Understanding How An Iron Works

The Iron Itself

  • When an iron is set to a low heat setting it doesn’t get hot enough to produce steam. Water drips or trailing happens when the iron soleplate is too cool to turn the water into steam. You can avoid this problem by setting adjustable steam to “off” and not pressing the steam blast button when the iron is set to a lower temperature.
  • Although most irons heat up quickly, wait about two minutes before starting to iron. This ensures that the iron has reached the desired temperature/setting. Alternatively, if your iron has an indicator light, wait until the light has stopped blinking to ensure that the iron is at the desired temperature.
  • An iron heats up much faster than it cools down. If you have to change from a high setting to a lower one, wait about 5 minutes for the iron to reach the lower temperature.
  • If you’re ironing several items, it’s faster and easier if you sort them by temperature and start by ironing clothes that need the lowest setting first.

Common Misconceptions

  • The number of steam vents on an iron soleplate does not determine the steam output. The steam rate is influenced by other factors such as the design of the soleplate, the wattage, and how fast the water drips from the reservoir. More vents will not result in improved steam performance.
  • Higher wattage does not affect ironing performance, but will result in a faster heat-up time and better heat retention during steaming.
  • There is no connection between the weight and performance of the iron. Some people prefer a heavier iron because it seems to make the job easier, while others like a lightweight iron that puts less strain on the wrist and hand.
  • The size of the iron soleplate is more a matter of preference than a benefit since a bigger soleplate doesn’t iron much more fabric than a smaller one.

Favorite Test Kitchen Tips:

  1. Take clothes out of the dryer or off the drying line while they are still damp. Ironing is easier and quicker because very often the seams are the only places that need attention.
  2. Many people believe that distilled water is best for irons. But at Hamilton Beach, we do not recommend the exclusive use of distilled water in any of our irons. Here’s why:
    • While distilled water does not damage irons, tap water has some properties that are actually preferable.
    • Tap water contains minerals that act like “wetting agents” to help the water vaporize upon contact with the soleplate.
    • If you live in a hard water area, we recommend that you alternate between tap and distilled water.
  3. If you are ironing several items, it’s faster and easier if you sort them by temperature and start by ironing clothes that need the lowest setting first.
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