A Steam Iron, also known as a clothes iron, is a common household appliance used to remove wrinkles from clothing. A typical home appliance, it is usually made of metal with a fabric-covered heating element at the base which produces steam when heated. Electric irons are long-lived, stable workhorses that can help remove or reduce wrinkles in clothing.
Types of steam irons
There are a few different types of steam irons. A fabric press, for example, is a type of iron that has a valve at the base which allows steam to escape so you can press clothes flat. Another type of iron is a clamshell iron, which is an old style that’s been discontinued because the opening is very small and difficult to use. It also makes it difficult to move around on garments as well as to remove wrinkles from delicate fibers.
The last type of iron is the high-end, full-steam model that can smooth out even the toughest wrinkles in fabrics. This type of iron uses a much larger opening at the base which allows it to cover more surface area faster than other models.
Why use steam Iron?
Steam irons are not always better than dry irons when it comes to removing wrinkles. In fact, some fabrics will require a dry iron to remove wrinkles because the fabric can be damaged if too much steam is applied. For example, silk and wool are materials that do not require any moisture at all and can be ruined if they get wet. Cotton and linen garments benefit from the application of steam since it relaxes the fibers and reduces or eliminates wrinkles.
If you’re in a hurry and need to remove the wrinkles quickly, an iron that uses steam is preferable. There are several different types of irons available and most of them use steam in some fashion — even the old-fashioned dry irons release a small amount of water vapor when they heat up.
How to use a steam iron?
It’s fairly simple to use a steam iron. First, plug it in and allow the iron to heat up. When the indicator light shows that the iron has heated to the point where it can be used, unplug it and place your garment on an appropriate work surface (for example, a hanger or board). Place your fabric over the area of the garment that needs to be pressed. Hold the iron above the material and carefully move it back and forth over your clothing while vaporizing moisture onto the fabric. Beware not to direct steam into areas where it can damage or shrink your clothes. You should also avoid any labels on garments which may tear easily if ironed directly.
Steam Ironing Tips
- Prepare the Garment Steaming clothing well is essential for getting wrinkles out without damaging it. To prepare your garment, make sure you turn off the steam function before you take the item from the board. For stubborn wrinkles that stick out, hold the steaming iron 2″ away from the fabric. You may have to apply pressure on certain areas of the garment, but do not push down too hard.
- Ironing Regular Clothing For regular clothing, turn your steam iron to medium-high. Most irons need water refills after every 6-8 minutes. Keep a one cup (8 oz) glass measuring cup filled with tap water and pour in the refill as needed. If your iron is really dirty or clogged, you can try to remove mineral deposits from it by filling the iron with 2 Tbsp of baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup of vinegar as well as some water. Set the steam iron to “steam” and let it sit until the deposits dissolve. Then, unplug and allow it to cool before you rinse out the mixture and re-fill with fresh water.
- Ironing Delicate Fabrics For delicate fabrics such as silk or wool, use a dry iron with consideration for how long you press down on the fabric. Turn the heat down to about “2” and make sure you cover both sides of the garment. Unplug your iron after each use.
- Ironing Pleated Clothes To get perfect pleats, start by pressing up from the bottom toward the top edge with a dry iron. Then press from left to right across the pleat to help smooth out any wrinkles.
- Ironing Shirts For long-sleeved shirts, place the cuff flat on the board and make sure it’s well centered before you press. The sleeve needs extra attention when ironing because of its many seams and edges like where the armscye meets the sleeve seam, at the underarm, and at the collar.
- Ironing Pants To iron pants, start with the cuffs and press each leg separately by placing it in front of you on a board. Next, turn your attention to the waistband and fly: make sure these areas are smooth and flat before moving to creases and seams. Unfold pleats and creases before you press them open.
- Ironing Skirts To help prevent burns, be sure to pay extra attention when ironing the waistband of a skirt. The easiest way is to turn skirts inside out before you begin ironing.
- Ironing Jackets If you see your garment’s care label says “Dry Clean Only”, turn the item inside out and use a dry iron to remove wrinkles. If your jacket can be washed, you may choose to place it in the washing machine with a damp cloth or wet washcloth without any fabric softener.
- Ironing Curtains Curtains are often made from synthetic fibers that cannot withstand high heat levels