Ironing Tips


A skillful job of pressing requires time, practice and the use of methods that will not mar the fabric. Pressing should not make the fabric shine, flatten the pile or nap, or distort the texture or weave.


In ironing, the iron is pushed from one spot to another in an unbroken motion to remove wrinkles. In pressing, the iron is lifted up and set down in a particular spot to flatten or shape small areas. To prevent the fabric from stretching, do not use a sliding motion when pressing.

Fabrics react differently to heat, moisture and pressure. The fiber content of the fabric governs the temperature to be used for pressing. The texture of the fabric dictates factors such as moisture and pressure.

Moisture is needed to press most fabrics, but it should be used with care since it can give a shiny, overpressed look. A steam iron may be enough for some fabrics; in others, a press cloth with a damp cloth placed on top is necessary. A dry iron is usually used with the latter technique. Use a press cloth with either kind of iron when doing final or finish pressing on the right side of a garment.

Test a scrap of your fabric before beginning to press parts of the garment. Make a test seam or dart to check for imprints on the right side. Set the heat control of the iron for the fiber from which the fabric is made. Place the fabric carefully on the pressing surface to avoid stretching or pulling it out of shape.

Press on the wrong side of the fabric whenever possible. Keep the grain of the fabric straight and press with the grain. Use light pressure at first. Some fabrics require little pressure to flatten them without marring the texture or the weave. Let the garment dry from the steam before it is handled or it will stretch. If the fabric will show press marks on the outside, place brown paper strips under the seams or use a seam roll.

Pressure, Moisture, Heat Factors

  1. Keep the weight of the iron in the hand. Use light pressure on the fabric rather than the full weight of the iron. Careful lifting and lowering of the iron controls the amount of pressure. Add pressure only for crease-resistant and firmly woven fabrics.
  2. Excessive moisture often spots fabrics, makes them look overpressed, gives shine and ruins texture. For fabrics that cannot take direct moisture, place a damp cheese cloth over a dry press cloth, or dampen the press cloth with a sponge.
  3. Cotton and linen fabrics generally require a higher temperature and man-made fibers a lower one. Some synthetics should not be pressed with an iron at all as heat will flatten a pile or deteriorate the fiber. When a fabric is made of two or more fibers, use the temperature setting for the one requiring the lowest heat.



Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 200ºC (hot iron)
Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 150ºC (warm iron)
Iron at a maximum sole-plate temperature of 110ºC (cool iron)
Do not iron

 The melting and pressing temperatures of textile materials.

Fibers Melting point (ºC) Pressing temperatüre (ºC)
Cotton 230
Linen 220
Flax 220
Silk 140
Wool 150
Acetate 185 160
Triasetate 229 190
Acrylic(Orlon) 205 140
Modacrylic 150 105
Naylon 6 172 150
Naylon 6,6 230 175
Olefin 119 70
Polyester 230 165
Rayon 190
Viscose 190
Spandex 168 150


Wool; It is essential to use moist heat when pressing wool to preserve its original texture and resiliency. Use a wool pressing cloth to press wool fabrics. A piece of wool may be placed on the ironing board with the right side of the garment resting on it. When pressing on the right side, the wool press cloth is placed next to the garment, then a dry cotton press cloth, and a damp cheese or cotton cloth on top. Raise and lower the iron over the area to be pressed. Lift the press cloth frequently to pull steam from the surface of the fabric and help raise the nap.

Wool should not be pressed until entirely dry. A clapper may be used to further flatten edges while steam is still rising from the fabric. Steam from the steam iron or a wet pressing cloth held over a dry iron may be used to shrink out ease along seam lines of shaped sections. Wool is the fiber most easily shaped or molded in pressing. More pressure is used on areas to be shaped or creased, such as bust darts and pleats. Fabrics finished to look like wool should be pressed with steam the same way you press wool.

Cotton; Iron light colored cotton fabrics on the right side,dark colors on the back side. Use high temperatures (200ºC) and steam if necessary.

