Steam irons that keep your linens crisp on hot, steamy days

Steam irons that keep your linens crisp on hot, steamy days

Linen has been “a warm-weather go-to fabric for ages,” according to Lucky magazine. And GQ and the Gentleman’s Gazette recommend it for outings this summer. But all three style magazines caution that linen can be a challenge to keep crisp. “It does wrinkle extremely easily, however—so consider yourself warned,” says Lucky. With lawn parties in high season, we asked our textile expert to share her secrets for ironing linen and other fabrics using some of the top-rated steam irons from our tests.

“Linen is sensitive to any moisture,” says Pat Slaven who oversees Consumer Reports’ steam iron tests. Instead of spraying dry linen with water, she recommends smoothing it out using the steam function of your iron and then making a second pass with a dry iron. “The bit of moisture left after the first pass will make the fabric relax and pucker,” Slaven explains. “The second dry pass will eliminate that.”

When ironing linen, it’s helpful to have a steam iron with separate controls for turning the steam on and off when you need it like those on the Singer Expert Finish EF, $ 60, a CR Best Buy. The SInger steam iron was excellent overall and a champ at ironing. It delivers plenty of steam and has a vertical steam feature that lets you remove wrinkles from hanging garments or drapes.

In addition to using an iron than works with and without steam, Slaven has some other ironing tips that’ll keep you looking dapper this summer.

  • Read the manual. “Too many of us just throw it away,” Slaven said, adding that the owner’s manual is full of information about the iron’s settings and most importantly, it contains a warranty card.
  • Damp dry your clothes. Reducing time in the dryer makes ironing easier since “it’s much easier to iron with a little bit of moisture,” Slaven said.
  • Start at the lowest temperature. Iron your silk garments first, followed by cotton and linen. “It’s very easy to get your iron hotter, but it may take an hour for the iron to get cold,” said Slaven. High temperatures can damage delicate fabrics.
  • Use tap water. Irons are designed to be used with tap water, the chemistry of mineral water can damage the iron. It’s fine to use filtered water.
  • After every use, empty the iron’s water reservoir.
  • Clean your iron. Put the iron through a cleaning cycle at least once a month to keep the water jets clean.

If your old iron doesn’t have a steam function or isn’t generating enough steam, it might be time to replace it. Our tests of more than 50 steam irons include some for less than $ 100 that have all the features you need for smooth ironing: steam adjustment, steam surge, a long cord and an auto shut-off function. The Rowenta Effective Comfort DW2070, $ 50, another CR Best Buy, was the least expensive Rowenta in our tests and the best of that brand that we tested. It was excellent overall, delivered superb ironing and lots of steam. For more than four times that you can get our top-scoring steam iron, the Panasonic NI-W950A, $ 220. This iron was excellent overall and can address all of your pressing concerns.

Izabela Rutkowski

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