How Much Do You Iron?

aloha2009December 20, 2011

We're in the process of remodeling our utility room. The PO had a built in ironing board and we found a clever way of incorporating it into a major remodeling of the area. We're in the process of framing now but got to thinking if we'd use it much.

It was so inconvenient to iron before because of several issues so often we'd just contend with a few wrinkles. Initially we thought if it was convenient we'd use it more often, but then are we kidding ourselves. We're also concerned about obsolesence since we'd be "hiding" it behind a full 18" door to the floor, leaving the area good for nothing else. I know I iron substantially less then I did 40 years ago and wondering what you think about the future of ironing.

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Before marrying DH, I had a house with 4 bedrooms - much more than I needed. So, I had an ironing board set up all the time in one room and I used it all the time - even for those few little wrinkles. I know my clothes looked better because of it.

After marriage, blending families, and moving into DH's house, I would have to pull out the ironing board when I wanted to iron. Consequently, I only ironed when absolutely necessary. But I do miss not looking quite as "crisp" as I used to when ironing was easy.

We moved into a larger home and I am thinking of installing the ironing board pictured below to our master closet (when we redo it - soon I hope!). I really hope this will be easy to deploy and return.

If I was building, I would definitely try to install an ironing board - such as you are talking about. I would need it easy to use, have an iron sitting in the same spot with a plug for the iron, and I would need good lighting and enough space to not feel cramped. Then I would use it often. I hope I get these things with my master closet reno!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:43PM
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Ironing is a personal thing. I love to iron (well I don't "love" to iron but I love the look of pressed things).

I moved my laundry room out of my kitchen and into my basement for more space.

My husband wears good quality dress shirts that we launder at home (he irons those thank goodness). I iron tea towels, sheets/pillow cases, lots of clothes).

In fact, I keep hoping Santa will bring me one of these - would make sheets SO much easier. I'm afraid at that price it could be a long time ... :)

The ironing board used to always be up in my kitchen or dining room and now it's up 24/7 where no one but me can see it and it's so much easier to iron items on the fly.

@jeri, that's a pretty cool board!

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele Rotary Iron

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 2:12PM
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Jeri, I think I'm right with you, if it's convenient I iron more, less convenient, I do it only when absolutely necessary. As we were trying to decide this we too started thinking about putting it in our master closet. There would be just enough room for it, though we'd have to locate an outlet. I've always preferred to iron something just prior to wearing it, instead of ironing a bunch and hanging them in the closet. IMO there is something about putting on freshly ironed clothes. Having to go to the other side of the house, even with the built in ironing board, I think I wouldn't iron nearly as often as in the master closet. That said, guests wouldn't have as easy an access and are very likely to need to freshen up something from suitcases.

Livebetter, these kind of boards aren't to expensive and they are very convenient! The rotary iron looks expensive.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 2:57PM
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I've always preferred to iron something just prior to wearing it, instead of ironing a bunch and hanging them in the closet

I hadn't thought of it - but I agree 100%! This is exactly what I used to do and what I want to do again. This makes me even happier with putting the ironing board in the Master Closet. I just hope this one is easy to use - I can't find any feedback on it.

Aloha - You can always keep a regular ironing board in the guest closet for guests? That would be a nice touch.

LiveBetter - When I read your post, I thought "If this person is ironing their sheets, they deserve a better press - no matter what it costs!" Then I followed the link. O.M.G.!!!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 5:50PM
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@jeri, nothing like crawling into crisp percale sheets that have been nicely pressed. I don't press the whole sheet ;) Just the top few inches of the flat sheet and the pillow cases. If I had that rotary iron, I'd do the whole thing.

That is true about ironing right before you put something on. If you can fit that in your master closet - go for it. I think it's pretty neat.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 6:04PM
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I have a built in ironing board in my laundry room that I use all the time . I love it that I can fold it out of sight quickly once I'm done. It is so much more convenient than getting a regular one out and putting it away.
In my last house, I just left the regular one up in my laundry room all the time.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 6:20PM
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I iron quite a lot and actually like doing it. Like livebetter, I iron my pillowcases and duvet covers (I don't use flat sheets, just duvet covers that get laundered weekly), dish towels, shirts, pants, etc. Anything that I think would look better ironed gets the treatment ;-) I like setting the ironing board in my kitchen/family room area and watching TV while I iron. For me the quality of the board is more important than anything else (in other words, I'd rather have a large sturdy board even if it needs to be folded and put away than a flimsy board that is accessible all the time).

