The bane of this housewife’s existence? Irons.

Man, I tell you, if there’s one thing I hate about being a housewife in the UK, it’s the ironing.  I’m used to big tumble dryers that dry the clothes so well that if you fold them or hang them immediately, you don’t NEED to iron them.  Here?  Well yeah, you can GET tumble dryers like that here, but A) most houses aren’t built with the room for another full-sized appliance; and B) they’re fucking EXPENSIVE.  Not just to buy, but a gas dryer is an endangered species out here, so they’re all electric.  And they eat up that electricity like there’s no tomorrow.  I have a dryer similar to this one, but I only use it for things like socks and underwear, because it’s just too friggin’ expensive to run all the time.  So, I hang 95% of our laundry out on a line to dry.  (I do have to admit, though, that hung-out washing comes in smelling GORGEOUS.)

However, hung-out washing has one drawback: it ALWAYS needs ironing.  So I end up spending what feels like half my life doing nothing but ironing.  I wouldn’t mind it so much if it wasn’t such an absolute MINDLESS chore.  It’s not so bad when I can take over the computer room and play a movie or something.  Sometimes I’ll play YouTube (usually my beloved George Carlin 😉 ).

Now since I DO iron so much, I’ve had irons break on me.  And because we live on an extremely limited budget, I’ve had to buy the cheapest iron I could find sometimes because that’s all I could afford.  I’ve had irons break after one use because somebody knocked it off the ironing board and it cracked.  All in all, I’ve gone through roughly 6 or 7 irons in the 5 years that we’ve lived here, although it could be even more than that.

Just last week, I had an iron die on me.  It was the day my neighbor’s son David came over to ask me one last time, would I actually take the kitten.  I was at the door speaking to him for maybe five minutes – most likely less – and when I came back in the room, there was smoke pouring out of my iron.  There was still water in the reservoir, so I know it didn’t just boil itself dry or anything.  I unplugged it, freaked out for a minute (when you’ve had to live through one house fire already, seeing smoke pouring out of an appliance tends to bring back bad memories), and started checking out what irons I could get and for how much (since it’s been about a year since I bought the sssssmokin’ one, I wanted to see if anything had gone down in price, like it usually does).  I didn’t want to spend too much on it, but I didn’t want to get the cheapest thing out there, because I’d BTDT, and know better.

But Hubby came in the room and had to put his two pence in.  Normally I would be fine with that, but he convinced me to get the cheapest of the cheap.

And I hate it.

I keep trying to iron, but I’m standing there ironing the same spot for 10 minutes, and it’s still wrinkly.  I’ve got the damned thing on the hottest setting there is, and it’s like I’m breathing on it for all the good it’s doing.  Which is making my ironing pile up to the friggin’ ceiling, because it’s taking forever to iron anything, and even then it doesn’t look done.

So fuck it.  I’m buying another another iron.  He can bitch and moan all he likes, but he’s not the one spending half his day standing in one spot, trying to make the clothes look presentable, and getting so frustrated he wants to scream.

I’m just undecided which one I want to get.  Again, I’m not exactly going for top-of-the-range here, just better than what I’ve GOT.  I found this one and this one.  The sssssssssmokin’ iron is the same brand as the first one, so I know it’s a fairly good one (that iron lasted me the longest out of all of the ones I’ve owned so far), but the other brand is a fairly good one, too.  I don’t know that the extra £3 is going to make a difference in quality, though.  I’d happily spend the extra if I absolutely KNEW it was going to be a better product, but I’ve got NO friggin’ clue.

Okay, I realize this isn’t exactly important in the grand scheme of my life, but OMG is it ever FRUSTRATING!!!!  Why oh why can’t I find an iron that will just WORK… and for a good amount of time?  Without having to spend an arm and a leg on it?  Is that REALLY too much to ask???

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16 Responses

  1. Tell your husband if he has a problem with you getting a good iron, he can do the ironing 😛

    If you’re looking for advice, I would say get the one you’ve tried and know is good. And maybe spend the extra £3 on the 3 year warranty so if it breaks after a year again you can replace it.

    Can you listen to music while you iron to make it a little more interesting?

