Making a good first impression is a must in today's competitive business environment, and attention to detail gives you an edge. While a wrinkled business shirt is noticed by most and may make a negative impression, well- pressed clothes announces to the world you are a man of discipline and order. Unbelievably, you can iron a shirt in less than five minutes using the following techniques.
Let’s start by choosing the best iron.
A well-build soleplate identifies the quality iron. Soleplates can be made of:
According to Consumer Reports, stainless steel or ceramic soleplates perform better and glide easier than those made from non-stick materials or coated aluminum, which means your ironed clothes will look better and your job will be faster and easier if you choose one of the former.
Most consumer irons consume power from 420 watts to 1800 watts. The higher the wattage, the quicker the iron will heat. In terms of benefits to you, rememberbusiness shirt fabrics like cotton and linen need higher heats to remove the wrinkles, so a hotter iron can reduce the ironing time significantly. Additionally, the iron's capacity to produce steam relies on the temperature of the soleplate. The higher the temperature of the soleplate, the steadier the steam produced.
Steam breathes life into fabrics because the hot moisture smooths out the wrinkles with minimal effort by distributing heat evenly across the garment's fibers. Higher-end steam irons feature over 300 holes to deliver a clean, uniform mist. A good steam iron can also be used indirectly on wools and other delicate fabrics, which saves you money by cutting down on dry cleaning costs.
Don't equate price with quality. Expensive irons made from lightweight materials are not better in terms of performance. These are typically designed to accommodate the needs of those who suffer from arthritis or are sensitive to weight differences.
Hotels or motels offering expensive in-house cleaning services can quickly drain your expense account. You can save time and money by packing a travel iron and doing your own ironing. To make a substitute ironing board in a pinch, place a towel on a flat surface (like the bed).
Choose a study model with a top that you're comfortable ironing on. If you are on a tight budget, buy a sturdy old ironing board and cover it with a pad. If you like, try putting aluminum foil beneath the ironing board cover to reflect the iron's heat back on itself. This simulates ironing from both sides. However, use this tip with caution since the higher heat could cause you to burn your clothes.
Avoid re-using a bottle that previously contained a cleaning agent. A quality spray bottle will spray water evenly over your shirt to prepare it for ironing. This step is critical if your iron does not have a steam function.
Hard water may contain unwanted particles or high mineral concentrations so avoid using it for ironing as it can damage the iron. It may also leave marks on the shirt fabrics, and these stains can be hard to remove. However, some minerals in the water can help water vaporise better when it comes into contact with the soleplate. Use drinking water for ironing your clothes unless the manufacturer of your iron specifies the use of distilled water.
In a pinch, you can make a quick ironing board pad from a light coloured cotton towel. You can also use rolled, used inside sleeves as a makeshift sleeve board.
Use starch in moderation and in accordance with the iron manufacturer’s specifications. Using too much starch can make a cotton shirt feel unbreathable - like wearing a plastic bag. To make your own starch solution, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch into two cups of water. Put this in a different spray bottle and lightly mist the fabric before ironing.
These instructions are based on ironing cotton business shirts with an iron setting of 5-6.
Turn the shirt inside out, iron the inside first, and then, iron the outside.
Check the shirt label for fabric content and any special instructions by the manufacturer. In general, shirts made from cotton or cotton blends can withstand high temperatures, but polyester shirt fabrics are more sensitive to heat. If you're unsure, start with a low setting. Gradually increase the temperature setting when you see the shirt responding to the heat of the iron.
For best results, shirts should be moist – not soaking wet. This enables you to dry iron without having to worry about your iron's steam function. Mist dry shirts with the solution in the spray bottle; conversely, you can pull the shirts out of the washing machine and iron them as is.
To make your ironing tasks quick and easy, set up the ironing board near a power outlet close to your wardrobe. Fill the iron with water and set it to the correct heat setting. Keep all your ironing equipment together, as far as possible, to minimize your effort and maximize your time.
Here's some little known tips and tricks of the trade to make ironing a breeze:
Using tap water in your iron eventually leads to a build-up of mineral deposits. You will notice this when your steam output slows down. Cleaning the iron regularly prevents this. Here's the method:
Iron your shirts in batches. More time is spent on preparing the clothes and the iron than in ironing the shirts.
Start with garments that need the lowest temperature before ironing cotton or linen garments that need high temperatures. It takes an iron longer to cool down than to heat up, hence it makes sense to iron the garments needing lowest temperatures first.
If you use a clothes dryer, pull shirts out before they are completely dry or hang them straight from the washing machine and let them air dry somewhat before ironing. This reduces the need for moisture or steam when ironing and makes your garments last longer.
For those emergency situations when you do not have time to iron, pop your shirt in the dryer along with a moist (not wet) wash cloth or hand towel. Amazingly, five minutes of dryer heat combined with the moisture from the towel will smooth out the wrinkles and refresh the garment.
If you are going to pack your shirts for a week's travel, iron them after you arrive rather than before packing them.
If you are using a questionable iron that might leave marks, turn the shirt inside out and only iron the inside portions. The difference is negligible and any marks will not be visible.
If you fear the ironing board cover or pad may leave marks on your shirts or you can feel the metal underneath, cover the top of the ironing board with a cotton towel.
Choose an iron with an auto-shutoff to avoid the risk of fire.
Use the iron at its highest setting to produce steam. Any other setting could cause the iron to drip.
Always empty the water from the iron while the iron is hot. This reduces the moisture in the water compartment.
More information about men's business shirts and tailor made suits is available at our website or you can pop by our Sydney showroom and look for yourself at the various options.
Original idea for article from Antonio Centeno, author of the internet's most actionable men's style guide. We recommend a read!
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