Best Ironing Tips 

By  Enda McLarnon

It is a fact of life that most of the world do not enjoy ironing. To help with that we have put together some great and handy ironing tips, that you may find very useful indeed.

We have included some general ironing tips, and also some that are more specific for certain types of garments like shirts and trousers. We trust that you will find them useful.

Ironing Tip 1 - Whaich Type of Iron Should You Use?

steam ironing tip 1

The Steam Iron

Most people will be familiar with the normal steam iron. That is the most basic type and on it you will have some steam to help with wrinkles and creases. There should also be a variable temperature setting, that allows you to change the temperature, depending on which material you are ironing.

Remember though that the iron’s temperature takes a little time to change when you alter the setting. You know it has changed when the indicator light comes back on. When lowering the heat setting, wait for the light to come on and then go off before ironing your clothe. You can read about steam irons by clicking here.

The Steam Generator Iron

steam generator ironing tip

These days many people have moved to the steam generator iron. This one cuts ironing time in half, and its popularity has risen a lot. With these types of iron, there is a large tank of water, and an iron with high pressure steam to really get through your ironing fast.

Many of these automatically adjust the temperature to suit the material being ironed. That avoids burns and scorches.

You can read about steam generator irons by clicking here.

top ironing tips

Steam Ironing Presses

Some people with larger families also use a steam press, which is especially good for ironing larger items like sheets and blankets.

Those are also very good for ironing both shirts and trousers. Some people also prefer the trouser press, and this is a good choice for someone who has to iron a lot of suits and trousers, including jeans.

These are also what many of the professional ironing businesses use. They are also popular in B&Bs, hotels, nursing homes and hospitals. You can read about steam presses by clicking here. 

Garment Steamers

Garment Steamer

Finally there are garment steamers. They come in two types, portable and fixed. Many home are making the complete switch to these as they iron everything without actually doing any pressing. The steam generated by these is enough to iron the garment.

You hang the shirt or blouse for example on a hanger, and then run the garment steamer backwards and forwards until it is complete.The portable version is great for anyone who travels a lot.

Ironing Tip 2 - What Clothes Really Need Ironing?

There are actually any items of clothing, that can be taken straight off the washing line and folded away without the need for ironing. These include the smalls like socks and underwear. Most people don't iron sheets and blankets.

Any clothes that are made of "drip dry fabrics" also do not need ironing. It is often a very good idea to do a wash that is just made up of sheets and blankets. When they dry then fold them and put them away.

Keep your iron in the cupboard or on the shelf.

Ironing Tip 3 - Use a Good Fabric Conditioner

If you use a fabric conditioner, in the final rinse of your wash cycle, that does make clothes a great deal easier to iron. Almost all washing machines have a small dispenser where you can add a liquid fabric softener.

You put that in at the start, and it will then be done automatically on the final rinse.

The alternative to that is to use what are called dry fabric softeners. They come in the form of dryer sheets which you then add to the tumble dryer. Never add fabric conditioner directly to clothes as that can stain them.

Ironing Tip 4 - Check the Garment Label

On clothes there is, or should be, a label with washing instructions. Quite often these are very small and really hard to see. It is however worthwhile having a look at it, especially the first time you wash the item. They will always give you a washing temperature, that the garment should be washed at, for best results.

It should also state what temperature the garment should be ironed at. Both these temperatures are important.

Ironing Tip 5 - What Temperature Should My Iron Be At?

That does depend on the material you are ironing. With the steam generator irons, or any of the steamers it doesn't matter. It is primarily the steam that does the ironing so the actual plate of the iron does not really matter. You only need to be concerned about setting the temperature of the iron, if you are using a normal steam iron.

The best thing to do here is this. You should sort the clothes to be ironed into piles of linen, cotton and synthetics. You can then set the temperature of your iron to synthetics and iron the synthetics pile. Once done then increase the temperature to the cotton setting for your ‘cottons’ pile etc.

