Ironing Tips and Advice

You might be raring to go with new your new steam iron or steam generator iron but stop! Here is some practical advice to get the best from your iron, and keep your clothes looking good as new.

General Ironing Advice

  • Never iron clothing which has been stained. You should always wash the garment thoroughly first, and then iron. If you don't, the heat of the iron could seal the stain in forever.
  • Iron any dark garments inside out - this prevents the fabric from becoming 'shiny'
  • You should only use filtered water if you live in a hard water area. This will prevent limescale build-up which can reduce the performance and life of your iron. Hard water areas include most of South East England, East Anglia, the Midlands and the North East.
  • Clean your iron's soleplate regularly with a damp cloth when the iron has cooled down.
  • Use the jet clean facility to keep the water valve, steam chamber and steam vents clear of lint and loose mineral deposits.
  • A light scorch mark on white cotton caused by an iron can often be removed by putting a small dot of detergent on the mark and leaving it to bleach in the sun.
  • Ironing shirts: The key is to start with a slightly damp garment and then start ironing at the top of the shirt and work your way down. Iron the collar first and then the yoke, the bit along the shoulders, then the sleeves. Next iron the back of the shirt and then finish with the two front panels. You could also use a squirt of starch to achieve a really crisp finish. But be quick - it can stick to the soleplate and burn.

Using Steam

In general terms, you can use steam whenever you're ironing non-delicate garments or household items. If you are not familiar with the steam operation of your iron, here are a few pointers:

  • You should firstly refer to your iron manufacturers instruction guide to familiarise yourself specific operating instructions.
  • Then fill but don't overfill your iron's water tank.
  • Try a few 'test runs' on a pillow case or tea towel. This way, you'll become familiar with what your steam settings do and how it feels when you're holding the iron.
  • Most steam irons provide both a spray and a shot of water/steam, so try out both.
  • All garments iron better when they are slightly damp, so if yours are already dry, use the water spray to dampen them.

Ironing board buying tips

  • Ensure it's fully adjustable for height, so you don't get a sore back from bending over it.
  • Rigidity is also important, if the board is continually flexing then you also get a sore back.
  • A mesh ironing board is much better than a solid one, especially if you do a lot of ironing. A mesh board allows the heat and steam to penetrate through your clothes. A solid one prevents the heat from circulating and tends to hold on to the moisture which can make clothes more damp than you really want.