January 1, 2017

Ironing – an ancient skill – but are there green alternatives?

It seems that most of the clothing that needs ironing is made of natural fibres such as pure cotton and linen but are there any alternatives to the weekly basket of crushed clothing?  After all, you can’t work in a real office (as opposed to a virtual one like mine) in pyjamas, un-ironed shirts and bathers, can you??

Heating up the iron and pressing just one basket of ironing uses a lot of power.

According to this website: www.consumerenergycenter.org

a household iron will use 1 kilowatt-hour for each hour of use. That’s the equivalent energy used to light four 250 watt light bulbs for 1 hour.

If you are a slow ironer or use one of those super-dooper steam irons you will obviously use more.

Here in the tropics, we change our clothes a lot and some of these are made of linen and look awful when not pressed.

Synthetics are so petrol derivative and uncomfortable to wear that these are really not an option in the heat and neither are they particularly green.

I couldn’t sleep without my 1000 thread count pure cotton sheets as polyester is a killer in the heat as well.

So here are a few alternatives for a green makeover for your laundry basket:

  1. Hang clothes on the line with great care. Smooth things out and if there is some wind, check it part way through the drying process and re-smooth.  When you hang sheets, hang them very squarely over the line.  When you REMOVE them, drag one side back towards the left over the sheet till it is perfectly aligned with the bit of sheet underneath.   Then repeat with all layers to the right.  Then back again.  Then and only then remove your layers from the line and they should be pretty much perfectly folded.  All you need do is fold them lengthwise and they will stay neat.  With shirts, hang them on hangers with a button done up. Shake them out well and smooth the button areas and any lined bits.  You can generally get away with not ironing them, even linen.  I use hangers galore.  It saves masses of time.
  2. Buy clothes made of crinkle cotton or voile. Looks good and never iron them again as you will flatten out the groovy look.
  3. If you have a steamer, you can hang all your clothes up and give them a short, quick blast of steam and pull them into shape.  (I use a steamer as a chemical substitute but they do eat power so be careful.  Get your clothing organized before switching it on and turn it off when you are finished.)  Steaming your shirts vertically is at least twice as fast as ironing.
  4. If you just have tiny areas needing ironing, use your hair straightener.  It uses a lot less power.
  5. In winter, just iron the collar and wear a jumper or jacket over the top …you will find the rest will iron itself in your body eat to some degree in case you need to remove that top layer during the day!
  6. Hang your clothes in the bathroom while you have a hot shower.  It relaxes the wrinkles.
  7. Blast your slightly dampened clothing with a shot from your hair dryer while holding it straight.

Of course, the best alternative is to get a job where ironed clothes are not the standard, such as a home office.  Me?  Well, sometimes I even work in my bathers and they NEVER need ironing.

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