Not many people enjoy ironing, and it can be especially time-consuming and frustrating if you’re blind or visually impaired. While hanging up or folding clothes immediately after they’re finished drying will help prevent wrinkles, sometimes ironing is a necessary chore. There are steps you can take to make ironing clothes easier and safer. Take safety precautions, such as gently reaching low for the iron’s cord when you’ve set it down instead of reaching around for the iron itself. Make your tools more accessible by using a tabletop ironing board, a cord holder, and by labeling your iron’s settings using a tactile pen.
EditUsing an Iron
- Fill a steam iron with water. If you’re using an iron with a compartment for water, you can fill it using a turkey baster or funnel. Carefully fill it prior to plugging it in, and listen for the sound of the water to become higher in pitch as you pour. While you’re ironing, you can monitor the water level by gently shaking the iron.
- Heat your iron and lay out your clothing. Plug your iron in, set it on a secure surface where it won’t get knocked over, and wait for it to get hot. While you’re waiting, you can set up your ironing board and lay out the article of clothing if you haven’t already done so.
- You can tell the iron is ready by the subtle smell a hot iron makes. You can also wet your hand, splash a bit of water on the iron, and listen for a sizzle.
- Use your hand to guide and flatten the material. When you’re ready to start ironing, hold the iron in your dominant hand. Use your other hand to flatten and guide the clothing item before the iron passes over it to avoid creating creases. Proceed in an even strip down the length of your garment.
- Take care to leave enough room between your guiding hand and the iron so you don’t get burned.
- Feel for the border between hot and cool patches. When you’ve finished a strip, lightly feel over it for obvious creases and iron them out if necessary. If you’re ready to proceed to the garment’s next section, feel for where the hot patch you’ve just ironed ends. Start ironing the next section, which will be cool to the touch.
- For pants, work from the waistline to the leg. For shirts and dresses, work from the collar or bustline to the bottom.
- When you’ve finished one side, flip the garment over and repeat the process on the other side.
- Let your iron cool for at least ten minutes before putting it away. After you’ve ironed both sides of your garment, set your iron down on a secure surface. Carefully and gently follow the cord to locate where it’s plugged in, but make sure you don’t pull so hard that you knock over the iron. Unplug the iron, and let it cool for at least ten minutes before putting it away.
- You can wet your hand and splash it again, or quickly touch the iron with the back of your hand to make sure it’s cool enough to put away.
EditTaking Extra Safety Precautions
- Rest the iron on a heat-proof pad. It’s preferable to set the iron down on a surface other than the iron board, especially if you’re using a more manageable tabletop board. A silicon-based or heavy terry cloth pad will help you avoid setting the hot iron down on a surface that’s prone to scorching. It will also help ensure the iron won’t get knocked over accidentally.
- Reach low and use the cord to locate the iron. If you’ve set the hot iron on a table and need to locate it, reach carefully and slowly at a level slightly below the table. Feel for the cord, then grab hold of it softly and slowly to avoid pulling the iron off the table. Let the cord guide your hand up to the iron so you can find the handle and safely lift it.
- Use a cable holder to avoid losing track of the cord. An ironing cable holder is a device that clips onto an ironing board or table on one end and, with the other, holds the cord away from your work area. This will help you avoid knocking the ironing over, accidentally ironing over the cord, or setting the iron down on the cord, which may cause it to fall. The clips that hold the cord in place will also make it easier to locate the cord without pulling the iron off of a surface.
- You can find cord holders online or at a home goods store.
EditMaking Ironing Tools More Accessible
- Choose a tabletop ironing board. Full-size iron boards can be unwieldy and difficult to set up. Instead, consider using a smaller, tabletop board. They’re easier to store and set up, and will allow you to choose almost any place in your home to iron clothes.
- There are also ironing board alternatives, like heat-resistant magnetic pads that stick to the tops of washers or dryers. Other non-magnetic substitutes that don’t stay in place, like a blanket or towel laid over a tabletop, are cumbersome and aren’t the best options.
- Use an ironing board with a solid color. If you’re visually impaired, choose a solid-colored ironing board or board cover. Avoid patterns, and go for a color that doesn’t appear much in your wardrobe to provide a strong contrast between the board and your garments. That way, you’ll be able to distinguish the board from your clothing more easily.
- Label your iron’s settings using a tactile pen. If most of your garments are, for example, cotton, and you don’t own many delicate items, you can keep your iron on a cotton setting. However, just in case, you should mark your appliance’s settings using three-dimensional plastic liquid. For example, use your tactile pen to mark one dot on the lowest setting or use a combination of dots to distinguish the settings you use.