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pressing issues

12 January 2009 3,531 views 17 Comments

There has been a fair bit of behind the scenes email and flickr discussion about irons lately, so I thought jot down and share my own thoughts on the subject. 

I spend a ridiculous amount of time ironing and pressing. Not clothes, mind you (I'm allergic to ironing clothes) but fabrics and fusing interfacing. Over the last few months I've fused more than 100 yards of interfacing to fabric. Add in the fabric prep time and the in progress pressing and that's a heckuva lot of iron time, lemme tell you. My iron is on at least 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I'm a huge fan of Rowenta irons despite the fact that my Power Duo pees all over the ironing board when I turn it off. (I'm pretty sure they've fixed that particular issue on their new irons, but I can't find my warranty card. I've also had some trouble getting in touch with someone who can help me at the company and I just don't care enough to follow up. The iron is just that good.) I have a late 80's Professional model
too, which still works like a dream.

Dueling Rowentas

If you're not in the market for a new iron, I have a two recommendations to help keep the one you have running well. First and foremost, whether you're using it to sew or press clothes, use filtered water. I fill mine with water straight out of the Brita. I get virtually no build up on the plate and the steam no longer turns everything yellow.

Steamy (365.2.24)

Second, I think it's worth it to spend the dough on a soleplate cleaner
specific to your iron. I used to roll my eyes and think that it was yet another way to squeeze more crafting cash out of me, but holy doodle, it works like a hot damn. Your iron will run 40 million times better and your fabric will thank you.

Any other tips to keep things running smoothly? (heh, smooth. Iron puns.)


  • laurel said:

    You probably do this, but a really important thing to do to keep things clean besides cleaning your soleplate, is to use a 100% cotton ironing board cover and wash it frequently – otherwise things like fusible glue and starch can build up and stain your fabrics.
    Rowentas are great, and if you can spend the money, you might want to look into one of their steam generators – they hold a ton of water in a separate tank, so you refill less often and the iron itself is much lighter. They generate an unbelievable amount of steam, which I loooove. They demo’d a new model at my union that should be available soon – if I had a dedicated ironing space I’d be all over that thing. It does take up a lot of space, unfortunately.

  • caroleknits said:

    I love my Rowenta, too! And I use hot iron cleaner and that stuff works great. Why is it that I think ironing fabric is always okay but ironing clothes sucks?

  • Mandy said:

    Ha! Your iron puns made me chuckle. I am easily amused. I really need to look into that plate cleaner thingie. Thanks for the tips!

  • Georgia said:

    I bought two professional rowentas last year and they both started peeing terribly after just a couple of months of use. I loved my rowentas but having to deal with that made me give up on them for a while.
    I wonder if the problem actually has been corrected? I’d get a new one in an instant if I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with that again.

  • ysolda said:

    I love my rowenta, but interestingly the manual specifically says not to use filtered water because the iron is designed to use tap water. Hmm… it’s only a few months old so maybe this is a recent (or regional) thing.

  • Amanda said:

    I am allergic to those iron cleaners. Sharon Schamber posted something to one of her websites on how to clean your iron without them. It works wonderfully!

  • jillian said:

    I had a small Rowenta steamer, and it starting “peeing” after not too long. I ditched it in favor of a straightforward steam iron, can’t remember which brand, but one of the common ones. Interestingly, the directions expressly state that filtered water should not be used. It was designed specifically for tap water, and after more than a year of use I have never had a problem with peeing or with buildup on the plate. Makes it very easy to use. If you are interested in the model – let me know and I will check it when I am at home.

  • Suzanne V. (Yarnhog) said:

    I think the best way to keep the iron working smoothly is to have my husband do the ironing. Works like a dream!

  • michal said:

    my goodness, how did you know we were in the market for a new iron? ; )
    ours is a cheapo from walmart that got me through college and that’s about it. i really hate to use it, i swear it makes me sew less (that and that the ironing board doesn’t fit in our studio, so i have to keep it in the living room. bah). i ended up getting a clover mini iron just to press seams, and considering i’m as accident prone as i am, i’m predicting many a happy hour of sewing and burning myself. yay. ; )

  • Becky said:

    My mom always used distilled water in her irons, well, iron because I don’t remember her every purchasing a new one. Hers is probably 35+ years old.

  • Maryse said:

    i just think it’s funny that you wrote “holy doodle, it works like a hot damn.”

  • mai said:

    oh man i hate ironing. thanks for the tips, though!

  • gleek said:

    i love my rowenta too :)

  • Annie said:

    OMG – I have been so pissed at my iron and was looking for recommendations. Thank you for posting this! Not that I iron. Just my weaving you know. Clothes, I totally get the sneezes.

  • Keana said:

    Thanks 4 the tip!

  • Melaleuca said:

    Almost every doctor told me that while pressing we need to take extra care abut out wrist. It is really very important.

  • d said:

    ah ironing, think I´ve got this specific type of allergy, too (thanx god, hb has a “loose fit” job, cannot imagine to iron shirts…)
    but in dressmaking school I learned one thing: WEIGHT!
    the really big problem of the new models is the lack of weight – so if you want a really proper outcome – YOU have to put on that weight, so really good ironing is really hard work…
    beside of that, I really, really adore your knitwork – great skills!
    and if you find a minute and want to see how its overseas: http://achtungkinder.blogspot.com/
    best regards,

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