Whether you are a novice or a professional in ironing, slip-ups happen from time to time. You may accidentally burn one of your favorite clothes when ironing. This is normal, but it is also very avoidable.
Sometimes the heat from the iron may get as high as 445 degrees Fahrenheit which delicate fabrics often can’t handle. This is where the pressing cloth comes in to save your fabrics.
What is a pressing cloth for ironing?
A pressing cloth for ironing is a piece of cloth that is usually made from synthetic mesh or cotton. This cloth is placed on top of your delicate fabrics to serve as a barrier between your fabric and the soleplate of the iron.
So, a pressing cloth will prevent your fabrics from getting burnt or having scorch marks. Another benefit of using a pressing cloth is that if a fabric has poor quality printing, it will not transfer to the hot iron because of the pressing cloth.
Pressing clothes are quite cheap and affordable. Since you now know how useful they are, we advise you to get some for yourself if you don’t have any.
What Are the Types of Pressing Cloths?
The different types of pressing cloths are:
- Teflon pressing cloth.
- Mesh pressing cloth.
- Muslin pressing cloth.
- Parchment paper.
- Pillowcase and sheets.
Pressing cloths come in different forms and are made from different fabrics. However, cotton is the most common fabric used in making pressing cloths. There are other cheaper options like synthetic polyester mesh that you can also use.
The variety in pressing cloths is because there are certain fabrics that need a particular kind of pressing cloth. So, it helps to look out for what will work best for you.
Here are the different kinds of pressing cloths:
1. Teflon pressing cloth
A Teflon pressing cloth is a good recommendation for someone who sews a lot because it is suitable for most fabrics. You can also use Teflon pressing cloth for crafts.
However, one major benefit of this pressing cloth is that it prevents sticky substances like starch on your cloth from getting stuck to the soleplate of the iron. So, using a Teflon pressing cloth will save both the iron plate and your fabric.
2. Mesh pressing cloth
Mesh is not only meant for making dresses. It can also serve as a good ironing cloth. One of the best properties of a good pressing cloth is not just its ability to withstand high heat, but its see-through property as well. It is only useful to be able to see the fabric you’re ironing while you are ironing. This will help you know how well the ironing paper protects the fabric.
With a mesh pressing cloth, you also won’t skip some creases on your clothes as you iron. Because you can do this, it will also help you to know if you should adjust the thermostat of the iron or not.
What’s more? When you steam-iron your clothes, a mesh pressing cloth will allow the steam to penetrate the fabric properly.
Mesh pressing clothes are also quite easy to maintain and very affordable to purchase.
3. Muslin pressing cloth
The muslin pressing cloth is most commonly used when ironing delicate fabrics. It is made of cotton and is used for different types of clothes. The major advantage of the muslin cloth is that it can handle very high temperatures without getting burned.
Also, it is very easy to find a muslin cloth. You can purchase it at local clothing stores or stores where sewing supplies are sold.
4. Parchment paper
If you thought parchment paper was used by bakers alone, you thought wrong. Tailors also use parchment paper as pressing cloth for ironing.
They often use parchment paper when they attach appliques that need to be ironed to the fabric.
Parchment paper is also very easy to get online or from any local store around you.
Important Note: Avoid using wax paper as pressing cloth. Unlike parchment paper, a wax paper does not have heat-retention properties. It will melt when exposed to heat and may damage the hot iron soleplate and your fabric.
5. Pillowcase and sheets
Do you have bed covers and pillowcases that you are no longer using? They can also serve as pressing cloth for ironing your delicate fabric. Using a pillowcase is a very frugal method which will not cost you anything since you already have it. Your old bed sheet is also very large enough to give you so many pressing cloths. So, you won’t run out of them.
All you need is for the barrier (pillowcase or bed sheet) to take most of the heat while the iron smoothens your fabric.
When to Use a Pressing Cloth
You don’t need a pressing cloth to iron every fabric.
What are the types of fabrics you can use a pressing cloth on?
The types of fabrics you use a pressing cloth on include:
- Oilcloth, leather, and PVC.
- Silk materials.
- Coating weight wools.
- A new synthetic material.
- Dyed fabrics.
- Fusible interfacing fabrics.
