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Ironing tips?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I hate ironing,and avoid it as much as possible. But I love the feel of fine cotton against my skin,and don't always care to spend the extra money to have my shirts dry cleaned and pressed,when the results aren't noticably better than I suspect that I could do myself. So,does anyone have any ironing tips that they'd care to share,that produce great looking shirts,without too much time or effort? I'm aware that Brooks Brothers and Nordstrom carry 100% cotton No-Iron shirts. Does anyone have any experience with them? How do they feel,compared to an untreated 100% cotton shirt,as far as hand,breathability,etc. ? Thank you for your help..
post #2 of 14
Ugh, as much as I hate wrinkled shirts, I can't stand the feel of "no-iron" shirts. Only 100% cotton for me, or even better, cotton/linen shirts - no starch on anything. However, I haven't tried those brands mentioned, so maybe they are better... As far as tips, the best tip I know of is to spray a dry shirt with a water bottle, then wrap it up in a towel for an hour or so. It comes out perfectly damp, making ironing a lot faster and gets out the toughest wrinkles. Another tip, don't be a perfectionist. I need to heed this tip myself, sometimes I'm too anal. Just know that 100% cotton shirts are sure to wrinkle quick, so don't sweat the small stuff.
post #3 of 14
This is something I wrote in another forum on this subject. It won't help a bit but here goes: IMO drycleaning ruins shirts. My recipe is: Wash at 40C (100F), spin very lightly, do not use a dryer. Try to put the shirts on hangers to dry as soon as the washing machine stops and stretch the seams lightly and tidy up the shirt. Some say to iron the shirts while damp but it does not really work as the top part is then dry and the bottom, along with the collar and cuffs, are too wet to iron properly. Iron while watching TV with steam, and the heat on medium setting. If some shirts are difficult to get flat, spray them with water and put them in a plastic bag for 1/2 hour before ironing. Better yet, if it's raining or humid outside, hang the shirt on the balcony (out of the rain) for 10 minutes. 5-7 minutes a shirt is a reasonable time so a one hour TV slot will give you up to 10 shirts . B
post #4 of 14
I also hate ironing. It seems like I have never found a way to iron shirts without spending too much time or effort. Therefore I quit ironing a few years back and use the dry cleaner instead. My time is worth far more than what I pay the cleaner. For me itss a no brainer. Plus I sucked at ironing anyway.
post #5 of 14
I have to say that ironing has always been a pain. I remember getting a top of the line Rowenta a few years back to see if it might help - it didn't help much. I wonder if the current top of the line models are any better and if I should upgrade - any feedback would be appreciated. Back to the topic. I have tried the Brooks Brothers no iron shirts, and even though they are 100% cotton, they just don't feel the same as a good regular cotton shirt. I still used to wear them to work when I had no choice, but if I had the time to iron a shirt I'd prefer to wear an ironed regular cotton shirt. I don't think it would hurt to buy a few no-iron in a couple of standard shades to keep around for emergencies. One other thing - despite being "non-iron" they were always helped by a touch up with an iron. The other thing that really helped, especially when travelling, was to hang the shirt in the hotel bathroom while showering. The small bathroom usually fills up with a large amount of steam and that helped the look of the shirt coming out of a suitcase tremendously. One other thing I did (and I don't take any responsibility for what you do to your irons or yourselves) was to open up my iron and tinker with the thermostat device to get it go quite a bit hotter on its settings. It now has the ability to burn a garment if one is not careful. I almost never use it on full setting (except maybe on linen), but even on a lower setting it gets warmer than it ever could on its previous maximum setting. This IMO helps me run the iron over the fabric for much less time, and I now need maybe 2-3 passes at most to get a shirt or pair of trousers nice and flat. Using a spray bottle (or the iron's spray feature) helps tremendously also. This modification seems to have cut my ironing time in half. However one muct be extremely careful to not let it be in contact with one area of the fabric for too long. I think that professional irons go hotter than store bought ones, because there is no way that a professional cleaner can be even reasonably efficient if they need 8-9 passes over the fabric to get it flat and crisp.
post #6 of 14
I wash my shirts by hand, spin them in the washer to get rid of most of the water (like with jeans) then lay them to dry slightly before ironing them. They should not be damp (drying with an iron is pointless) but barely moist, even less wet than a wrung out towel. I then use the cotton setting on my iron (hot enough for me) and give everything a pass with the lengthwise grain of the fabric. Truth be told, I'm not so much concerned with speed as I am with a good job (obviously from my description above ) but it doesn't take me long to iron a shirt... 2-3 minutes tops. For me the trick is getting into a rhythm and pattern: I do the arms and cuffs first, then the collar and yoke, then I move from one placket across the back to the other side. One or two passes of the iron should be sufficient to smooth out and wrinkles. Consider what ironing does to a good cotton shirt in the first place: you're gently stretching and refining the fibres (which is why I always go lengthwise with the grain, never side/side with the warp/weft - stretch it too much this way and you can get puckering in some areas). An iron should never be pressed, but smoothed around (I'd use the word carress but is sounds stupid ) - pressing does nothing to smooth/stretch/refine the fabric. I'm always careful with collar points, always iron in a direction opposite to the collar point, or else you're apt to stretch the fabric towards the point, creating a bulge or big wrinkle. Iron from a seam into the centre (especially with cuffs.)
