Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ironing Excitement

Years ago I wrote as part of a few lines of self-description, "I don't wear a lot of makeup, but a new lipstick in a good shade can make me happy all day."

The same, apparently, is true of ironing. I'm not particularly fond of ironing, and don't do a lot of it, but when I recently gave my heavy, unwieldy ancient ironing board to my son to take to the scrapyard and bought myself a lightweight, inexpensive one from Walmart, it lifted my spirits. Suddenly I could pluck the ironing board out of the pantry whenever I liked, and set it up in no time—and put it away with similar ease. I found myself ironing more often.

And when I found myself struggling with the knob that turns my 30-year-old iron on and off, I knew it was time for a new model. My soaring spirits would know no bounds.

That was a month ago. In my usual fashion, I set about researching irons. I knew one thing before I started: I didn't want a $300 Rowenta. I would keep the price under $50. Under $35 was even better.

I soon realized I didn't know much about today's irons. They can be electronic, cordless, corded with retractable cords, lightweight, heavy, with sole plates of ceramic, stainless steel, brushed stainless, titanium, or coated with a non-stick material. Their colors range from industrial grey to Day-Glo green.

So I asked some friends about their irons, and realized I didn't know much about ironing either. I was looking for something lightweight, whereas serious ironers liked a heavy iron. They insisted the iron would do the work for them this way—so what if their shoulder and arm ached for days afterward?

And the steam. The steam! Steam is everything, apparently. Revealing my ignorance, I admitted I never use steam. Instead, I pick up a spray bottle and spritz. Although this puts me in the amateur category forever, it also means I can ignore those Amazon reviews that complain about spitting, splashing, clogging, and staining. There are many of those.

I bit the bullet and ordered a Panasonic iron. I wasn't crazy about the color (Day-Glo purple), but I liked the reviews (many stars) and the price ($34). I also ordered an ironing board cover. Amazon is quick, and every day I expected my new toy(s) to arrive. Every day they did not. Eventually it occurred to me to look at the expected shipping date. Three months? I had to wait three months for an iron?? When I read on another site that the model had been discontinued, I canceled the order.

Next I ordered a T-Fal iron, based on Consumer Reports' raves. They liked its ceramic sole plate. Oh, and they loved its aggressive steam. I liked the idea of the sole plate....until I discovered that the ceramic is coated with a non-stick finish. Ever since I learned that non-stick finishes can't be used if there are birds in the house (a toxicity issue), I haven't wanted to breathe non-stick fumes, undetectable though they might be. So I canceled that order too.

I still don't have a new iron. I hope this isn't going to turn out like my mattress search, which lasted three years and resulted in three mattresses being returned to two stores. I have patience, though. And I've been blessed with an appreciation for anticipation. And I will continue to resist that $300 Rowenta.


Indigo Bunting said...

I had to buy an iron a couple of years ago (although I seldom iron). I bought a Rowenta DX1900, which definitely cost me less than $100 (I'm finding them online for about $60). I've definitely been pleased with it, but whether a nonironer like me is to be trusted is hard to say.

Susan said...

I'm beginning to trust nonironers more than ironers.

Bridgett said...

I iron out of necessity--Mike's shirts will go to the cleaners the moment I get my first paycheck this fall. And I press seams while I quilt. I gave in and bought a cheaper Rowenta, and I like it. It heats up, it turns off if I forget it, it's heavy. But it was cheap enough that it doesn't become a primadonna appliance in my household ("Don't touch mom's iron!").

Susan said...

I tried looking at irons in stores, but 5 stores later realized that most of their inventory exists online--I still couldn't heft the irons.

So I gave up and ordered this one today. It has many fans. I'm determined to love it. Or at least be satisfied with it. Or, at this point, even tolerate it. ;-)

Eulalia Benejam Cobb said...

Heavy is good, and so is steam. And best of all is that Tillie Olsen story that begins "I stand here ironing..."

Susan said...

You will shake your head, Ms. Cobb . . . I weighed my present iron, and it's only 1 lb., 13 oz. :-)

The new one is 3 lbs. I hope my rickety shoulder can handle it.

crystal said...

I hardly ever iron anymore and I just have an old one that still seems to work ok (with steam) and no ironing board because that's what the kitchen counter is for ;). Interesting about non stick coating and birds - I didn't know that.

I've been thinking about a new mattress because me back hurts and the one I have now is really old and lumpy and saggy. I couldn't believe how much they cost when I looked them up. I've sent for a futon - don't know how that will work out.

Susan said...

I don't know either, Crystal, but I suspect the futon will be far more satisfactory than a cheap "S brand" (Sealy, Serta, etc.). It may take time for your back to get used to it....try to be patient. :-)

Susan said...

PS: My new iron arrived today. It weighs exactly 1 lb. more than my old one, but I won't have to lift it; I just have to push it around. Looking forward to trying it tomorrow.

Helen said...

Can I send you some of the linen shirts I've worn only once because I can't stand ironing? Or do you think if I buy a new iron (in a funky shade of lime green) and ironing board I'll be a changed woman?

Why hasn't someone invented a steam chamber that can be used for de-wrinkling clothing?

Susan said...

The lime green iron might do the trick, Helen. Or it might not.

The steam chamber idea is intriguing, but I suspect it would fail as soon as someone glimpsed their hair after entering it.

You might like a hand-held steamer, though. I bought one for my daughter.