Does anybody use & like a steam press?

marge727December 28, 2006

I have seen a steam press that looks like one the dry cleaners use except its counter top size. A neighbor has one and says she likes it for pressing flat stuff. I had never seen one before. Are they any good? Do you have one and if so, what kind?

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I use a Husquvarna steam press and an Ironrite rotary mangle.

I do my DH's dress shirts on the Husquvarna, but I use the mangle on all flats like napkins, pillow cases, sheets, etc. In theory one can do delicate work like puff-sleeved ladies blouses and ruffled lady's aprons on the mangle (and probably on the steam press) but I've never mastered the technique. The Ironrite makes flat work a breeze; it's so fast the biggest problem is making sure you have enough space to hang the just-ironed items as they cool.

Perhaps your friend would let you try out her machine a few times in order you see if you like using it.



    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 11:07PM
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thanks Molly --she's a new neighbor but I can ask. How big is the Husquvarna? the steam press I saw was only about 20 inches long or so. I can't picture doing dress shirts on it (and for heaven's sake don't mention that feature to my husband)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 12:47AM
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The bed of my steam press is 26" X 10" with part of one corner beveled like half of the pointy end of a conventional ironing board. Mine is an older model, a Huskypress 1600, that I got on eBay about 6 or 7 years ago. It weighs about 40 lbs so the shipping from Texas was significant.

You can still buy new steam presses, and can see them at higher-end sewing shops (though you might find them cheaper over the internet after you narrow your selection down). There is a famous brand (not Husquavarna, perhaps Viking?) that used to be top of the line, but recently I have read that they are no longer quite as good. It's a European, possibly Swiss brand, but the name esacapes me now. You might turn up the info by asking over on the laundry forum, or on a sewing forum.

Although mine doesn't, some steam presses draw so much current they need a 220V socket. This is not necessarily a bad thing. A poor heating steam press would be an incredible frustration.

My DH wears all-cotton or linen-cotton dress shirts which require a lot of heat, steam and pressure to get dry-cleaner flat. My steam press is quite portable, despite its weight and on very hot days in the summer I sometimes iron outside on the back porch. I roll the Ironrite out there too, and put clean sheets down on the floor and have a fine old time pressing my stuff! I know ironing is many people's most-hated chore, but to me it's very relaxing and satisfying to do. It makes order out of chaos faster than any other chore I know. (Plus I adore the smell of freshly pressed cotton!)

If you iron a lot of flats, you might look around for an old Ironrite rotary mangle. They are the nuts for that, and sometimes can be had quite cheaply since most people don't want them, or know what to do with them. They are often on eBay, and often start at silly high prices. There must be some "price guide" out there that people tap into. Sometimes they get no bidders, because you really need to be able to go get the thing as it is too heavy to ship. So if you find one near you, you might get a really good deal. We drove about 100 miles to pick up ours. It fit, with only minor disassembly, into the trunk of our SAAB.

Miele still makes home rotary mangles but they are very pricey (IIRC about $2,000+) which puts them out of my range. Though they are very nice looking, and probably easier to do other not-flat stuff like dress shirts than the Ironrite.



    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 3:13PM
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Thanks Molly. I will look and consider how hot they get. We live in SoCal and I don't have room for a mangle. I did use one when we lived in Upper Michigan (the UP) because in the winter it was nice working with something warm and steamy and we had a big laundry area because you had to hang clothes indoors.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 7:00PM
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Molly, maybe the brand you are thinking of is Elna? I don't know anything about their presses, but I love my sewing machine.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 4:55PM
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I own an Elna press and love it.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 12:10PM
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I was looking at several at our local fabric shops. I often iron large pieces of cotton for quilt backs, etc. Since the bed is no larger than my ironing board, I couldn't figure out how they would really be of any convenience. A mangle I could see would be nice. I was also seriously afraid I would burn the backs of my hands. I could see me not putting the top up enough.

I finally figured that I could at least get the iron board and iron out of my way, but since our laundry room does double duty as my seed starting space I didn't want this much space devoted to this product.

DH sends his shirts to the laundry and we don't have much in the way of flat goods I'm willing press anymore. I did iron the pillowcases for my mom's bed when she came to visit, but otherwise we end up being pretty wrinkled linen-wise.

What are you planning to use this for, Marge?

