Pumpin’ Iron

Posted on October 8, 2013 by prairiemoonquilts in Miscellaneous, Studio News

Irons are a hot topic among quilters (ha — I made a pun!). Which one to use, and why? What features you love, things you can hardly tolerate, how much you want to spend on one . . . and there are so many choices!

GenQ Magazine, in their very first print issue, did a review of several irons. I was surprised to see that my favorite iron, the Shark Professional, got the worst reviews of all the irons they talked about! What?!

But that just goes to show that different people like different features, and have different experiences with their iron of choice.

What I’ve finally decided is that it makes no difference to me what brand or type of iron I use, it’s guaranteed to kick the bucket within a year of my purchasing it. Evidently, irons are just not made to be left on all day every day, and mine pretty much is.

So I kill them at an alarming rate, and have decided to just buy the less expensive ones, since I’ll be buying another one again real soon anyway. I’m on my fifth iron in 2 1/2 years. That’s an average life span of 6 months for any iron I get.

The first Shark iron I had was wonderful, and lasted me 10 months. I liked it because it was heavy. The GenQ review said that its weight was a bad factor! I liked the weight because it did most of the work for me. I didn’t have to push on it. It was so heavy it really PRESSED!

And it made good steam. Some quilters don’t like steam anywhere near their fabric. Again, all these things are just a matter of personal preference. And that’s OK.

My second Shark recently bit the dust, this time for a totally different reason than any other iron I’d ever owned. It got to where it wouldn’t stay on — it’s automatic shut-off would kick in every time I so much as moved it. I guess it was just tired of working non-stop!

So My Cowboy bought me another one. It’s just a cheap one. I’m sure its days are already numbered, having come to live here with me.

And first thing, I gummed it up with some fusible webbing because I’m not careful at all with that stuff.

Naturally, once I was done with the fusible, I realized that ironing anything else was going to be nigh onto impossible because the sole plate was a disaster. Did I kill my new iron before its time?

I did a bit of online research on how to clean said sole plate, but most of the cleaners they mentioned using, I don’t have on hand, and I’m 30 miles from town. And I wanted to use my iron NOW!

So here’s how I cleaned it . . .

I wrapped the top of the iron in an old towel and left only the sole plate exposed, then I sprayed the sole plate with Easy-Off oven cleaner. Then I let it sit. It has to sit for at least 2 hours.

This amount of time seems interminable when you’re wanting to use the iron, but I drug out the old Shark and suffered through the agony of turning it back on every time I was done moving it.

When I finally remembered where I’d put my new iron when the time was up, I wiped it clean, and it looks brand new! I was impressed . . . and amazed . . . and relieved . . . and I didn’t have to scrub at all!

I ran the auto-clean feature to blow steam and water through the holes from the inside, and I’m back in business! Woohoo!

Maybe I can make this one last a few more months. And when I’m not careful with fusible webbing, I at least know how to clean the sole plate now.

So . . . I’d like to hear from you . . . what brand of iron do you use? Do you love it? Hate it? Do you kill irons as fast as I do? Or is that just me? What features can you not live without? What features do you dislike about your iron? How much do you use your iron? Steam — no steam? Spill it all.

By the time this iron bucks out, maybe I’ll have enough information to make a newly informed decision on which iron to buy.

0 responses to “Pumpin’ Iron”

  1. Cindy says:

    First of all irons that are manufactured today are made to die quickly. After all they want you to buy another one. That’s how they make their money. Irons here would also bite the dust pretty quickly. At least one a year. So I have resorted to buying Old Irons from the thrift store. I am talking about the heavy ones with black handles. The kind my mother use to have before they went to new and improved cheap light weight pretty colored plastic. I haven’t had one die since. I don’t care if it has steam or not…..I use a spray bottle with water anyway. There is a problem….still being under the mind set that irons die, I bought several of these old vintage irons to have back ups. Since they don’t seem to die, I will probably be good for the rest of my life.

  2. Cindy says:

    Oh, glad to know about how to clean the iron. I wasn’t all that impressed with that iron cleaner stuff in a tube that you buy.

