Teach Me To (series)

Teach Me To Iron

teach me to iron

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What do morning air, celery, dollar bills, and clothing have in common? They’re all better when crisp. Just like wilted celery on a tray of appetizers makes an impression, so does wilted clothing on a person. It’s not a positive one.

In this era of casual fashions for every occasion, it seems there’s been a collective rejection of smoothly ironed material. Rumpled is good enough. Ripped is fine, too. But every once in a while, you notice a woman who looks extra put-together, but you can’t put your finger on what it is. Chances are, her clothes were pressed with an iron. 

Chemically infused permanent press fabrics have come a long way since their introduction in the 1940s, and they’ve made ironing much less of a chore. But I’ve never come across the “permanent press” blouse, shirt, or slacks that didn’t need some help with an iron. The absence of wrinkles does not equate to the presence of crisp. If crisp and polished is the look you want, here are The absence of wrinkles does not equate to the presence of crisp. #@RowentaUSA Click To Tweet


  • Make sure your iron and ironing board are clean. It’s the pits to transfer gunk or stain onto a clean shirt.
  • Use an ironing board. You can take a shortcut and use your bed for an ironing board; but because the bed is unstable, you run the very great risk of a hot iron tipping over on your arm while you’re adjusting your garment. It hurts and leaves a scar. (Guess how I know.)
  • Set your iron to the proper heat setting for your garment. Don’t simply crank it to the highest setting thinking more is better. It can be disastrous. If you have several items of various materials to iron, begin with the one that requires the lowest temperature and progress upwards from there.
  • For blouses/shirts: Iron sleeves first – they provide tension for the rest of the garment while hanging over the sides and are not re-wrinkled themselves. Iron collar spread open, not folded over. Iron front plackets (the material facing inward, underneath buttons and buttonholes.) This will also press the outward-facing material – which is a challenge with those buttons. Use a bit of spray starch if you’re an overachiever. It smells lovely and helps preserve your ironing efforts. Immediately hang the shirt on a hanger to cool and set the pressing. This is also when you fold the collar over.
  • For slacks: Begin by ironing inside pockets. You don’t want a lump on top of your thigh. Align and stack inseams and side seams and press creases a layer at a time. Finally, hang the slacks by the waistband, allowing gravity to help set the creases as they cool. I beg you not to iron creases in blue jeans. Just, no.
  • Miscellaneous: If your husband uses handkerchiefs, iron them into neat, pocket-sized squares. It takes 30 seconds, and your husband will enjoy a delighted moment when colleagues notice. (“That’s right. My wife irons my handkerchiefs.”) Also, iron and lightly starch pillowcases and the top hem of the flat sheet for your guest room. It’s a luxury touch. Good-smelling and crisp!

For Best Results

  • Use a professional grade iron for professional grade results. That doesn’t mean you a need top-of-the-line, expensive iron. I recommend and use * this Rowenta model. It does a fabulous job and is only about $75. Seamstresses and quilters prefer Rowenta irons for their quality, precision, and ease of use.

*This is an affiliate link. I receive a small commission for purchases made through this link. This is a product I purchased myself, use, and enthusiastically recommend.

teach me to iron


  • Jamie

    Great tips!! This is one of those chores I hate doing for my husband, who wears a button down shirt to work everyday. Can’t wait to try!

    • Wife Sense

      It’s not a bad chore if you listen to music you like while you’re doing it. ?

  • kathy

    I only iron when absolutely necessary. This is good advice for when I do. I remember when I was little my mom ironed daily. It was much more difficult then today. She would spray my dads shirts with starch and it seemed to be a tedious job. She worked hard.

    • Wife Sense

      It is work, but I love the smell of spray starch on a man’s shirt! 😉 My mother took in ironing from neighbors to earn “pocket money” when I was little. I remember her ironing bedsheets!

  • Ironing is my most dreaded chore but my husband works with very important business men and handles mutli million dollar deals so I have to iron his clothes. Some of these tips will be super helpful though; I always iron the sleeves first, i’ve been doing it all wrong! Thanks for the help!

    • Wife Sense

      My most dreaded chore is grocery shopping/putting it away. I wish we could trade jobs every week!

  • Zan Turner

    Oh the dreaded ironing:) I used to iron all my and my siblings clothing for school when we were growing up then continued the habit for hubby’s work clothes once we got married. Well, now I iron, but I am not sure a fan of the process anymore but I do love the look of well-ironed clothing. I love how you mentioned that chemically infused fabric make ironing easier but still does not replace the ironed look – never thought of it this way. I also love how you mentioned the ironed look cannot be replaced. That is some great tips for learning to iron well.

    • Alexandra T Armstrong

      Zan, thank you for the thoughtful and kind comment. Blessings!

  • Aarika Chilson

    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing ironing tips. I don’t even own an iron, even though many of my clothes need a little pressing now and then. =) When I do own one, I will be prepared . . . thanks to you!