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 6:55PM
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I do a lot of ironing because we wear a lot of cotton clothing. If I could leave my ironing board up in the laundry room, I would, but there is not enough space. So... I let the ironing collect for a while and iron once a week.

The nice thing about having a moveable ironing board is that I can bring it out into the family room and watch TV while I iron. Today, I ironed a 120+" long tablecloth and placed the ironing board in front of the dining table, so that the tablecloth would touch the floor. I also used my Marsha's Big Board for that project.

@livebetter - you might like one of the clamshell type presses that are portable. It would make short work of the hems on the bed linens. They come in various sizes and the larger ones are quite nice. I have a medium-size one and it does a gorgeous job on my linen dinner napkins, as well as the cotton ones. (Link below.) There are other brands for less money. These type presses show at Costco, from time to time. Sam's currently has one online-->
My neighbor uses hers to press tee shirts, etc. and her husband found one at a garage sale for $10 to have as a backup.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elna Press

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Cavimum, could you tell us (approximately) what your Elna press cost? Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 9:27AM
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@cryptandrus - I have an ElnaPress that is approx. ten years old. Seems like I paid around or less than $300 when I bought it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 3:33PM
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I used to iron a lot - especially duvet and pillow covers. Yes, ironed bedding is so nice. Also jeans as they never come out wrinkle-free from the dryer. But now, I don't even have an ironing board (just recently moved...) so good folding is the key for me. Actually surprising that even heavy duvet covers will become smooth that way. I usually put the most wrinkled set on the bottom and put lesser wrinkled sets on top - things press themselves so to speak. But ironing would still be nice.

I actually have another ironing system to add to this thread: my Karcher steam cleaner with iron accessory. Works like a regular iron but has lots more power. Sheets, I would fold twice and then just iron front and back. The steam easily makes it through several layers of fabric.

Maybe Santa will bring me an ironing board... (Now, did I really just say that? *lol*)


    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 8:29PM
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I iron all the time and I think any fixed-to-the-wall board is a royal PITA. They are never long enough and always seem to be even shorter feeling than they are since your wall-side arm space is limited.

A free-standing, large, well-padded ironing board (and a good iron) is not a luxury. Mingy, rickety, little boards are, IMO, what gives ironing a bad name. Good boards are not inexpensive, $25-35 dollar items.

I use two ironing surfaces: a board and home-made (from long-ago LR poster, Candide's, instructions) flat ironing table, plus an Elna-type press for dress shirts and an old Ironite rotary mangle. They live in my sewing room as my washing machines are in the basement and anything down there with fabric-padding could acquire a musty smell.

Ironing is a restful experience. Somewhat mindless, not energy-intense, very nice smelling and gives a real feeling of productivity (for the very modest effort needed), as well. I don't do sheets (these are hung to dry except for guest), but I do all pillow cases, and several dozens of napkins every week, tea towels and kitchen coths, tablecloths and placemats and all clothes that need it, mostly shirts, blouses, slacks, skirts, etc. I occasionally press woolens, but usually just hanging in a steamy rooms does the trick for those.

In hot weather, I can take my board outside onto the porch. The Ironrite and Elna press are too heavy to carry around, though.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:00PM
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@liriodendron - is your Elna Press larger than the tabletop type I linked in an earlier post? Mine is not light, but still fairly portable. I agree with you about having a decent ironing board. A lot of the new ones come with a lame foam padding. I prefer cotton padding, but not terribly thick.

I enjoy ironing because I see results from my efforts. I don't have room for a mangle, but people who have them do love them.

@whirlpooltrainee - the strength of your Karcher attachment sounds equivalent to my Rowenta steam generator iron. Often that strong burst of steam is all it takes for khaki shorts, barely touching the iron to the garment. I cannot iron without steam. Even my 'regular' iron has to have good steam output, or on it goes to GoodWill. ;-)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 10:44PM
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@liriodendron, I would give my right arm for a mangle! Well, not really, but you know what I mean. Like you, I find ironing very relaxing and restful - it's my form of meditation. And yes, a good quality (sturdy and large) ironing board is key. But in my experience, you have to spend $60-100 to get a really good ironing board. I have a large Brabantia board and love it.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 6:02AM
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Yes, it's essentially like your Rowenta - just bigger.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:48AM
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The ironing board in my sewing room is a fairly good one, but a Marsha's Big Board lives on top of it. I have not seen the original board (under it) in years.
For household ironing, I bought a Polder board from BB&B a few years ago. It seems Polder no longer makes it, but Reliable makes one that looks like mine. (link below)

Here is a link that might be useful: Reliable

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 11:02AM
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My Ironrite was an eBay find. We had to drive from northern NY to NE PA to pick it up. It cost about $100 and we bought it from the estate of its original owner. It is large and bulky but not (as often characterized here) impossibly heavy. I think it weighs less than 100 lbs. The case can be partly disassembled and we were able to fit it easily inside the trunk of our old SAAB (model with hatchback, not trunk). But it's too hard to take downstairs and outside just for an afternoon's work.