Synthetic fabrics; Because of the ease with which synthetic fiber fabrics can be pressed or creased, and because high temperatures can,in fact, damage such fabrics,low temperatures and mechanical pressures are recommended in pressing. Hand iron settings of 130-160ºC should be used. For machine pressing, steam pressures should be reduced to app. 2 bari for handling synthetic fiber fabrics. Presses should not be locked and relatively short exposure times should be employed.

Beads, Sequins; Use a low heat setting. Run the tip of the iron along the seam. Use a dry iron as steam may erase the shine or finish.

Brocades, Embroideries, Laces; Use a turkish towel on the ironing board to prevent the raised pattern from flattening out. Press only on the wrong side. Steam should be used with care; a dry iron may be preferable in some cases.

Glossy Finish, Glazed Finish, Satins, Crepes; Use little or no moisture. Press only on the wrong side with a light touch.

Dull Finishes, Dark Colors; Press on the wrong side whenever possible to prevent shine. Use a press cloth when pressing on the right side.

Sheers; Use a low temperature and a dry iron. Steam or too much heat may pucker the fabric. Use the tip of the iron just along seams.

Blends; Select the pressing temperature for the more delicate fiber. Test for water spotting in an inconspicuous area before using steam.

Pile Fabrics, Napped Fabrics; Use a needle board, heavy turkish towel or self-fabric on the ironing board. Place the right side of the garment on top of this. Press the garment on the wrong side, using a light touch so that the pile will not be flattened. For delicate velvets, prop the iron up and draw the wrong side of the fabric over it. Steam, rather than pressing, is the important factor. Do not touch the iron to the right side. Shower steaming will also remove wrinkles.

Fake Furs; These may melt easily and the pile may matt. Usually finger pressing is sufficient. If you think pressing is necessary, use a dry iron rather than steam. Always press on the wrong side, never on the right.

Durable Press, Permanent Press; Use low to moderate temperatures. Check the fiber content. Creases once pressed may stay, so be sure of seam lines before pressing. Use the tip of the iron along seam lines, more pressure will be needed here. The final press may be done with a higher temperature and a press cloth to give sharper creases.

Stretch Fabrics, Knits; Press lightly to prevent stretching. Steam may be used with care. Press on the wrong side in the direction of the lengthwise ribs.

Bonded, Laminated; Select the temperature for the outer fabric. Do not let the iron touch the foam or other laminate. If needed, use a press cloth to prevent this.

Leathers; Pressing these materials is usually inadvisable. If it is necessary, use a low temperature and brown paper for protection. Use a dry iron only.

Vinyls; Do not press.


           Seams            Darts

Seams; Press along the stitching line in the same direction in which the seams were stitched before opening the seam or pressing it to one side. This smooths the stitching and works it into the cloth.

If the seam is to be pressed open, press with the tip of the iron on the stitching line first. Then apply moisture if needed and press it open. Use a seam roll or slip strips of heavy wrapping paper under the seam edge so the imprint does not show on the right side. The kind of fabric will determine whether or not a press cloth is needed to protect the fabric or to improve the press.

Waistline seams are usually turned up into the bodice. Curved seams should be pressed over a curved area such as a pressing ham.

Darts; Press these over a curved surface such as a pressing ham toward the tip. Do not let the iron go beyond the stitching line. Avoid imprints on the right side by using the same technique used for seams.

Unless the design indicates otherwise, vertical darts are pressed toward the center and horizontal darts are pressed downward. Slash wide or bulky darts and press them open.

Hems; Press hems up from the lower edge. Press the fold of the hem after it has been marked, basted, trimmed, and eased at the top. Shrink fullness of a hem before finishing the edge, using a strip of heavy paper between the hem and garment. Steam press lightly, keeping the weight of the iron in the hand. Slip the iron into the fullness at right angles.