  3. Scarlett R says:

    The iron I’m using now is a Panasonic. It’s a pretty good iron and I like the retractable cord. I’ve had it for several years. I HATE the auto-shutoff!!! That is my least favorite feature about the newer irons! I, too, like the heavier irons of the past. They did a lot of the work for you. If you find the perfect iron, let me know!!

  4. WizCuz says:

    I am a partner in a quilt shop and at first we put a lot of money into irons, but after a few years, it occurred to us that it didn’t matter whether we paid $10 or $75 for an iron, it still bounced just as hard when a student knocked it off the ironing board, LOL! So now we check the Dollar Stores and Big Lots for whatever’s on sale.

    If it steams really well, about half of them are happy, if it doesn’t and we lable it DRY ONLY, the other half are happy. Same with the weight.
    Heavy, light…some love it and some hate it. So we switch them around so that SOMEONE is happy at any given time! LOL…yes it IS a VERY personal preference!


  5. Jocelyn says:

    I do agree with you that every one has their own opinion about irons. I have been using a Rowenta for about 15 years. I bought it at Costco, and it is made in Germany. I never put water in my irons, because I use a spritzer and it works fine. Years ago I read that unless you use distilled water, your iron will leak (?!!??!) I’m not really needing steam, so the spritzer works for me. Before the Rowenta I used the old GE irons like Cindy commented about. It lasted a very long time, until something happened to the cord. I wonder if I were to buy a new iron today, if it would last as long?? I think I will be on the look out at the Goodwill đŸ™‚

  6. Rose Marie says:

    I have the ultimate in cheap irons. My brother-in-law went to an auction and bought several and gave me one. Yep, free! My favorite price. My irons last about 3 years, I guess. Which means that I must put in about 1/3 less on time than Shelly. I always use steam except for fusing. I know that it is not supposed to be the best press, but it works for me. And I appreciate the news from the other commentators. When this free one dies, I will go for another cheap one.

  7. Rita says:

    I bought an Oliso and it lasted about 6 months, the company replaced it and that one lasted about 6 months. I emailed Bonnie Hunter to ask which iron she likes and she said she gets her irons at thrift shops and “never put water in an iron and they will last forever.” That is what I now do and have no problem. I have a spray bottle (recycled from window cleaner) for when I need steam. I bought a small, very old iron (with black cloth cord) at a flea market in Branson and it heats like no other. Love it.

  8. Barb says:

    I have several–some I bought and some I inherited. My daily use iron is a Rowenta attached to a steam “chamber”. I’ve had it about 5 or 6 years and it’s still going strong. I probably only leave it on about 4 hours at a time.

    My favorite iron is a Euro Steam irin that I bought at either Des Moines or Paducah at the trade show. ($200 for a pair) It came as a set of two–big one and travel size. It’s heavy and really cranks out the steam! I use it for ironing clothes more than pressing quilt blocks. If I had large pieces of fabric to iron, I’d use it. It is a really good iron.

    So, here’s a thought–rather than leave one on all day, why not use two irons and swap off? Use one for 4 hours, give it a rest and fire up the second one.

    Also, here’s my tip for remembering to turn my iron off and unplugging it at the end of the day… I put a clothes pin on my light switch. If the clothes pin is clipped to the switch when I go to turn out the lights, I know the iron is still on!

  9. Karen says:

    I prefer a cordless iron. On my second cordless iron. First one lasted for more than a year. On my second one, this Christmas it will be a year old and works like a champ. Its a Panasonic. I do not put water in irons, prefer spray bottles. And I use sizing too.

  10. Donna Hill says:

    I like steam and a heavy iron, so I spent the extra money and bought a Reliable that is supposed to heat the water with an extra tank. Yikes! It takes forever to heat up and you have to unplug it and start over if you have the timer feature on. I forget to shut that feature off. But it can put out some serious steam. So much that they tell you to iron over your fabric again to dry it! I also have the old-fashioned iron with no steam and it heats like crazy. But it is so hot that it could be seriously dangerous if I forget to shut it off. I think I will try a cordless iron next time. I hate messing around with a cord when I’m ironing a larger length of fabric.

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