The Elna-type press (actually it is a Huskvarna) is another ebay purchase. I can pick it up (smaller size) but it is awkward and heavy (30 lbs?) so it geneally stays put on its stand.

I used to see Ironrites for sale on Ebay regularly. The first one or two offered in an area fetch high prices, but the next ones often go for a song as the initial demand has been met. They are not particularly energy-efficient appliances, but are the nuts for doing flats (like napkins and cases) at quite high speed. You have to have a flat space (or a hanging rod) to park the freshly pressed items right at hand in order to maximize your work speed. I only fold after all the items are completed and I am waiting for the mangle to cool down.

The Ironrite came with a manual that detailed how to use this ginormous ironing plate to press the ruffles around women's blouse collars and puffed sleeves. It can be done, but I find it tedious.

The Huskvarna press is best for routine pressing of men's shirts. But for my DH's best dress shirts, I use an iron and board. The Huskvarna press is also useful when I am sewing as it provides excellent seam pressing, with more steam and pressure than a regular iron.

If you've got your heart set on an Ironrite, keep an eye on eBay.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 3:26PM
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OMG ... have you seen this video for Ironrite? Cracks me up every time I watch it.

Man, I'm amazed at how she irons the dress shirt though!

I can't believe Ironrite saved Mary's life (and her looks and good disposition ... lol).

SUPER happy I wasn't alive in 1946 :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Making a New Day Out of Tuesday (1946)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 3:45PM
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@livebetter - I wonder when and where a video that long was shown.

@liriodendron - I took a closer look at my ironing board. It is not a Polder, but a Rowenta. Still a very sturdy, well-made board.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 8:10AM
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Wow, apparently I'm one of the few that does so little ironing! I never even realized all the possibilities for ironing devices...but I do HATE shopping.

I can see how much nicer having ironed pillowcases and jeans would be. We've got so much going on around us with remodeling, work and family gatherings, I can only dream about having enough time to have those little extra things nicer...a person has to pick and choose for the same 24 hours we all have.

We're going to test out our portable ironing board in our master closet. If it proves beneficial we may just permanently install the built in ironing board, otherwise be looking for it on CL.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 1:31PM
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I am laughing at this thread since I seem to only iron when I have time to do it (like the last two weeks of vacation from work).

One of the best purchases I ever made was my Elna Press -- I think I paid about $300 for it 10 years ago and it's been going strong ever since. When I get into a rhythm (like last night), I can usually press a dress shirt in less than 3 minutes. It was heaven to get caught up on my dress shirt pressing before going back to work tomorrow.

When I have the time to do it, I like to press t-shirts before folding them. It's so nice to slip into a crisp t-shirt or undershirt that's been pressed and folded perfectly. Okay, I'm showing my anal retentive side now.

I have been drooling over the Miele Rotary Iron for a while now. I still think it looks a little cumbersome to do dress shirts, but perhaps that's just because I know exactly how to do them on the Elna. I would love one of the Miele's simply to get my flat sheets pressed. I think it's too hard to press sheets on anything else, so I only do the pillow cases. But having stayed in a luxury resort last week where all of the linens were pressed...I was impressed.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 6:43PM
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When my kids were around 3 and 5, they were exploring a hotel room on a trip when I heard excited sounds of surprise and wonder. They emerged with an iron and asked, "Mom, what's this?!!"
We wear knits mostly and it's so humid here that hanging yields smooth (enough) clothes....

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 9:37AM
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>>How Much Do You Iron?>>

Ummm...seldom or never.

I used my iron more when I used to sew, because pressing as one sews makes certain things much easier. But now I've stopped sewing, so....the iron hasn't been out of its drawer in at least ten years, I'd say.

DH loves ironed pants. I'm thinkng of getting him one of those pants pressers. 'Cause realistically, I'm not doing that any longer.

I don't know a single one of my many Millennial friends who has an iron except for one who like me, occasionally sews and does crafts.

We're retired and practically live in micro-fleece. I call it 'the new retirement uniform'. WWII seniors wear those matching jacket/pants jogging outfits, and us Boomers are all wearing Columbia, North Face, or REI Co-op microfleece vests and jackets.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 2:00PM
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