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How to iron clothes: A practical guide

Find out how to iron a shirt properly, how to iron suit trousers or even how to iron T-shirts. Here’s our guide to how to iron clothes.

Updated

An iron propped up with a pile of t-shirts on the ironing board ready for ironing clothes

Key Steps

If you want to know how to iron clothes:

  • Check the care label and follow any ironing instructions.

  • Let the iron heat up before you start.

  • Different clothes require different ironing techniques. You can move the iron across a cotton shirt, but you should press suit trousers without moving the iron against the fabric.

  • Switch off and unplug as soon as you’re done.

Ironing’s simpler than it seems at first glance. Here’s our ironing guide, from general ironing tips to specific advice on how to iron clothes of all sorts.

Use ironing water in your steam iron to keep limescale from building up. There’s enough involved in learning how to iron clothes without having to worry about limescale flakes on your trousers.

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How to iron clothes: Iron safety

  1. Never leave a hot iron unattended

  2. Don’t touch the heated soleplate of the iron

  3. When you’re not actively using the iron, stand it upright on the ironing board

    Never leave it on your clothes.

  4. Switch off and unplug the iron as soon as you’re finished with it

  5. Let the iron cool down completely before you store it

How to iron clothes: Ironing tips

  1. Before you start ironing, check that it's suitable for your clothes

    Always check the care label first.

  2. Make sure your clothes are clean before you iron them

  3. Give your iron less work to do

    Using a fabric conditioner like Comfort Intense Fresh Sky in your wash will cut down on wrinkles

  4. If you’re using your iron’s steam function, put clean water in the reservoir before you plug the iron in

    Avoid limescale build-up and leave a fresh scent with Comfort ironing water. When you’ve finished ironing, pour any remaining water out.

  5. Give the iron time to heat up properly before you actually start using it

  6. Work around buttons or zips; don’t iron over them

Paying attention to the material: a few general guidelines

  1. Your iron may have specific settings for different fabrics

  2. Cotton and linen can usually be ironed on higher heat than wool or synthetic fabrics

  3. Iron nylon or silk through a cotton tea towel.

  4. If you’re ironing wool, use steam.

  5. Want to know how to iron polyester?

    Use a low temperature; high heat can melt or burn it. Again, iron through a tea towel.

How to iron trousers

Rather than moving the iron against the fabric, just press the iron to a spot on the trousers for a couple of seconds at a time, then lift it up and move it to the next spot.

Work from the top of your trousers to the bottom, pressing the wrinkles out. If you’re here for how to iron jeans or other casual trousers, leave the seams at the edge of the leg so you don’t press creases in. If you want to know how to iron suit trousers, though, you’ll probably want to know how to make a central crease. To do this:

  1. Focus on one leg at a time.

  2. Lay the leg along the length of the board, with the side seams in the centre, positioned on top of each other.

    This means that the folds at the sides of the board should fall in the centre of the leg, and you can create a crease by pressing those folds with your iron.

  3. Press the beginning of the crease at the bottom of the legs, at both sides

    Then, repeat at the top.

  4. Connect the two ends of the crease by pressing your way down the length of the leg.

How to iron T-shirts

  1. Put your T-shirt over the ironing board, so you’re only dealing with one layer of fabric.

  2. Use the hot iron to press the T-shirt flat, one spot at a time.

    Again, try not to move the iron around.

  3. Revolve the T-shirt around the board as you go.

    Take care not to do this when the iron is touching the fabric.

Has your lifestyle during the Covid-19 lockdown affected the type of stains you get on your clothes?

With a little practice, you’ll soon be an expert at how to iron clothes – it can even be quite therapeutic!

Originally published