9 Tips for Easy Ironing

Speed household ironing chores by knowing what to press and how to press it.

1. I iron, ergo I am. Proper ergonomic alignment speeds the ironing process and avoids backache. Adjust the ironing board to hip level; when holidng the iron, your elbow should be bent at a 90-degree angle and your shoulder should move freely.

2. Clean the scene. Before turning on the heat, check the iron's soleplate for built-up residue. Remove any deposits before ironing: scorch or soil is a drag on the soleplate and can be transferred to clean clothing.

3. Know your clothes. Read clothing care labels and match iron temperatures to the garment's fiber content. If in doubt about a garment's fiber content, set the iron on the low side of the temperature dial.

4. Duck a dirty job. Never press soiled or dirty clothing. The iron's heat will set stains and body soil and intensify odors in the fabric. Heat plus dirt equals a fine mess, so keep clothing sweet by washing or dry-cleaning before you press.

5. Into the mist. Keep a spray bottle filled with water close at hand. A quick spritz of water releases any accidental creases and makes pressing chores fly. For a scent-ual touch, fill the ironing spray bottle with linen water: water infused with nonstaining fragrances. Find linen water at bath and bedding shops.

6. Go with the grain. Just as you sand a wooden table, iron with the grain, not against it. Ironing across thread diagonals causes fabric to buckle and stretch.

7. A pressing matter. The press cloth is your friend! Use this rectangle of tightly woven cotton cloth as an intermediary between the iron and the garment to guard against shine when pressing on othe right side of wool or delicate fabrics.

8. Keep it moving, keep it light. Keep the iron moving and the pressure light. Pressing too hard flattens fiber nap and stresses reinforced areas like pockets, while a slow iron is more apt to scorch or burn fabric.

9. Hang 'em high! When you've finished pressing, hang the garment immediately. Freshly ironed clothing is vulnerable to wrinkling in the first several hours. Allow clothes to cool and dry completely before placing them in a closet or bureau drawer.

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