Ironing Tips Video

If you need a break from reading, then here is a useful video, with some very good ironing tips.

Ironing Tip 6 - Which Ironing Temperature for Which Fabric or Material?

Following on from the tip above, there are some general rules to follow, when ironing certain materials. It is quite a long list, so you can read about the temperature guide by clicking here to reading this article. In there I have covered this in a lot more detail.

Ironing Tip 7 - How to Avoid Shine Marks or Iron Marks?

My top ironing tip here is to iron delicate or fine garments inside out. That way if you do make a mistake the damage is on the inside of the garment. You should also use an ironing board that is well padded. You can check our list of the top 5 ironing boards by clicking here.

For very delicate garments use what is called a press cloth. That is usually something like a pillow case. You place that on top of the garment and then iron the pillow case, which protects the more delicate garment underneath. This should be used on woolen garments for example.

Ironing Tip 8 - How Do You Iron a Shirt?

This is one of the most asked questions ever. That is because shirts and blouses are a real pain to iron properly. There are many ways to go about this, and it is hard to argue which is best. I have completed an article on how to iron shirts, which you can read by clicking here. That article also included a couple of videos, where you can see the best way to do this.

Ironing Tip 9 - How Do You Iron Trousers?

Yes you guessed it, the second most asked question. How do your iron trousers and/or jeans? It does of course depend on the type of trousers such as dress, pants or jeans. It also depends a lot on the material, such as denim, cotton, polyester etc.

I have completed an article on how to iron trousers and jeans, which you can read by clicking here. That article also included a couple of videos, where you can see the best way to do this.

Ironing Tip 10 - Can You Iron Clothes When They Are Wet?

You can take clothes directly from the washing machine after the spin cycle, and iron them while they are damp. The ironing is actually easier and it is much easier to get rid of all the wrinkles.

The heat from the iron also dries out the garments. However the shirt will not get completely dry. That means you either have to air it to get it dry, or hang it up outside. Doing that can be a real pain. It isn't something I would recommend, even if you need it for something to wear if you are going out for the night.

Ironing Tip 11 - How Do You Iron Delicate Fabrics?

If you have ever burned a silk scarf, or a nice new blouse, then welcome to the ironing club. You are not the first to do that, and you will certainly not be the last.

They key to ironing any delicate fabric is taking real care. If possible turn the garment inside out. Always use a pressing cloth so never place the sole plate of the iron directly on to the garment.

If you have access to a steam generator iron or a garment steamer use that, as it is a much safer method.I have done a full article on ironing delicate fabrics, which you can read about here.

Ironing Tip 12 - Why Do You Use Starch When Ironing?

Best Press Clear Starch

This was very much an old fashioned method ironing. It harks back to the days when men and women needed a stiff collar. It has certainly started to make a huge come back in the UK.

When clothes are washed they have a naturally tendency to shrink a little. Starch is used to then help stretch clothes back to their proper size. For example starch is mainly used on tablecloths, shirt collars and shirt cuffs. If you need something to look and feel crisp, then starch is a great solution.

Starch also forms a protective film on garments. That helps prevent stains and protects the fibre from wear and tear. You can buy liquid starch, but the most common is a spray starch, that comes in a spray can.

So there you have it folks, hopefully some useful ironing tips, that help get things done quicker and safer.

Enda McLarnon owner of the Steam Gen Reviews UK website

Enda McLarnon

I hope that you find my How to articles helpful as I know that laundry can be a real chore. On this website, I have tried to help out with buying guides and reviews for the many forms of ironing and other laundry issues.

Enda McLArnon

We have chosen products we think you will really like and may earn a commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust our reviews and recommendations.

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September 16, 2023

In this article we explain how to wash

March 6, 2018

Aside from ironing board covers, and cleaning a

August 18, 2016

If you have ever wondered how to iron

June 14, 2015

Believe it or not one of the most