It’s a well known fact that people don’t like ironing – it’s one of the most hated household chores and a recent survey showed that about 50% of respondents said they didn’t like it doing it. The same survey revealed that less than 10% of men do the ironing (we’ve got more important things to do).
So if you’re one of those 10%, here is your ultimate ironing tips cheat sheet on irons and ironing. But keep it to yourself!
There are two types of iron: the steam iron, and a steam generator iron. The former is the traditional hand-held iron with a small built-in water tank. The latter is a two-piece unit with a lightweight hand-held iron coupled to a larger separate unit. The unit has a boiler and a larger water tank. This is much more powerful and can produce more steam before a top-up is required – the downside is that these units are quite bulky.
Like everything these days, there’s a fair bit of jargon surrounding irons – here’s a run down of the things you need to know:
Continuous steam: quoted in grams per minute, the amount of steam an iron can output
Steam shot: many models will also have a burst shot of more powerful steam – helpful for really thick fabrics like your best denims or those thick curtains in your home-cinema room
Pressurised and non-pressurised: a pressurised generator will effectively boost the steam out pushing it deeper into the fibres of the garment. Cheaper units tend to be non-pressurised
Soleplate material: The best irons will have a ceramic soleplate to give the smoothest gliding and best stain resistance, while a stainless steel soleplate is almost as good. Really cheapo irons may have aluminium or what they call “non-stick” soleplates (which probably will stick)
Watts: The higher the wattage the quicker the heat-up times will be and the shorter your drudgery at the ironing board!
Bar: the measurement of steam pressure. 5 is about average while 6 is a lot more powerful.
A Word about Water
Normal tap water is ok to use in modern irons – don’t use treated water or girly perfumed water as the chemical additives can cause some of the fine plumbing to get bunged up over time and it’ll start spitting brown stuff over your best shirts. If you really want to add extra fragrance then one in a spray to spritz on your laundry is better for the health of your Iron.
If you live in a hard water area (most of England) then remember to perform the calc-clean procedure as advised by your iron manufacturer. This usually involves a couple of rinsing-out operations over the sink. Tip: If you can’t be bothered with this get a Tefal steam generator. Costs a few more £££’s but their patented system collects all the calcium as a solid block meaning no rinsing out required.
What to Buy
So if you’re looking to buy a new steam iron, here are some ideas about which ones to buy. If you only do a bit of ironing here and there, then a steam iron should be fine – most over about £40 today are quite powerful. If you are tied to the ironing board more than you’d like then invest in a more powerful steam generator.
Image is Everything: If a brand name and good looks are important then it has to be Bosch (yes, the same guys that make all your favourite power tools). Most of their steam generators are gloss black and look the business. The TDS3771 even has some metallic red panels and go-faster stripes!
Geeks Choice: Multi Function: A true all-rounder, the Morphy Richards 330009 is not just a steam generator but a 12-in-1 steam cleaner with a range of useful attachments for round-the-house cleaning tasks.
I Haven’t a Clue: If you’re still foxed by steam shots, pressure settings and questions like “Can I iron my cashmere waistcoat?” then take a look at the Philips PerfectCare range of steam generators. There are no settings at all – just plonk the item on the board, run the iron over it and you’re done. The iron cleverly handles all the heat and steam settings for you. It seems to really work too!
If you’ve read this far, you can now confidently claim to be an expert on ironing related matters – just be careful who you tell – you’ll have everyone lining up with their baskets at the door!
If you’ve 60 seconds Free please head over to UK Steam Irons to complete their quick survey about ironing.
For more buyers impartial advice from the experts head to: http://www.uksteamirons.co.uk/steam-irons-buyers-guide