Any task, ironing included, is made significantly easier and more pleasurable with the correct tools and accessories.
Most people would agree that ironing is not a well-loved chore, but why does it get such a bad rap? The thing that gets most people hot and bothered is that ironing takes too long, and even after all the effort, they still don’t get it quite right.
So, what if we told you ironing could be easier, take up less time, and also be oddly satisfying with the right ironing equipment? It’s time to bury old ironing habits of decades gone by and catch up with the latest ironing tools and shortcuts that make it sweet and simple.
1. Quality Steam Iron
What exactly should you look for in a quality steam iron? Firstly, don’t feel bamboozled by all the fancy features, one thing counts above all else, and that’s steam output.
The more steam your steam iron creates, the faster you’ll slice through those wrinkles and be done with your laundry pile.
2. Ironing Board with Iron Holder
This is another essential tool that comes with a seemingly endless amount of options, so let’s cut to the chase. There are 2 main considerations when buying an ironing board.
Firstly, and most importantly, it should be comfortable. If the ironing board is at the correct height, you won’t add backache to your ironing experience.
The size and width of your board will also make ironing easier. For average clothes ironing, a 14 inch width is perfect, but if you’re ironing larger items like bedding, then an 18 inch board will mean more ironing coverage with less repositioning.
Secondly, an iron holder makes placing your iron down safe and simple. It is designed to withstand the full heat of the iron’s soleplate and because you can place the iron down face first, the chance of it falling is drastically reduced.
3. Ironing Board Cover (Padded)
A quality ironing board cover is designed to withstand repeated exposure to the heat and steam created by the steam iron. The lining is also a key component in reducing the amount of time you spend ironing as it reflects the heat and steam that neutralizes wrinkles.
The best ironing board cover is one that is well padded. You don’t need to buy the most expensive ironing board on the market, but if you do buy cheap, consider upgrading the ironing board cover. A well-padded cover will avoid scorch and shine marks on clothing and prevent imprints from the grid pattern of the base.
4. Portable Ironing Mat (a.k.a. Ironing Blanket)
If you need a light and portable ironing solution or a “quick fix” ironing surface, then you’ll love this clever little ironing accessory. It’s a heat resistant blanket that you simply unfold and get to work ironing on. Check out our full review of the best ironing mats available online.
Setting up the ironing board makes perfect sense when you have a large load of ironing to tackle, but its overkill if all you need is a quick once-over to freshen up a single item.
An ironing mat converts almost any surface like a bed, kitchen counter, washing machine or dryer into a convenient ironing surface.
Because it folds up neatly and weighs very little, it’s a good option for camping, RV’s, sewing classes or for packing in your luggage when you’re traveling on holiday. There are even magnetic designs that convert your washer or drying into the perfect make-shift ironing board.
5. Silicone Iron Resting Pad
A silicone iron resting pad will help avoid accidental burns and extend the life of your ironing board cover.
They are especially ideal if your ironing board doesn’t have a dedicated rest area or if you’re using a tabletop board. In these instances, you’ll need a heat resistant surface to rest your iron.
6. Ironing Cloth
An ironing cloth, or pressing cloth as it is also called, is used as a protective layer between your clothing and the hot surface of the soleplate. It prevents you from accidentally scorching a garment if the temperature of the iron is set too high for the fabric you’re working with.
The best ironing cloth is a free one. This essential accessory doesn’t have to cost you a cent… although if you wanted to be a bit fancy, there are several transparent silicone options available on Amazon for a very reasonable price.
Any clean piece of cotton cloth, like a dish towel or pillowcase, will do the trick. The benefit of a transparent ironing cloth is you can ensure your garment is placed flat and you can be sure you’re not ironing in any accidental creases.
7. Soleplate Cover or Iron Shoe Plate
If you want to avoid scorching or shining fabrics without using an ironing cloth, a safe and convenient way to do this is by attaching a shoe plate or soleplate cover to the base of your iron.
It protects your clothing from the full heat of the iron’s soleplate, but still allows the steam to pass through and effectively and remove creases.
They also work really well for older irons that have a scratched or chipped soleplate that catches on your fabric when you iron. An iron plate cover will give you that smooth glide and save you having to replace the iron. Iron plate covers are usually a bit larger than the average soleplate and have a spring adjustment so one size can fit almost any make of steam iron.
8. Steam Iron Storage Case & Board Caddy
An iron caddy serves as a convenient steam iron storage case. This is one of the safest ways to store and cool your iron as it is secured and safe from toppling, even if the power cord is accidentally snagged or pulled.
The caddy cleverly accommodates your ironing board too. Units that hold both the iron and the board make for compact and convenient storage.
9. Iron Cord Clips & Cord Holder
Iron cord clips help you guide the power cable in and around your ironing work station, making sure it is neat and out of the way while you work.
An iron cord holder is a metal arm that holds the cord up while you’re ironing. It allows you to iron without the power cord snagging on your clothing. This will help you glide through the ironing in record time while saving you any unnecessary aggravation.
