Clothes Iron Features Every Iron Should Have

Whether you love your clothes iron or dread the chore it represents, there's no denying that an iron is an important small appliance. Selecting the right one can turn ironing clothes into a pleasant experience. Well, almost.

Will Your Clothes Iron Bring The Heat?

The primary function of a clothes iron is to use heat to press your clothes. There are several features to look for when it comes to generating heat:

  • More power! Wattage is the determining factor when it comes to heat. A higher wattage clothes iron can heat faster and maintain temperature longer. On the downside, higher wattages equal more power use. If you're not comfortable with its use, a high wattage clothes iron can be a scary tool.
  • Flexible heat. Variable heat settings can help you customize your clothes iron for different fabric types. Delicate or synthetic materials often need lower heat setting than cotton or other natural fabrics.
  • Are we done yet? A clothes iron with an automatic shutoff feature will shut down by itself after a certain amount of time. This might not keep you from burning your shirt, but it will keep you from burning down your house.

The Power of Steam

Steam is the most effective method for removing wrinkles from your clothing. An iron without steam (called a "dry" iron) will require a lot more time and elbow grease to get the job done. Look for these features in a steam iron:

  • Upright and steamed. A clothes iron that has a vertical steam feature will let you take the wrinkles out of curtains. Vertical steam is also great for quick touch-ups to clothing while it stays on the hangar.
  • Fill -er up! An easy to fill water reservoir will make adding water to your clothes iron easier and safer. A removable reservoir is the ultimate in convenience.
  • To steam or not to steam? Being able to control your steam is important. Many clothes irons provide continuous steam, but some provide a "steam burst" feature that allows you to use the steam only when you need it.

Other Features

  • Got sole? The soleplate of a clothes iron is where the work is done. The flat, hot surface of your clothes iron can be made from aluminum or stainless steel, A non-stick treated surface can help your iron glide across your clothes. Non-stick surfaces require special care and cleaning to avoid damage.
  • Cord options. The power cord of a clothes iron can be fixed or swiveling. A swiveling cord can make it easier to reach tricky nooks and folds, but a fixed cord is generally cheaper.
  • Or no cord at all! A cordless iron offers the ultimate in handling, but needs to be returned to its charging station to be reheated. A detachable cord is a good compromise between power and freedom of movement.
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You may truly consider yourself an accomplished homemaker if you have mastered the skill of ironing. Knowing your fabrics, choosing good equipment and learning the tricks of the trade, as well as giving yourself ample time to enjoy the process, can turn ironing from drudgery into a satisfying project.

There's nothing better than crisp, freshly ironed clothes and bed linens.  One trick that can make the practice of ironing even more pleasant and add even more freshness to your laundry is to use ironing water while you iron. 

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