Never press around a skirt hem as it tends to stretch and ripple the fabric. For a rolled effect on the hem edge, hold the iron a few inches above the hem. Let the steam penetrate. Pat with a block or ruler to mold hem.

               Hem   Gathers

Plackets; Press plackets on the wrong side on a textured surface such as terry cloth. Use a press cloth and limited moisture. Avoid zipper teeth. Place paper strips between the laps to prevent imprints on the right side. Then press on the right side over a rounded surface such as a press mitt, pressing ham or rounded turkish towel. Fabric that shows imprints easily should be protected by slipping paper between the zipper teeth and the outside fabric.

Gathers and Shirring; Press these from the wrong side whenever possible. Hold the gathering or shirring along the stitching line. Press toward the gathers, sliding the point of the iron into the gathers. Slide the iron with the grainline; do not move it from side to side.

Pleats; Press pleats from the hem to the waistline. Use brown paper strips under the folds. Unpressed pleats may be pinned to the ironing board and a steam iron held a few inches above the pleats. Let the pleats dry before removing the pins. If necessary, support pleats with a chair or table as you press.

Tucks; Whenever possible, press tucks from the underneath side. Press the fold toward the center, stopping at the stitching line. Tucks made on the right side are pressed from the stitching line toward the fold. Place brown paper strips under the folds, and use a press cloth when pressing on the right side.

Buttonholes; Press buttonholes over a sleeveboard on the wrong side of the fabric. Then turn and press on the right side, using a press cloth.

Pockets; Press from the right side using brown paper strips to cushion the pocket edges and a press cloth to protect the fabric.

Facings; First press seams without direction, then with the tip of the steam iron, open the seam lightly. Grade seams so that the widest edge will be uppermost from the right side of the garment. Finally, press seams toward the facing.

Turn the facing right side out and press so that the seam rolls to the underside. In some cases you may wish to understitch to keep the facing in position.

Collars, Lapels; Press along the stitching line, then lightly press seams open. Seams should be graded or trimmed after light pressing. Use a point presser to achieve sharp corners. Press the seams toward the undercollar or underlapel. Turn. Press collar or lapel on the right side, making sure that the seam rolls to the underside.


Look at the labels of the clothes first and divide them into those that need cool, medium and hot iron. If there is no label, judge from the material of the cloth what type it is and what sort of ironing it requires. If clothes are too dry, dampen them first by spraying them with a little water. Before you put the iron on the cloth, you always straighten the cloth with your hands and fingers, so that no folds exist on the ironing board.

Start first from the clothes that need cool iron.

·        SHIRT

Iron first the collar on both sides. Iron next the caflings on both sides. Iron first from the back the strip of the front with the buttons. Then turn over, straighten and iron the whole front. Then iron the back of the strip with the button holes. Turn over and iron the whole front. Then iron the back, taking extra care for the shoulder parts and the seams with the sleeves. Finally, iron the two sleeves, one at a time, after you fold each carefully along the seam. Button up the shirt and fold it as normal, or hang it on a coat-hanger immediately.

For blouses follow similar routine. Careful with the buttons; sometimes are nylon and they cannot take the heat that may be needed for the material itself. Just avoid touching them with the iron, or iron from the reverse that part.

·        SKIRT

If there are any seams along the length of the skirt, always iron them first flat (opened up) from the inside. Pass the skirt over the ironing board so that the part near the waist is as straight as possible. Iron the part on the top of the board. Then rotate the garment so that another part comes on the top. Repeat until you reach the point you started. Then take the skirt off the board and by letting the part of the skirt near the waist hang in front of you, put on the board the bottom part with the hem. First iron the hem from the reverse. Then iron the hem and bottom part of the skirt from the good side. Hang on a coat hanger immediately after you finish.

Follow similar procedure for dresses. If the garment is a T-shirt with a printed pattern on, always iron it with medium iron from the reverse.

·        TROUSERS

Iron jeans flat, ie the same way as they are seen from the front when they are worn. Use a hot iron, and preferably iron them when they are still damp.