Universal iron cord clips and cord holders can be attached to any ironing board. They are affordable, quick to install and easily available online.
10. Distilled Water
Most steam irons manufacturers today recommend using tap water. However, some areas have very high mineral content in their water and this is one of the most common reasons for the deterioration of your appliances. If you notice a white, chalky buildup in your kettle, this will give you an idea of what your steam iron looks like on the inside.
To reduce this limescale, dilute your tap water with 50% distilled water. As distilled water contains no impurities, it will reduce the rate of the buildup. Don’t use distilled water alone, as this can affect the working parts of your iron in other ways and cause spitting when using steam.
11. Ironing Starch
Starching your shirts not only makes the shirt look more crisp and polished, but it makes ironing them so much easier. Ironing with starch helps set the fabric so you don’t have to repeatedly iron over the same area.
Starch will help keep wrinkles out of clothing when you wear them so they’ll look better for longer and if you spill or mark the fabric, the starch layer lines the material so stains are easier to remove.
Mary Ellen’s Best Press is rated one of the best starch for ironing on Amazon. Using a spray bottle makes application super convenient.
12. Versatile Spray Bottle
A spray bottle will always come in super handy in any laundry room. They are best used for laundry fragrances, starch and softeners to help add that finishing touch to your ironing. To make the task even more pleasurable and satisfying, spend a few dollars extra and get a continuous water mister, they’re a dream to use.
Spray bottles were traditionally used to moisten fabrics before ironing. Today’s quality steam iron provides adequate moisture/steam for most ironing needs, and of course, has a built-in spray feature, but adding scented water or softening detergents is not recommended… and this is where the spray bottle comes into play.
13. Lint Roller
If you iron a lot of whites or men’s shirts, a lint roller will not only leave your clothing looking fluff-free, but it will save you from having to clean your iron as frequently.
Tiny fibers, or lint, attach themselves to our clothes in the washing and drying cycles and form part of what builds up and burns on the soleplate of your iron.
By running the roller over the surface of the shirt before starching and ironing, you pick up the majority of these fibers and avoid any marks.
14. Soleplate Cleaning Kit
Over time, tiny fibers from the fabrics you work with will burn and create brown spots on the soleplate of your steam iron. If you use starch on your clothing, you’ll find this occurs more frequently and its best to remove it when you notice it, to avoid marking your clothing. These brown burn marks are super easy to remove.
There are several homemade cleaners that you can use to clear away the buildup, but the fastest and most efficient is a soleplate cleaner. Simply heat your iron, apply a dab of cleaner to the cloth provided in the kit, and run the iron over the cloth. The burn will rub off on the cloth as you iron over the area where the cleaner was applied, leaving your iron perfectly shiny and clean.
15. Sleeve Ironing Board
If you are looking for that freshly laundered look in your work shirts or jacket sleeves, then you’ll love how functional and effortless a sleeve board will make the job.
It can be placed on your ironing board or any elevated surface. Simply slip the sleeve over the narrow ironing surface and iron out any unwanted creases.
There are even ironing boards available with a sleeve board attached to the underside. After pressing the body of the shirt on the large surface, the sleeve board can just be lifted into position to handle the sleeves and folded away when you’re done.
16. Tailors Ham or Pressing Ham
This piece of equipment is for anyone wanting to take their ironing to the next level. A tailor’s ham may seem a little “antiquey” and intimidating at first, but it’s actually pretty easy to use.
Position it under the area that you need to press and it will allow you to smooth out the fabric while maintaining the shape of the garment. It creates that perfect tailored look on shaped shoulders and waistlines.
It has a cotton side for use on fabrics that handle higher iron temperatures and the wool side is for more delicate materials that suit cooler iron temperatures. You can also use a rolled-up bath towel to achieve a similar effect.
17. Tailors Clapper
If your goal is to press your dress suits like a professional tailor, then a clapper will be a welcome addition to your ironing ensemble.
A clapper, or tailors clapper as it is also known, is a wooden tool that helps you achieve perfectly crisp and flat seams. Once you’ve pressed an area with your steam iron, you place the clapper over the seam and hold it there until the fabric has cooled. The heat and steam from the iron is trapped under the wooden surface and the result is a seam or pleat that’s flatter than flat.
It also helps avoid the risk of scorch or shine marks on these slightly raised surfaces.
Note: A clapper is not to be confused for a person who claps and praises you for finally completing the ironing.
Ironing Accessories Conclusion
There is great satisfaction in a job well done. These functional ironing accessories and tools will make a remarkable difference in how you iron and ultimately, how you look. There’s no point slaving away at the ironing boards only to get average results.
Of course, depending on your ironing needs, you won’t necessarily need all the above accessories. However, with a few extra tips and accessories in your ironing arsenal, you’ll iron out any creases in your groomed appearance, and have fun doing it. You can build up your ironing tool collection over time, systematically replacing old equipment that is no longer working for you.