Tuesday, 15 May 2012

12 top tips to Reduce Ironing

Ironing my Rachel Ashwell Aprons 

There is no glory to be had in anything you do if the house is a mess and the children are hungry.

Whenever I get busy with work my ironing basket menaces me.  The busier I am then the more it seems to grow until I get to the point where I have to have an empty basket and I tackle it in one mammoth ironing session, usually late into the night.

The thing is this.. I really resent ironing.  It makes me mad that in this age of equality that I have to iron for 5 people, as well as all the other things I do.  The odd thing is that given the time I weirdly enjoy it.  Listening to Woman’s Hour and ironing when I have the time is really rather relaxing.

It’s a task that falls to me. My husband wouldn’t even know where to find the iron (don’t get me started!) and to be fair I do have some domestic help .. but with a very limited budget it is not enough to get the laundry done.  Even having occasional domestic help actually causes more ironing.  If ever the task of the children’s bedrooms comes up my help’s answer is to throw all the children’s clothes into the wash.  Of course that is an instant tidy option and it looks like she has done an amazing job. In reality it is a whole heap more work for me and yes  …  I know I should tidy up much more before the odd occasion that my cleaner comes -  but I don’t always have time and managing a cleaner efficiently is a whole other blog post!

1 So, aside from buying a really seriously good iron with super turbo steam, I’ve been researching into efficient and effective ways of reducing my ironing and here is what I have come up with so far....

2 I’ve stopped cramming too much washing in the machine, as clothes need room to spin around.  It seems that the closer the clothes are compacted during the washing cycle, the more they are likely to come out creased, squashed and needing more ironing.

3 I’m washing heavy items like jeans and blankets separately - heavy items seem to press onto the light ones and crease them.

4 Over dry clothes are a nightmare to iron. There are many less wrinkles by not over-drying my clothes  I stop the dryer cycle a little earlier than necessary and or bring clothes in from outside while they are still slightly damp and there is also a reduced ironing option on my dryer and washing machine .. although I am not convinced they work!

I love the Lakeland Airer
5 Drying outside seems to knock out allot of wrinkles  .. but only if you peg things in the right place. By not overloading my dryer, and leaving it about 1/3 to 1/4 empty it results in evenly dried clothing, as well as less wrinkling. I discovered a brilliant  invention courtesly of Lakeland called a  Dry soon 3 tier heated tower Airer.  If I fold things up and leave things to dry on it then flat items can be put away dry the next day, and with a running cost of only 5p a day I think it's a brilliant bit of kit for reducing ironing. 

6 I do find being disciplined and folding clothes as soon as the drying cycle ends helps not end.  While the clothes are still warm massively reduces the time spent ironing and the creases are softer.

7 Giving the clothes a good shake first to remove water means that the wrinkles drop out and reduces the need for a thorough iron should you still have to iron the item.

8 There are also some things that really do not need to be ironed unless you're a fanatic. .. I suppose because my mother is a crease free fanatic I have inherited this attitude .. but  if I think of which things I don't really mind un-ironed there are lots

9 Buying wrinkle-free clothes helps.  Particularly my non ironing husbands shirts .. M& S do a range of easy iron shirts.  

10 The children are going to have to learn about self-responsibility and they soon learn how to lessen the load .. so I am going to get the kids to put there own things away .. although supervising this is actually harder then putting it all away myself !

11 Doing the ironing in the bedroom means that the bed is used to sort my laundry, and hangers and wardrobes are close a hand, and whilst ironing I do try and progress from articles or garments needing the lowest temperature to those requiring the highest, and I always iron collars, cuffs, and hems from puckering, on the wrong side first. 
 More ironing tips here. 

12 I read that a budget quick spray starch can be made at home by slowly adding 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 cups water. Stir until the starch is dissolved, and pour the blend into a clean spray bottle. Spray fabrics lightly when ironing. .. I’ve yet to try it .. !

If you have any tips on reducing ironing even more please share!


  1. When all my children lived at home my ironing was always out of control - which probably comes of having too too many clothes. The ironing cupboard grew to overflowing - which was when I said I was not doing anymore ironing apart for myself (or when I was feeling generous or nice!) All clothes were hung up or folded and put straight away from the line and ironed when needed. This was a great learning curve for boys as well as girls. My husband irons his own shirts (because I apparently don't do them good enough) I can live with this!

  2. oh Vanessa, I feel exactly the same way about ironing!
    I let it build up and build up (actually, I swear it does that bit all by itself) and I delay and delay it until one (or maybe even two!) of us has run out of tops to wear!

    But, like you, oddly, once the board is set up and the pile is organised into "ironing order" and I have got started on it, all the loathing goes away and I'm strangely content in my quest.

    Most odd!
    My 12yo is actually fairly capable with an iron. Trouble is, I'm a little bit too much of a "it has to be done THIS way" freak to let him do it LOL

  3. Hi Vanessa! I don't iron really. Unless it's a very special occasion. I don't tumble dry anything except towels...this makes a difference. I dry shirts & dresses on hangers. I don't have children which I know makes a difference...and I am EXTREMELY lucky in that my husband loves to iron and does all of his own. He spends Saturday or Sunday morning doing everything for the week ahead. He will also iron tablecloths etc or anything else if I ask him. In my experience, most creases drop out once you are wearing the clothes...good enough for me! Of course, I don't have to dress up to go to work, which is lovely. Feel for you!

  4. OMG i so could not live without my tumble dryer, I literally just fold everything straight from the dryer and put away or hang away! I can't remember the last time I faced a pile of ironing! Thank you to chap who invented it! xx

  5. Great tips! We also don't do too much ironing. When things are warm in the dryer, I lay shirts and pants flat-ish and drape them over the laundry basket until I'm ready to fold. Then I fold about three loads all at once. Seems to work pretty well. Of course, maybe our standards are just inordinately low ;)

  6. caroline partridge18 May 2012 at 14:53

    I can understand all the love-hate relationship with ironing too.I don't love it much,am very lucky that my husband loves watching sport on TV and will always catch up on the piles of ironing ...ehich are always there!
    I hate wasting daylight hours on ironing because I always feel the light hours shd be spent in the garden or the kitchen or just tidying up!!But one tip that helps me...I always sort and organinse into common things eg,tablecloths,t towels and pillow cases,I call 'squares' and always do them first.I organise a pile of shirts,shorts and jeans and dresses/skirts..etc The repetive action of ironing a block of the same thing does seem to speed it up and help reduce the load....certainly helps me!
    Caroline Partridge

  7. My tip! Don't iron!! I note that your gorgeous Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture napkins and aprons need not be in that basket as we embrace the natural creases and crimples as gorgeous!

  8. Love the comments on here. I have stopped ironing my table cloths and tea towels and so on .. although I do draw the line at shirts .. and I love my pillow cases to be ironed !

  9. My tip is also to not iron. I had to stop ironing as we have nowhere to do it in our house. To be fair I never used to do much anyway. I hate it and have got used to looking a bit crumpled. In an ideal world I'd have someone do my ironing for me, because I do like nicely ironed clothes, BUT not enough to do them myself. I am lucky in that I have a mother who loves it, so if I do have the odd thing that needs doing, I take it over to her.


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