The ironing robot challenge Instructions for a perfect ironing

Can you manufacture such a robot?

(See relevant editorial)

Instructions for a perfect ironing

Look at the labels of the clothes first and divide them into those that need cool, medium and hot iron. If there is no label, judge from the material of the cloth what type it is and what sort of ironing it requires. If clothes are too dry, dampen them first by spaying them with a little water. Before you put the iron on the cloth, you always straighten the cloth with your hands and fingers, so that no folds exist on the ironing board.

Start first from the clothes that need cool iron.

Iron first the collar on both sides. Iron next the caflings on both sides. Iron first the back, taking extra care for the shoulder parts and the seams with the sleeves. Then iron first from the back the strip of the front with the buttons. Then turn over, straighten and iron the whole front. Then iron the back of the strip with the button holes. Turn over and iron the whole front. Finally, iron the two sleeves, one at a time, after you fold each carefully along the seam. Button up the shirt and fold it as normal, or hang it on a coat-hanger immediately.

For blouses follow similar routine. Careful with the buttons; sometimes are nylon and they cannot take the heat that may be needed for the material itself. Just avoid touching them with the iron, or iron from the reverse that part.

If there are any seems along the length of the skirt, always iron them first flat (opened up) from the inside. Pass the skirt over the ironing board so that the part near the waist is as straight as possible. Iron the part on the top of the board. Then rotate the garment so that another part comes on the top. Repeat until you reach the point you started. Then take the skirt off the board and by letting the part of the skirt near the waist hang in front of you, put on the board the bottom part with the hem. First iron the hem from the reverse. Then iron the hem and bottom part of the skirt from the good side. Hang on a coat hanger immediately after you finish.

Follow similar procedure for dresses. If the garment is a T-shirt with a printed pattern on, always iron it with medium iron from the reverse.

Iron jeans flat, ie the same way as they are seen from the front when they are worn. Use a hot iron, and preferably iron them when they are still damp.

For trousers that are not jeans, proceed as follows: Stand up and hold them from the waist using the loops for the belt, in such a way that the legs are together, but you see them from the side. Place them like that on the ironing board lengthwise. They will be longer than the ironing board, so you place them so that the waist band hangs outside the board, rather than the legs. Lift the top folded leg up and let it drop away from the leg underneath. Iron the inside part of the leg underneath. Make sure you iron all the way up until the material of the leg meets the main body of the garment and the other leg. Then put back the top leg, straighten it in place and iron it. Then shift the garment so that the bottom of the legs hangs out of the board, while the waist part is placed flatly on it. Lift the folded front body at the top to iron the flyer underneath. Lift the folded back body at the top to iron the part underneath. Then iron the whole top surface of the folded main body. Then turn the trousers over and repeat the process so that the inside of the side that was ironed from the outside before is ironed now, and the outside of the side that was ironed from the inside before is ironed now.

Fold the sheet into four, lengthwise, so it becomes like a four layer long strip. It is better if two people do that so that they can stretch the sheet as they fold it. Let the folded sheet hang in front of the board, while you place on the board only as much as it just covers the surface of the board. Iron that part and let it hang at the back of the board, while you bring on the board the next part of the folded sheet. Carry on until you reach the other end of the sheet. Then fold it again, with the ironed part inside, so that its length becomes half. Repeat the process, having to deal now with half the length you had to deal with initially. Fold again halving the length, putting the ironed part always inside. Repeat until the length is shorter than the width. Then iron on both sides and put aside.

Always iron first the inside folded rim/hem that sometimes covers the end of the pillow. Then straighten and iron on one side only.

Iron them from the reverse and if they are too sensitive or too dry, use a wet tea-towel and iron from the top of the tea-towel to avoid direct contact between the hot iron and the material.

Iron them like sheets, but avoid pressing the edges so no creases are created. After each step, open the folded cloth and press the region around the folding edge so it is ironed too.

Maria Petrou (as she learned from her mother Dionisia Petrou)

Last update: June 2004