Monday, October 03, 2011

A “Pressing” Question!

This is one of those times where a simple question in email form turned out to be a question I’ve answered more than once, so there might be more than just one of you that this post might benefit!

The email came from Kay, and she asked:

Hi Bonnie:

I am a new blog follower and love to read your old and new posts. I have a question. From the blog post of yesterday where you showed your hotel room setup, what is the brand of your iron? I have a Rowenta travel iron and love it, but can’t keep them. I am on my 3rd one.

Thanks for all your inspiration, and isn’t it nice to have a job that you LOVE!


I have found the one sure way to kill an iron is to put water in it. Of any kind. Purified, Tap….it doesn’t matter. Water Kills Irons!

Even expensive Rowenta irons will die a slow messy drippy death if water is put IN the iron. Besides that, who wants to travel home from a workshop with an iron that still has water in it and is going to leak all over the inside of your car, or on your project?

Not me! Even “cheap” irons will last years and years if you keep them DRY!

If I need steam, I keep a spray bottle of water next to my machine and just spritz my block parts when needed. But most of the time I just use a dry iron. Unless the fabric is really wrinkled badly...it really doesn't need steam to get a good press on the fabric.

I know for certainty that you can take a perfectly square half square triangle unit and distort it way out of shape just by the simple adding of steam into the equation!


As for my little travel iron? It's from Walmart or Target...It's a little Conair. It might have been around 20 bucks. I like this one because the handle does NOT compact down....it's not a moving part like on some travel irons, and those that have a collapsible handle can break easily, or they wobble. I need sturdy. This fits the bill for me! And it gets HOT. The temp settings are adjustable.

I also know that there are cute little mini quilting irons that look like “little girl sized” play irons in a variety of colors. I don’t think they get as hot. And I know that the cords fall out of them when you use them, at least on the ones I’ve seen. Though they are a cute novelty, I like the size of this one and the adjustable temp setting better!



  1. Hi Bonnie, I agree - water kills the iron. I use my original Rowenta travel iron and love it. I did put water in once in a while and now it spews brown yuck if I do, even after I cleaned it! Love my spray bottles.

  2. I'm with you on this, Bonnie! I never put water in my irons and they last forever--even cheap ones. I also want a travel iron that gets hot--too many of them don't. I'll have to check out the one you have. The small irons I have tried so far to take to classes have disappointed me in their inability to really heat up!

  3. Thank you for this great tip! I always have a spray bottle handy and still use water in my iron. Light bulb!

  4. Finally! Now I understand why I go through irons like crazy. Every one of them eventually succumbs to the "spitting gunk and dripping water" syndrome. Thanks Bonnie. I can't imagine why this didn't occur to me earlier.

  5. I have a good old cheap iron from Dollar General that I invested a while $9.00 in and I love it! It gets super hot, is very light weight, and incredibly sturdy. In fact, my mom keeps asking about it and so I bought her one recently. I think she will be soon using the little cheapie I bought her instead of her fancy, retractable cord iron!

  6. I haven't used steam since I went to a Ricky Tims seminar and he said all irons develop incontinence! A spray bottle has been my go to since then and I agree with you, most times I don't need to use it.

  7. I must be incredibly lucky (or just have soft water) because I've been using the same cheap iron for about 15 years, and always with steam. The one before that didn't last as long and died a horrible death, but I think that had more to do with dropping it on concrete than anything else.

  8. Yes I'm a NO water in your iron Gal!I really think it helps.

  9. I don't use a steam iron type at all - the little steam holes on the sole plate mess up my seams... (yes, I admit it, I often "iron" rather than "press") ...so I have a flat iron and use a spray bottle too when necessary. ...Margaret

  10. I have been sewing and ironing for years. That is a great tip. Never even thought about it. I just grumble when it makes a mess. And yes I love my Rowenta and it also spews yucky stuff now. I will dry mine out and try it your way. I do keep a spray bottle next to my board too.


  11. That is why my husband and I have seperate irons....

  12. Anonymous12:12 PM EDT

    I have a question about the chair that you showed in the hotel sewing setup. Is it some type of folding chair?
    gauen at mbc dot edu

  13. I agree. I never use steam when quilting because it is too easy to distort your block.


  14. Bonnie, I was fortunate enough to see this quilt yesterday at the Blue Valley Quilters' Guild meeting. It is spectacular in person! Must make one!
    Robin A.

  15. Anonymous9:07 AM EDT

    I have never used steam for piecing either; I just spritz with water or Best Press if needed. I cringe everytime I go to retreat or other group sessions and see others not only steam their piecing to death but they are pushing that iron along. Then they wonder why their HST is distorted?

    I have had a Rowenta for a very LONG time and it has never given me problems, but I had to have a serious conversation with my hubby about using water in it when he presses his shirts! May have to get him his own iron! :)


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