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A pressing situation

picture of Iron

I have to admit it — I like to iron. I sometimes put if off because it does take some effort to set up the ironing board and then gather everything together. But after I get everything set up and ready I tend to enjoy the task.

My mom enjoyed ironing. She even "took in ironing" for a time when I was a child to make a little extra money. I remember her spreading out the clothes on the kitchen table and then sprinkling them with water that she had in an old glass pop bottle with a sprinkler top. She would then put the clothes in a special plastic bag which closed with a zipper and store them in the refrigerator overnight. It was kind of fun to iron those cool clothes on a hot summer day.

My sister and I both started our ironing career with little toy irons and we each had our own little metal folding ironing board. Ironing with the electric iron was more difficult for me when I was a young girl since I am left-handed. The irons in those days had a hard protruding cord on the right side which got in the way if you tried to hold the iron in your left hand. As a result I learned to iron right-handed.

I think one thing that is enjoyable about ironing is seeing the garment improve in appearance right before your eyes. It can go from a wrinkled, tangled mess to a crisp new looking item in a manner of minutes. I also enjoy the smell of the spray starch and the lavender ironing water. I like to sleep on crisp, clean, scented pillow cases.

It helps when ironing to have a well padded ironing board and an iron with a large water tank so there is plenty of steam. I saw some beautiful patterned ironing board covers at TJ Maxx recently. I may have to look into purchasing one of those the next time I need a new cover.

I usually have some sort of sewing project going so I often catch up on my ironing while I have the ironing board up to press my latest creation.

I haven't always been as diligent about keeping up with my ironing. Years ago a sewing teacher showed our class how she always turned her garments inside out and pressed the seams flat each time she washed them to help keep them looking their best. I was also convicted after reading an article by a pastor's wife who mentioned that keeping her husband's clothes clean and well pressed was one way that she could help him in his ministry. I have found that careful laundering and pressing can help make older (or second-hand) clothing look nicer and last longer. It's also more comfortable to wear a smooth, wrinkle free garment.

I know a number of people who never iron--some noticeably so. Others are just careful about removing their clothing from the dryer and hanging or folding the clothes properly so they don't wrinkle.

How about you? Are you a frequent ironer?


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11 Comments on “A pressing situation”

  1. #1 Carrie
    on Jul 10th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    I’m pretty neutral about ironing. I do tend to let it pile up. I started out pressing my dad’s handkerchiefsj(!) and shirts. One time I thought it would be funny to leave one of his sleeves wrinkly–then he took of his suit jacket during choir practice, and he was directing! I about died of mortification!

  2. #2 Laura
    on Jul 11th, 2009 at 12:59 am

    I have to iron all my clothes – and have a great iron(er)! She is about 4′ 11″ tall. She also washes the clothes, cooks, and tells funny stories about her daughter! The joys of living on the other side of the world! I need a new ironing board cover, but I’ll send out to the tailor to have one made.

  3. #3 Deb
    on Jul 11th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Oh, Becka, how can you like ironing? I have to say that ironing is one of my least favorite chores! The standing for l-o-n-g periods of time plus getting so hot ironing make it very easy to put ironing off until …. well, maybe it’ll just go away! 🙂 Although I have to say I shouldn’t complain…while I’m ironing I can look out the front windows and see the Allegheny Mountains and out the back and see the Blue Ridge Mountains. With such beauty as this, I should plan a time to iron e-v-e-r-y day!!

    Oh, I remember the sprinkler bottles and putting the clothes in the fridge. And, did your mom ever go out and break off a cedar branch to run the iron over? Mine did, and the aroma was wonderful. I’m guessing it helped the iron run smoother over clothes and helped clean the iron plate. We’ve come a long way from sprinkler bottles and cedar to ironing with our amazing Rowentas!

  4. #4 Sharon
    on Jul 11th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Here’s a blog post you might enjoy. I love the fabric this lady used. I think I could enjoy ironing with a beautiful ironing board cover like hers.

  5. #5 heather
    on Jul 11th, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    I used spray starch for a while, but then I had trouble with what appeared to be something burned onto the iron. I assumed it was the starch, but maybe it was just because the iron was cheap. Does spray starch ever do that to you?

  6. #6 Marilyn
    on Jul 13th, 2009 at 3:28 am

    I enjoy ironing, too. It is prime “prayer time” for me. I try to pray for the person whose clothes I’m ironing, their family, extended family, special requests. Now that the nest is empty I don’t do it like I used to do.

  7. #7 Rhonda
    on Jul 13th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I, too, like to iron, Becka, but I tend to wait until I need something before I iron it–and then I’m in a hurry! I think it’s getting out the ironing board that I dislike, but I really hate to see an ironing board out when it’s not being used, so I always quickly put it away when I’m done. I remember the coke bottle with the spray top! My first major household chores assigned to me as a child were dusting and ironing. I used to iron my dad’s boxer shorts as well as his underwear t-shirts! I also ironed all of my mom’s “tea towels” that we used to dry dishes. Can you imagine? I don’t iron those items now–just clothes, usually, or table linens. However, the bed linens we used when we lived in Germany had to be starched and ironed–so that was a weekly job when we lived there. They were 100% cotton and NOT wrinkle-free. But I loved the look and smell of the freshly ironed linens. Like the locals, I would also put the goose-down pillows on the window sills to air while I did the bed laundry! In our German village, you could always tell when the lady of the house was washing her bed linens! 🙂

  8. #8 Cathy Cockrell Lane
    on Jul 13th, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Becka REALLY does like to iron! When we were in college, she ironed most of my clothes. We had a system going, she ironed my stuff and I typed all of her papers. She hated to type and I hated to iron. I had this 100% cotton oxford cloth shirt that took about 45 minutes to iron. I still think I got the better part of that arrangement. Actually, can you come for a visit soon as I have a laundry room full of golf shirts and shorts that need ironing!

  9. #9 Becka
    on Jul 17th, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Heather, I have had that problem with spray starch building up on the bottom of the iron too.My last iron had a teflon sole plate and nothing seemed to build up on it.
    The iron I have now has a stainless steel sole plate and I have had to clean it.
    I got some iron cleaner at a local fabric store and you just rub a bit of it on the sole plate with a cloth and it cleans it right up. After you clean it you need to run the iron over an old towel or something to make sure nothing will come off on the clothes the next time you iron.
    Another tip I have found to help prevent problems with your iron is to always empty it completely while it is still hot. The heat from the iron will dry out the inside and prevent rust from building up. If you live in an area with hard water you may need to clean your iron from time to time with white vinegar to cut down the mineral deposits which can plug the steam vents. Hope this helps you enjoy ironing more!

  10. #10 Kathie
    on Jul 20th, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Hi Becka, I’ve been too busy for blog reading lately, but this morning I am enjoying catching up on my favorite blogs. I love to iron! The way you describe your mom ironing…I could have written that! I had a very busy childhood, so maybe that’s why I fondly remember ironing…it was the one time each week when my mom stayed in one place for a while. Anyhow, I have a sprinkler just like mom’s:

    I love to use it. Thanks again for a nice post.

  11. #11 Mel
    on Jul 26th, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    I enjoy ironing–although I am not as diligent as my mother. She ironed my father’s undershirts, our pillow cases, and all the little ribbons on our underwear! There are some things I iron that I wish I did not have to iron–the collars on my husband’s polo shirts. Why do they curl in such odd places? Tea towels. I wish I did not have to iron them, but they are just too wrinkled without ironing.

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