Iron Linens Like a Pro

Posted by on 10/21/2017 to News
I have a confession: I love to iron linens, but I hate to iron clothes. I spend hours and hours every week ironing vintage linens, yet I found I wanted to learn more to make the job easier and produce the best results. Here are the tips I learned about ironing; I'm skipping any info on ironing clothes because I don't usually buy clothes that need to be ironed. Here are some tips I've gleaned and am putting into use:

  • Iron in a well lit room. As I get older I need more light and have been adding lamps in the rooms where I most often iron. I hate to have ironed an item only to find that when I spread it out to photograph it that there's a crease I missed.
  • Get the best iron you can afford. Better irons heat to a higher temperature. Heavy irons work your arm a bit more but produce better results. I'm hoping to buy a super nice iron one day, but my vintage "American Beauty" iron from the 1930's is currently the favorite tool I own.
  • Iron in the bedroom, and you can lay out pressed items on the bed.
  • Put a layer of aluminum foil under your ironing board cover. This reflects heat back up from the bottom to produce great results. Excuse me, I'm going to go do this right now.
  • Don't iron in circular strokes as this can stretch the fabric, which is especially aggravating on pillowcases where you'll see the error of your ways when you reach the seams. Iron lengthwise and spray the area with steam or water from your spray bottle.
  • Never iron something that's dirty. You'll probably cause that stain to settle in permanently. 
  • Iron cotton and linen items while they're still damp; lighter weight items can sometimes even be ironed straight out of the washer.  Make sure you hang them up to finish drying completely as you don't want them to get moldy when you stack them in the linen closet. I got one of those old fashioned laundry racks to put freshly ironed items on that may still be damp.
  • Try ironing linens - especially items with embroidery - on the wrong side of the fabric as this is less likely to flatten out those sweet little details on your vintage linen items.
  • To prevent dark fabrics from getting shiny from ironing, place a slightly damp tea towel on the item before ironing.
  • When ironing large items such as tablecloths and curtains, set up 2 chairs to spread the item over as you iron it so it doesn't spill into a pile on the floor where it can get wrinkled again.
  • Iron pleats or ruffles by working from the inside of the pleat or ruffle to the outside. If you're using a steam iron then it helps set them if you blast them with a shot of steam.
  • You can make your own starch very inexpensively and it won't have nasty chemicals in it. You'll need
    • 1 tablespoon corn starch (purchased in the baking section of your grocery store)
    • 1 pint of water
    • 1-2 drops of essential oil if desired
    • Shake it up until completely incorporated in a spray bottle
I find ironing to be very therapeutic. It's a simple task that produces quick results, especially if you're ironing napkins or pillowcases. You get a lot done very quickly, yet it's a task that doesn't take a huge degree of concentration, It's a bit like meditating for me that's more productive than sitting somewhere doing nothing. Next time you're stressed, drag out the iron and set to a simple ironing task and see if you don't agree.