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The ultimate guide to...

Irons

We aim to make the task of ironing easier and make choosing your next iron fit your needs. And what to look for in order to minimise the amount of time spent ironing.

We'll explain the difference between a standard steam iron and a steam generator iron and how the latter can help halve your ironing time. The first question to ask is how often and how much ironing do you do?

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STEAM IRONS

The traditional form which most people are most familiar with where an in-built water tank which generate continuous steam suitable for smaller ironing loads. A more powerful shot of steam can be used to help remove more stubborn creases as well as using vertically which is ideal for hanging garments.

How they work

Steam penetrates and moistens the fabrics fibres, relaxing them to make it easier to remove creases.

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STEAM GENERATOR IRONS

Ideal for much larger loads of ironing as they generate as much as twice the amount of steam than their traditional counterparts ultimately helping to reduce your ironing time in half as you will only have to iron one side of your garments.

How they work

The iron itself does not have an in-built water tank, instead this is a separate unit which is much larger and at the same time means the iron itself is much lighter to use. Much higher pressure is generated and the steam is then delivered to the iron via a steam hose but a much higher rate than a standard steam iron, making these ideal for vertical steam so are great for hanging garments, steaming suits and curtains.

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Terms

  • Anti drip - Prevents the water leaking onto the fabric if the iron is used before reaching the correct temperature.
  • Anti scale - Various methods but all work in helping preventing the build up of limescale and therefore helping to maintain the irons performance and its life.
  • Auto shut off - A safety feature that activates when the iron is not in use for a period of time either when left on the soleplate or on its heel.
  • Wattage - The higher wattage that quicker the iron is to heat up to the desired temperature.

TERMS CONT'D...

  • Continuous steam output - This is measured in grams per minute, the higher the capacity generally the shorter the ironing time. Steam generator irons produce a much higher continuous steam output.
  • Shot of steam - Also measured in grams per minute this is a quick and powerful burst of steam to penetrate deep into the fabric, helping remove the most stubborn creases.
  • Vertical steam - Suitable for ironing hanging garments like suits, jackets and curtains.
  • Cord length - A longer cable will make ironing easier as it gives more flexibility. A three metre cable is often the maximum on a steam iron.

MORE TERMS

Soleplate

The quality of the soleplate is essential for making the task of ironing easier helping to glide easily over the fabric, distributing heat and steam evenly. The soleplates material is also key for its durability.

Aluminium

The most basic material for a soleplate and can scratch more easily and generally doesn't provide the smoothest ironing.

Non-stick

A basic type of soleplate but is easier to clean and glides over fabric without sticking to prevent more creasing of the fabric.

Stainless steel

Distribute heat evenly and glides easily over fabrics but can scratch more easily.

Ceramic

Typically seen as the best quality of soleplate as it is the most durable and also distributes the heat and steam evenly and glides easily over the fabric resulting in faster ironing.