  2. I understand how expensive it is to run an electric dryer for every load. However, can you put your slightly damp clothing in it to finish off the dry, wrinkle free? Or even your dry clothing, sometimes. A lot of US dryers have a “fluff” setting that is really a “dewrinkle your wrinkly clothing” setting. it might cut down on your ironing time and also not be as costly as doing a full dry.

  3. You could try scoping out irons on Amazon.uk before buying. That way you can read other users’ reviews so you can figure out how to get the most iron for your money. I do it all the time, regardless of where I end up buying the *insert product here*, to make sure I’m not buying a known dud.

  4. My advice is to (1) stop ironing clothes altogether or (2) make your kids do it. =P

    I usually live by rule #1, and when my kids are old enough, you bet rule #2 will come into play.

    I hate ironing.

  5. This is why I refuse to iron or fold clothes. I make sure important stuff is hung up, and events absolutely needing ‘crisp’ clothes will see me get out the ironing board, but frankly hanging most things in a steamy shower room for an hour has the same effect, and we both seem to wrinkle everything as soon as we put it on anyways.

    My SO knows that if he wants an ironed shirt, he can iron it. We both work and are ‘equal’ bread winners, as it were, and have no kids. I’ll happily do laundry and hoovering/dusting if he folds clothes/irons/cooks and washes up.

    Hate ironing ><

  6. Having lived through it, it always seemed to me that the invention of perma-press fabric, and the rise of the clothes dryer allowed the “women’s movement” to happen.

    How can women find equality when they have to spend so much time ironing?

    I own only three garments that require ironing, and I find even that to be a pain.

  7. Hand held steamer!!

  8. You might check out the thrift stores too, though I’d ask to plug it in and see if it gets hot before buying in case someone used them to throw out a dud.

    And I’d try out the shower trick above for at least the blouses and dress shirts. The other thing you could try is letting the clothes mostly dry on the line, and just finishing them up in the dryer. I know that’s tricky though. Or you could toss the dry clothes in the dryer with a damp washcloth, I haven’t tried that, but it might work.

  9. I’ve done a lot of ironing in my day. From about the age of 12 on, I ironed all the clothes in our family that needed ironing, and one of my part-time jobs in high school was ironing for the people who ran the country club in our town. I even had to iron starched pillowcases (those are a stone-cold bitch to iron). One of the things that my mother taught me on making ironing easier was to dampen everything, roll it up, put it in a plastic bag to stay damp, and then iron it. I also always kept a spray bottle full of water on the ironing board for those stubborn wrinkles. If you don’t have the time to do all the ironing in one sitting, just dampen what you can get done (and if you don’t get to it, put the dampened, rolled up items in the plastic bag in the fridge until you can get to them). Putting them in the fridge for a day keeps them damp, but also keeps them from mildewing. I don’t even bother to use the steam setting on my iron, I just use the spray bottle and then iron dry, that usually works the best, especially on cottons.

  10. I’m with you….I LOATHE ironing. What a totally useless waste of time and energy. Your husband should share the ironing so he has more appreciation of having the right tool for the job. Plus, that sort of job really should be shared instead of falling only to one person. It will make him appreciate it more.

    I’d also second the suggestion that you line dry stuff, then toss them in the dryer for a couple of minutes with a damp washcloth. If you have a “fluff” setting, use that, or low heat. For many clothes, that’s enough, and it won’t put your electricty bill through the roof.

    There are probably some clothes it won’t work as well for (dress shirts, certain fabrics), so it’s not a cure-all, but it might help cut down the amount of ironing you do.

    And you can cut down on buying the kind of clothes that absolutely MUST be ironed. That’s my first and best approach. I don’t iron. We just don’t buy clothes that need it. A little fluffing in the dryer or a little steaming in the shower…..that’s it around here. Makes life SOOO much better!!

    But if you feel you must iron some things, see if you can do things to reduce the amount of ironing without driving your electrical bill sky-high. “Fluff” on the dryer for a couple of minutes shouldn’t be too bad.

