience. Place a small table next to your ironing board to hold your Faultless Spray Starch and Magic® Sizing, needle and thread for quick mending, and whatever other items you may need.
Using Spray Starch or Sizing
Spray starch is a vegetable-based product that imparts a firm body and crisp finish to all washable fabrics. Faultless Spray Starch lets your iron glide over fabric. Its Dirtgard® qualities help clothes look fresh longer and wash clean easier. Now, there are several options open to you at the spray starch section in your favorite supermarket:
- Heavy starch gives you more body and crispness, and is ideal for linens, jeans and natural cottons.
- Lemon starch gives you a fresh, lemon scent while ironing, but quickly dissipates after the ironing is finished.
- Sizing fabric finish may have either a vegetable or a water-soluble cellulose base. Fabric finishes were developed specifically for fabric blends and polyesters. Tighter weaves, special finishes and man-made fabrics created a need for a finishing agent that would penetrate more quickly and add just enough body to replace the sizing which was in the fabric when it was new. Try Magic® Sizing Fabric Finish to perk up wilted garments and as a sewing aid for seams, hems and darts.
Which product you use will depend on your personal preference and the results you want --- plus the fiber content of the fabric. Remember: polyester fiber is like a glass rod and can't absorb moisture. If you use spray starch on synthetics or blends, and even some cottons, spray the entire garment, roll it up loosely and leave it for a few minutes before ironing. Or spray, and then run your hand over the surface to speed up absorption. This gives your spray starch a chance to be absorbed by the fabric and avoids ironing coating or flaking.
Cleaning The Iron
Use hot-iron cleaner to clean iron's soleplate. It removes fusibles, starch --- anything which coats the bottom of your iron. It eliminates iron drag and saves time and energy. Faultless Hot-Iron Cleaner lets your iron glide like magic over fabric! In fact, it is a good idea to finish every ironing session with a quick application of hot-iron cleaner --- then, the iron is ready for those fast touch-ups.
Use either Faultless Spray Starch or Magic® Sizing to perk up collars, cuffs, button plackets and pockets. Note: when using an ironing aid, such as spray starch or sizing, you don't need to use the steam setting on your iron. The ironing aid provides sufficient moisture to smooth out wrinkles quickly and easily. The addition of steam increases the amount of moisture and stretches out your ironing time, wasting time and energy.
Spray and iron a portion at a time, or spray the entire garment and roll it up for a few minutes. Iron small areas first: collar, cuffs, sleeves, yoke, button placket. Always move the finished areas away from you and your iron.
Use Faultless Liquid Starch for a heavy professional finish or jeans. After starching, place inseams together, smooth creases with fingers and drip dry, hanging from pants hanger. Creases are then lined up and formed for easier ironing. Or, saturate with Faultless Spray Starch and follow above instruction. Then re-spray and iron.
Iron small areas of pants or jeans first: waistband, zipper placket, then the body of the jeans, saving the legs for last. Fold the top leg back over the body, line up the inseam with the outseam, and iron. Spray and iron again along the crease line to ensure a sharp, smart crease. Turn garment over and repeat the procedure on the other leg. Smooth both legs flat and touch up on areas needing special attention --- usually near the top of the leg.
Ironing Table Linens
Use either Faultless Heavy or Regular Spray Starch, depending on fiber content and stiffness desired. Magic® Sizing is extremely effective on fabrics with a high polyester content. When folding napkins into imaginative shapes, be sure to use Faultless Heavy or Regular Spray Starch for the extra body required.
Double your tablecloth. Spray and iron a section at a time. Turn it over and repeat the process. To avoid a center crease, shift the fabric to one side, spray and iron, but don't crease.
If you use your table linens infrequently, store them laundered, but save the ironing until you're ready to use them, so they'll be fresh. Aside from saving you the time and effort of touching up next time you use them, this is the best for linens.
Everyday placemats look perky and fresh when starched with Faultless, and the fabric will repel soil and will wash clean more easily.