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of presses I was looking at.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 9:11PM
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Gloria, I was thinking it would work for quick pressing so I wouldn't have to have the ironing board in our laundry room, I could just put it on the counter. Actually you are right, if its smaller than an ironing board what use would it be. I have never ironed any pillowcases I guess I was thinking I could use it for cloth napkins (in the event I start getting classy and using them)and maybe start pressing slacks when they get wrinkled. I have an Iron away in the master closet, maybe I will just use that when I get in my Martha Stewart mode.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 5:21AM
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speaking of Martha--she has a mangle in one of her homes, and said at a company meeting that when she wakes up extra early and can't get back to sleep, she goes down to the basement and irons the napkins.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 10:44AM
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The next time I want to entertain my friends I am going to work that comment into my conversation and watch them get hysterical.
"Yes, Sue,sometimes I have trouble sleeping too, butI get up --go down to the servants quarters and iron napkins, I can get a couple hundred of them done before dawn."

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 4:47PM
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I wonder if they let her in the laundry room at the prison? Even I might consider ironing a pretty decent job in there.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 12:01AM
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Gloria, that laundry room must be where she hatched the system for folding tshirts and did those diagrams that are on her website. Only someone with lots of time on their hands could have thought that up.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 8:51PM
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I started doing tablecloths. Last night I spent 3 hrs. doing 8 tablecloths, I wonderng if a steam presser would help me. thier sizes are 54x120 and 90x90.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 9:45PM
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What you should make for your tablecloths is a large ironing table that fits over your folding ironing board.

There used to be a frequent poster (Cimberlie de Sade)
over on the laundry forum who posted instructions for making one that ran something like this:

Get a lightweight hollow core door and nail or screw on an underpinning that exactly fits the outline of your ironing board so you can use it (the ironing board) as the base. (I think you could also make some tallish saw horses, or even a pair of high backed chairs as a support for the door.)

Cover the door with a couple of layers of a wool blanket stapled around the edges an onto the back side. Cover the blankets in turn with a layer of thick cotton batting, and finally, with a layer made of a tightly-woven all cotton muslin sheet.

This gives you a large flat surface that minimizes the number of times you have to reposition and smooth the item. And that's the really time consuming part of ironing.

I would create a sheet-covered lower table on the far side of the ironing table to support the just ironed part as you go. In large households and commercial laundries there is an ironing helper to do this.
HTH, Molly

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 1:18AM
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Thank you Housekeeping, how would a ironrite work?

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 9:02PM
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I never did get the steam presser--but I went through my linen closet and got rid of the tablecloths that needed involved ironing. Now mine come out of the dryer, ready to put on the table. I saved space and Georgecarolyn--it apparently saves time as well.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 4:18PM
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An Ironrite works fine for tablecloths, but because they are so large (the tablecloths) some people find they have to iron them folded. I prefer not to do that because I think it's hard on the fabric to have a crease pressed in. Besides, in formal households the cloth should properly only have one crease down the center. (Plus it's wicked hard to get the crease perfectly straight on a large cloth, particularly older linen damask.)

To avoid the crease problem with a Model 85 Ironrite like I have, you can do some fancy manipulations and turn the tablecloth for every pass and start ironing in the center. The catch here is that very long and wide cloths are still complex to do and you need a helper and a clean drop cloth underneath to avoid soiling it when doing so many passes.

If you do a lot of tablecloths, making yourself an ironing table is by far the easiest and fastest way to go. The best thing about the ironing table I described above is that between ironing days you can stow it against the wall of a closet. (Let it cool completely and dry thoroughly, of course, before putting away.) As long as the table is not wider than you can easily reach across you can iron 27-32" at a time. Your 54" wide cloths would require only 4 adjustments; the wider ones would require three, but you'd have to turn it go back the other way because it is so wide. (Though you could certainly make yourself a table that was 90" long.) Still it would be very much faster than using even the widest snout-ended type of ironing board.

Where the Ironrite excells is on smaller flats like pillow cases, linen dish towels and cloth napkins. I can whip through those as fast as I can feed them under the mangle, meaning about 10-15 secs each for napkins and about 30 secs for pillow cases.



    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 2:31AM
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Hello to all. I was looking for a steam press for a little under a month (so many are out there). I wanted to share with everyone a little mistake on the part of a company that saved me $150. I found a steam press for $300, but then ever using a shopping comparison website I found the same steam press on the same website for $150! So I ordered it and it's fantastic! For any of you that are looking to get one, try the link below, I'm not sure how long until the company figures out their mistake!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Steam press mistake!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:30PM
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The $150 one is reconditioned, that's why it is cheaper.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:35PM
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Wow, how weird. The page has changed since last week, I guess they caught their mistake. Oh well, great while it lasted!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 3:47PM
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