Whether you consider yourself an ironing pro or are brand new to the task, avoid these common errors:
1. Ironing fabrics that are too dry.
Mist creases with your iron’s spray feature. This dampens and relaxes the fabric so when the iron passes over it, wrinkles vanish. Use the steam burst feature to give stubborn folds a blast.
2. Saving your delicates for last.
Irons take longer to cool down than to heat up, so start with materials needing the lowest temperature, like polyester and silk. Work your way up to cotton and linen. Do the reverse, and you risk melting the fabric.
3. Cranking up the heat.
If the garment is made of a blend, select the setting for the more delicate fabric. It will help you preserve the garment.
4. Not using tap water.
Today’s irons can handle tap water better than older models could. Unless your area’s water is extremely hard, there’s no reason to use distilled water. For areas with very hard tap water, mix it 50/50 with distilled.
5. Not cleaning your iron.
Melted fibers and sticky spray starch on your iron can snag and stain fabrics. Clean the iron’s soleplate with a baking soda paste when it’s cold or an iron cleaning paste when it’s warm.
6. Storing the iron with water in it.
Always empty the iron’s water tank before putting the iron away, especially if you store it on its soleplate. This keeps excess water from damaging the internal parts and leaking through and discoloring the soleplate.
7. Using the wrong ironing board.
In all our years of testing, ironing boards haven’t changed much — until now. Recently we came across the Flippr Rotating Ironing Board, an innovative board that flips. Button a shirt onto the board and iron both sides by flipping it! Use like a regular board for small pieces.
8. Not using a steam station for large loads.
If you iron in batches or do a lot of sewing or quilting, consider a steam station like our top pick, the Rowenta Perfect Steam Station DG8520. It has a large separate water tank with a hose that feeds steam to the iron. With no automatic shutoff, the heat stays constant for nonstop use.
9. Ironing fabric that is too loose.
For best results when using a handheld steamer, grasp hanging garments from the bottom and pull gently. For heavier fabrics that steam might not penetrate, turn the garment inside out and steam both sides.