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Ironing 101

It all begins with the iron.
Like so many things in life, the finished product is a direct result of the tools used to get the job done. Ironing is no different. Your experience will change dramatically when you choose the best tools for the job. For starters, we suggest an iron that produces steam like the ones used by the pros.

Why is steam so important?
Steam is what most garment factories and dry cleaners use to finish garments, so it's nothing new to the fabric-care world. However, in countries like Italy, France, Germany and Spain, irons that produce an abundance of steam – like ones with a steam generator – are common household items.

With a steam generator, large and dense volumes of steam are released in much greater quantities than with conventional irons where it's likely necessary to pre-spray your fabric in order to soften the fibers. In some cases it's even recommended to throw your clothes or linens into the dryer with a wet towel in order to "hydrate" the fabric.

With an increased quantity of steam, time-consuming tricks are no longer necessary. The power of an iron with a steam generator puts enough moisture into the fabric so that it can be professionally finished.

How does steam affect clothing fibres?
Steam does the hard work for you. In the past, it was assumed that a heavy iron was best for finishing clothes; it wasn't uncommon to see irons as heavy as bowling balls! With a high velocity of steam, moisture enters the fabric in a large quantity and effectively softens the fibers. When fibers are soft, they can be laid down flat by the plate on the iron.

Do I really need an iron with high steam output?
The truth is that you don't need to have a high volume of steam to iron but you do need it if you want to save time and have a professional finish.

By getting more steam into fabric at a faster rate, it can reduce ironing time by as much as 50%. With the fabric properly hydrated, it's easily shaped, wrinkles quickly flatten out and the whole process can be completed in a fraction of the time than if a conventional iron were used.

Is that it?
Now we have this beautifully hydrated and shaped fabric, lovingly treated by our iron with a velocity of steam, and you may be asking yourself, "Is that it?" Well, yes and no. There is the matter of an ironing table.

There are ironing tables.
You can use your creaky, tipsy ironing table, but why settle for wobble when you can use a sturdy, well-balanced Reliable table? Not only is this a safer choice, but the large work surface puts more material in front of you, shortening your ironing time. Like all Reliable products, our standard ironing tables are built to last; the galvanized working surface is coated with an anti-rust treatment and covered with a mesh screen to ensure maximum passage of steam. The best quality irons deserve the best tables.

And then there's vacuum + blowing tables.
If you really want professional results at home, we would like to introduce you to the iron's best friend and accomplice – the vacuum + blowing table.

What does it do?
Remember all that fantastic steam we lovingly put into the fabric? Well guess what: to get true professional results, we need to get all that steam out. That's where the vacuum part comes in. For a sharp, crisp finish you expect from the pros, the trick is to dry the fabric as a last step. A vacuum motor is literally built right into the ironing table so you can steam with the iron and dry with the vacuum at the same time; for lighter materials, you can steam first and then vacuum.

You think we're kidding?
Nope. This is how the professionals do it. In fact, getting the steam out of the fabric is so important, that before the age of vacuum tables, professional ironers used to take a piece of wood and literally whack the steam out of the fabric. As for the blowing part, some fabric, like corduroy and velvet – literally anything with a nap – doesn't respond well when pressed hard, so by floating the fabric on a layer of air, we can steam out the wrinkles without harming the nap.

Think that's impressive?
Well it gets better. Parts of garments benefit by being pressed out on a cushion of air; the area around a pant pocket is one great example. How many pants have you seen ruined by the mark of the lining showing on the outside of the pant? Have you ever seen a lining on a suit jacket that looks like the pocket flap from the other side is permanently imbedded into it? Not smooth. Literally. That's because it wasn't pressed out on a table equipped with blowing. Did you know that all good suit makers press the linings of jackets with specially shaped blowing tables? They wouldn't be without this essential tool.

What's all this really going to do for me?
That's a good question, and it really depends on how much ironing you do.

For some, a conventional iron is all they need for their wardrobe and lifestyle. For those whose mantra is "Buy well once," and have made an investment in their clothes, the best approach is gentle home washing with a front load washing machine, then finishing with a quality steam iron and vacuum + blowing table.

Treat your clothes with the same care that went into selecting them by protecting your investment with a Reliable home ironing system. It will reward you with speedy ironing, clothes that last longer, and clothes that look and feel great