For trousers that are not jeans, proceed as follows: Stand up and hold them from the waist using the loops for the belt, in such a way that the legs are together, but you see them from the side. Place them like that on the ironing board lengthwise. They will be longer than the ironing board, so you place them so that the waist band hangs outside the board, rather than the legs. Lift the top folded leg up and let it drop away from the leg underneath. Iron the inside part of the leg underneath. Make sure you iron all the way up until the material of the leg meets the main body of the garment and the other leg. Then put back the top leg, straithen it in place and iron it. Then shift the garment so that the bottom of the legs hangs out of the board, while the waist part is placed flatly on it. Lift the folded front body at the top to iron the flyer underneath. Lift the folded back body at the top to iron the part underneath. Then iron the whole top surface of the folded main body. Then turn the trousers over and repeat the process so that the inside of the side that was ironed from the outside before is ironed now, and the outside of the side that was ironed from the inside before is ironed now.

·        SHEET

Fold the sheet into four, lengthwise. It is better if two people do that so that they can stretch the sheet as they fold it. Let the folded sheet hang in front of the board, while you place on the board only as much as it just covers the surface of the board. Iron that part and let it hang at the back of the board, while you bring on the board the next part of the folded sheet. Carry on until you reach the other end of the sheet. Then fold it again, lengthwise, with the ironed part inside. Repeat the process, having to deal now with half the length you had to deal with initially. Fold lengthwise again, putting the ironed part always inside. Repeat until the length is shorter than the width. Then iron on both sides and put aside.

·        PILLOW-CASE

Always iron first the inside folded rim/hem that sometimes covers the end of the pillow. Then straighten and iron on one side only. Embroideries etc: Iron them from the reverse and if they are too sensitive or too dry, use a wet tea-towel and iron from the top of the tea-towel to avoid direct contact between the hot iron and the material.





Care cotton can be washed with strong detergents and requires no speacial care during washing and drying. White cottons can be washed in hot water. Chlorine bleach may be used on cottons if the directions are followed; bleaching should be considered a spot-removal method and not used routinely with every load of wash, because excessive bleaching weakens cellulosic fibers.Less wrinkling occurs in the dryer if the cotton items are removed when they are dry and not left in the dryer longer than necessary. Cotton fabrics respond best to steam pressing or ironing while damp. Cotton is not thermoplastic; it can be ironed dafely at high temperatures.


Linen fabrics can be dry cleaned or washed without special care and bleached with chlorine bleaches. For upholstery and wall coverings, steam cleaning with caution to avoid shrinkage is often recommended. Linen fabrics have very low resiliency and require frequent pressing.



Wool does not soil readily, and the removal of soil from wool is relatively simple. Wool items do not need to be washed or dry cleaned after every use. They do not wrinkle very much.Garments should have a period of rest between wearings to recover from deformations. Hanging the item in a humid environment or spraying a fine mist of water on the cloth speeds up recovery.


Dry cleaning solvents do not damage silk. Some washable silk items can be laundered in a mild detergent solution with gentle agitation. Silk items should be pressed after laundering. Silk may water-spot easily so care should be taken to avoid this problem. Before hand or machine wasing, test in an obscure place of the item to make sure the dye or finish does not water-spot.


Regular rayon fabrics have limited washability because of the strength of the fibers when wet. The chemical properties of rayon are similar to those of the other cellulosic fibers. They are harmed by acids, are resistant to dilute alkalis, and are not affected by organic solvents. They can be safely dry cleaned. Rayon is not greatly harmed by sunlight. It is not thermoplastic and thus can withstand a fairly high temperature for pressing. Rayon burns readily, like cotton.

Synthetic fibers

Most manufactured fibers are heat sensitive. Heat sensitivity refers to fibers that soften or melt with heat. Heat sensitivity is equally important in use and care because of heat encountered in washing, ironing, and dry cleaning.