post #7 of 14
I have to admit, ironing is one of the few things I actually quite enjoy in life. How well a shirt irons is also an excellent gauge of the quality of your shirt. That being said, the heavier the iron, the better. My mom has a vintage iron (I think from the 40's or 50's) that weighs a ton, but does a phenomenal job. I keep meaning to steal it from her everytime I visit home, but it's just too damn heavy.
post #8 of 14
This is a timely topic for me because I am considering giving up on dry cleaners. They do fine with the cloth of a shirt, it's the buttons they keep frying to a crisp, leaving the buttons in easily breakable halves or thirds. In the end, the button breaks and falls off, or I pick it off in disgust. This happens even on brand new shirts coming back from their first dry cleaning. The only solution my feeble mind can think of to remedy this is to start ironing my shirts myself. I don't do ironing often, but I find it makes for a nice pause in an otherwise hectic lifestyle. But, I've only ironed tableclothes and napkins (my wife makes me do it before we host big dinners at home). Those are simple. Shirts I'm less confident in doing. I know I could try other dry cleaners but I'm too cheap to pay more for better service than I get now at $0.99 per shirt. Any ideas?
post #9 of 14
The laundering and ironing tips of custom shirtmaker Alexander Kabbaz are here. They've worked for me... Also, I tend to iron all my dark-colored shirts (especially black) inside out.
post #10 of 14
Speaking of dry cleaners breaking buttons, I just got a shirt back and one button was completely broken and 3 others are chipped. I didn't notice until I was wearing it and it really annoyed me. The button they broke was on my left cuff and the button they replaced it with only has 2 holes for the thread (while all the others have 4) in it and doesn't even look right with the rest of the buttons on my shirt. Now I need to find some nice buttons that will match the shirt. Out of curiosity, how exactly do they manage to break the buttons? I was quite surprised because the cleaners I go to are usually quite good and know how to treat good clothes. Anyway.. I actually enjoy doing my own ironing although it takes me a long time. The only time I send shirts to the cleaners is when I need to get a stain out.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Out of curiosity, how exactly do they manage to break the buttons? I was quite surprised because the cleaners I go to are usually quite good and know how to treat good clothes.
I presume the shirt has genuine mother-of-pearl buttons. They are very hard and break easily, particular with the heavy machinery a commercial laundry employs. Plastic buttons, which are softer, do not break but they can melt when too much heat is applied.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
I have to say that ironing has always been a pain. I remember getting a top of the line Rowenta a few years back to see if it might help - it didn't help much. I wonder if the current top of the line models are any better and if I should upgrade - any feedback would be appreciated.
While I agree that a heavier iron is much better -- my father's staff use a cast iron thing that looks and feels like a streamlined anvil, but works absolutely beautifully -- my only iron for the last couple years has been a dual-voltage 1/2 scale travel steamer iron by Kenwood that was about e20 at one of the German electronics/appliance chains (Media Markt, Saturn, etc.). It gets sufficiently hot, is very easy to move around delicate parts of fine shirts, and even the spray works quite well. Honestly, I can't think of anything a more expensive iron would do better than this one. But, BE CAREFUL about the water you use. I ruined a very nice shirt by ironing with Berlin tap-water; apparently their water is very chaulky, and using it burned a residue permanently into my shirt. Since then, I've always used distilled water. If asking for distilled water for your iron whilst travelling sounds affected, simply ask for a bottle of Vittel to drink and pour it into the iron when nobody's looking. Peace, JG
post #13 of 14
Quote:
[While I agree that a heavier iron is much better -- my father's staff use a cast iron thing that looks and feels like a streamlined anvil, but works absolutely beautifully -- my only iron for the last couple years has been a dual-voltage 1/2 scale travel steamer iron by Kenwood that was about e20 at one of the German electronics/appliance chains (Media Markt, Saturn, etc.).
I hear you Joe G....my mom has this ancient iron (I think it's from the 40's or 50's) that weighs ten thousand pounds but really does a fantastic job. Thanks for the tip about the German water...I'll be going there sometime in the fall and would have had a very unpleasant surprise ironing my shirts there otherwise.
post #14 of 14
Always use de-mineralized or distilled water (available from drugstores and grocery stores) to keep the iron's insides and steam portholes clear of mineral deposits that can build up. Some irons are designed to use regular tap water, but it's still wise to avoid tap water that is "hard" (high in mineral content) or has been softened by a commercial process. Andy
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