  11. I recommend recorded books for this kind of task if you’re alone in the room. What makes it interesting is the way that having the prose read to you changes the experience of the book so much. I listened to The Hobbit years ago and it was twice as good to listen to as it was to read. The thing I loathe about most housework is that it’s so mind-numbingly boring but it’s hard to combine with something pleasant. I couldn’t do recorded books for years because the children constantly interrupted me but I love to do it now.

    I second the idea of the spray bottle. And if you put up the ironing board near a shelf, you can put the spray bottle and a glass of wine right there close to hand.

  12. Is there a laundrette close to your home? You could wash your clothes at home and then dry them in the dryers there.

  13. You snap the clothes before hanging them and before folding them, right? That really helps straighten them out.

  14. (by “snap,” I mean shake once or twice, very quickly and sharply)

  15. Becky, exactly! And ya know, if I’d have been able to be a little more specific as to WHY I didn’t want the cheap iron, he probably would have listened. He’s not a TOTAL ass. 😉 And I think I will go with the brand I’ve used before. The two are so similar in price that I’m thinking they’ll probably be similar in quality, too. So I may as well just stick with what I know.

    Laura, I wouldn’t have even thought of looking at irons on Amazon. I didn’t know they SOLD them! (Okay, checked. They didn’t have any of the Russel Hobbs, and they have a link to the Breville one that says it’s out of stock, but doesn’t have any reviews or anything. Ah, well… it was definitely worth a look! 🙂

    Jamboree, #1 isn’t an option for me because of the girls’ school uniforms. If they’re not ironed and near-perfect, the girls get called “scruffy.” I’m not having that. Option #2 doesn’t seem all that appealing to me, because I’d like to NOT have another housefire. 😉

    Boobs, part of the problem is that I’m not just ironing mine and Hubby’s clothes, but the kids’ clothes as well. I can’t expect them to do it – the 13 year old can’t even say “hello,” nevermind iron; the 11 year old I don’t TRUST around anything that generates heat, and the other two are only 6 and 7. So as of right now, I’m stuck. Sure, I could refuse to iron Hubby’s clothes, but honestly? It wouldn’t make all that much difference in the amount I’m left to do.

    Piffle, I’ve tried that damp towel trick before, and it doesn’t work in MY dryer. (It did work in my grandmother’s dryer, though, so I’m sure it’s something specific to the one I have.) I have no idea what the problem is. Maybe it has something to do with how small the drum is. I dunno. I just know it don’t work.

    vesta, actually, that’s how I used to iron when I lived with my grandmother. Because she had an iron older than ME and refused to get a new one because “this one works just fine.” So in order to get ANY creases out, I always had to iron with a spray bottle.

    If this iron would get hot enough, that would definitely be an alternative. But that’s the problem. Even the highest setting on this thing isn’t hot enough.

    Deeleigh, yeah, I do, but it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference one way or the other. Unfortunately. 😦

  16. Brigid, I don’t have a setting like that. Hell, my dryer only HAS three: High, Low, and Off. And as I said in my comment above, I’ve tried going that route, and for some reason they still come out wrinkled. I’m thinking it’s the size of the drum – I can only fit half a load in the thing at any one time, anyway. It’s really small.

    Sal, ha! 😆 Good point!

    Me, (okay, why does that sound like I’m talking to myself? 😆 ) actually, the Russell Hobbs one that I linked to in the post works as a hand-held steamer as well.

    wellroundedmama, in all fairness, Hubby did my job when I was working. I mean he did everything. I was working 50-60 hours a week, so even he agreed it was only fair that he took over 99% of the household duties, simply because I was almost never THERE. Yeah, he hasn’t done much since we moved here and I took over, but I do have to be fair; it’s not like he’s never done it. Just not in the LAST 5 years. 😉


    OlderThanDirt,
    that’s an excellent idea! I never thought of audio books, but that’s definitely something that would catch my attention. And as for regular house cleaning… I usually put music on and sing and dance while I clean. And if my oldest daughter is home? I have an audience. 🙂 Even at 13, she still loves to hear me sing.

    May Darling, unfortunately there’s no launderette anywhere near here. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen one as long as I’ve lived here (I’m sure they exist, but I’ve never actually seen one myself).

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