Do You Iron at Work?

How to Iron a Shirt from the Chicago Tribune

Gwen Whiting, co-founder of The Laundress has a degree in textile science from the Ivy League, and was actually graded for ironing. Her advice is below.

Step #1: PREP
Check for grime on the bottom of the iron. Also clear the ironing board of any debris. If it’s really dusty, throw the cover in the wash.

Step #2: START WET
Skip the dryer, ironing straight from the washing machine. Not possible? Use a spray bottle of water to dampen.

Heat: Crank iron to whatever temp matches your shirt. Look for the itty-bitty words on the dial and on the back of your shirt tag. If your shirt is oxford cloth, crank to “cotton/linen.”

Step #3: STARCH?
It’s optional and builds up over time, so you should occasionally throw the shirt in the wash to remove build-up, even if you usually dry clean.

Types: Corn starch is for natural fabrics; sizing for synthetic fabrics. Spray on before ironing begins.

Collar: Pop it and iron from the tips toward the middle. Iron the inside. Flip. Do the outside. Don’t turn down the collar until the rest of the shirt is ironed. Do NOT iron a crease into the collar.

Cuffs: Starting on the inside, iron from bottom edge toward the sleeve. Flip cuff. Repeat. Also poke the tip of the iron into the pleat(s) just above the cuff.

Sleeves: Hold up and tug taut the arm so you’ve got a crisp straight fold from shoulder to cuff. Lay sleeve on the board, and in long sweeping strokes, iron in a straight solid crease. Do the back of the sleeve first because inevitably you’ll get creases, so save the front for last. Slide the armpit part of the sleeve over the tip of the ironing board, and iron flat the shoulder.

Yoke: Staying in that position, hit the yoke, that double-layer strip that connects the collar to the shirt body. Swing the iron from shoulder to mid-back. Switch shoulders. Repeat.

Front non-button side: In long strokes from collar down, start with the placket (the strip with all the button holes).

Pocket: Iron from the bottom up.

Back: Iron below the yoke, from top to bottom.

Front button-side: Lastly, using the tip of the iron, weave in and around the buttons.

Done: Hang it up so as not to have to do it again (wooden hanger preferred).

Do you iron at work?


  1. Nope I don't iron and don't even know where their iron is. Won't iron and never will. Don't make enough money and don't know how to do it well enough. I don't even iron my own shirts think I should be ironing onesies?

  2. In my very first job there was lots of ironing which I mostly didn't mind as the baby could be in his huge playpen while I did it, or else the TV was on.The mom wanted the kids clothes to like pressed for school and after awhile they weren't hard too.We also used cloth napkins a lot, but the return on that was – very gourmet meals prepared by her.There have been many school uniforms in past that needed an iron. Or else little girls in cotton dresses that really do look better when they aren't wrinkled.

  3. Nope I don't iron. I wonder why we'd need to iron children's clothing? The school uniforms do not require ironing and their few fancy dress up clothes are sent to the dry cleaners. Hillary Boston Suburbs

  4. Only in my previous job. The little girl had cotton dresses, and the mom wanted me to press them, so I did.This kid was fascinated by clothes from the time she was a baby scooting around the floor and finding adult clothes, trying to pull socks on over her feet, etc. She'd go completely focussed when her mom took her in dressing rooms to try on clothes, however long it took. I'd go to put an outfit on her when she was completely pre-verbal, and she'd cry and arch away…I'd take her to the closet and she'd consider the outfits hanging there, grab one, and then be completely cooperative about me putting it on her. It was uncanny!Granted, at that point it was probably mostly sensory choices rather than fashion statement, but she did grow into a girly girl who was very aware of how her clothes looked.All this to say, in that particular job, although I didn't like having to iron, it did make some sense for the temperament of the child. And I only had to iron those lovely little-girl frocks, not any adult clothes.

  5. I've never been asked to iron. I don't remember ever ironing kids' clothing in 26 yrs of nannying. Although, I could see why we might with certain items and wouldn't be offended for an important event like a school concert or Communion or something.Reyna HNY NY

  6. I do iron because the parents pay me more to do so. I don't get it. I interviewed and said YES to ironing despite not wanting to. They offered me $200 more per week than previous job. I think a little ironing is worth $200! I'm a little shocked on your FB page noone irons. For an hour of ironing a week it's worth the extra $200 for me. It's called being flexible and helpful. I only iron dressier cotton shirts and dress pants and fancy dresses with ruffles or pleats. No one enjoys ironing but it's no big deal to me.

  7. No I dont iron at work but I do think it is an appropriate task for a nanny to do for the children. I think it would be wrong to have to iron for the adults though. Just the kids makes sense for a nanny to do.Imani O

  8. No interest in ironing at all. Of course if they ask and need a shirt ironed I'd do it but not regularly.

  9. Although I understand nannies should be willing to mend clothes and iron clothes I have zero interest. No reason kids clothes need to be ironed. I don't iron my own clothes.

  10. Really? You can iron clothes right out of the washer? I thought I could get electrocuted. So the clothes don't get scorched by boiling water?Obviously the answers to my questions is no because I spray water on clothing and put water into the iron all the time.AMAZING!!

  11. Who has time for ironing?

  12. I do for the first time. I always answered I prefer not to when asked in interviews and I saw the reaction of two parents once when I said I wasn't very good at ironing. The interview was essentially over.Now I say "OK I'll give it a try." I got this job and it's the best I ever had! Don't say "No" until you hear what the family will offer. Sometimes it's worth doing one chore or task you don't want to just to make super money.

  13. I just tried ironing as the article suggests taking clothing out of the washer and not drying them before ironing and it bombed because it takes too long to dry even with the iron.Better advice IMO is dry until damp, on delicate cycle, then iron. That works best for me!

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