1. Oilcloth, leather, and PVC – If you have clothes made from these fabrics, you’ll know that they are very difficult to press. But, for you to get a very attractive finish, you need to be able to flatten them. You will need a pressing cloth to achieve this.
2. Silk materials – Clothes made from silk and other delicate materials should not make direct contact with the iron plate. This is to prevent iron markings on the fabric.
3. Scuba – Scuba is a very unique synthetic fabric. This fashion version of neoprene sometimes melts when subjected to extremely high temperatures. So, a pressing cloth is useful when you iron it.
4. Coating weight wools – If you want to turn the iron thermostat to the highest levels when pressing coating weight wools, you’ll need a press cloth.
5. A new synthetic fabric – Whenever you are ironing a new synthetic material you’ve never pressed before, use a pressing cloth. So, you wouldn’t risk scorching or staining the fabric.
6. Dyed fabrics– Some people dye clothes when they lose their color. This frugal habit is not bad at all. But dyeing your clothes changes their characteristics. A fabric becomes more sensitive to high-temperature changes when you dye it. So, if you place the iron directly on the cloth, you may find the dye on the soleplate of the iron or even on the iron itself. So, a pressing cloth keeps the dye on your cloth by absorbing most of the heat from the iron.
7. Fusible interfacing – When sewing, you use fusible interfacing on some materials to give your finished cloth good details on the outside. The fusible interfacing is placed on the wrong side of the fabric so that your dress or garment maintains its shape and crisp after you’ve washed and worn it several times.
So, after placing the iron on the ironing board and putting your fusible interfacing, make sure you use a pressing cloth. Using the pressing cloth when ironing on the fusible interfacing allows the interfacing to stick properly. So, the interfacing is less likely to remove when you’re sewing. Moreover, the interfacing wouldn’t stick to the iron.
Video: Why You Should Use A Pressing Cloth
Check out this video to find out more on why a pressing cloth is necessary sometimes:
What are the Benefits of Using a Pressing Cloth?
Here are the benefits of using a pressing cloth:
1. It saves you money and the stress of trying to remedy burns and scorch marks on your clothes.
2. It prevents residue buildup from starched clothes from forming on the soleplate of your iron.
3. It prevents scorch marks or shine on your clothes.
4. It prevents your iron from getting scratch marks from buttons and zippers.
5. It keeps the sticky materials away from the iron plate.
6. It increases the lifespan of clothes because most of the ironing heat are absorbed by the press cloth.
7. When you wash clothes, the fabric shrinks. You will notice this when you try to wear those clothes without ironing; it feels tighter. Directly heating the fabric with the iron stretches the thread too much. But if you use pressing cloth while ironing, the fabric returns to its original shape.
Other Alternatives To Pressing Cloth
What are the other alternatives to pressing cloth?
Here are some other alternatives to the pressing cloth:
- Silk organza
- Old cotton shirts
- Tea cloth.
With these options, you can make your own pressing cloth at home.
1. Silk Organza
Silk organza is a very expensive option of a pressing cloth. But it has a lot of benefits that make it a great option. Silk organza is transparent, so you can see your fabric when you are pressing it. You will be able to handle all the creases that you may not spot easily when you use an opaque pressing cloth.
Also, silk organza has a smooth surface which means there won’t be any strange patterns transferred to your fabric after ironing. This material withstands a lot of heat. So, you may have to press the iron harder on the surface to get a smooth outcome.
The interesting thing about it is that although it looks very fancy, you probably have it at home already. Silk organza is used to make scarfs, dinner gowns, and veils. Those are not hard to find.
Meanwhile, here’s one silk pressing cloth you may want to consider:
2. Old cotton shirt
A typical pressing cloth is made from cotton. So, you can just head over to your wardrobe and pick out one of your old cotton shirts if you don’t have an actual pressing cloth.
Although your shirt may not be transparent, it absorbs the heat of the iron very well. Your cotton shirt will work great when you’re trying to press a tough fabric such as corduroy. You can also use it for fabrics like camel hair and flannel.
3. Tea cloth
Tea cloths are not commonly used as pressing cloths, but they work just fine. Now, because they are mostly thick and have patterns on them, they may leave marks on fine fabrics. However, they absorb most of the heat.
Meanwhile, if you want your garment looking smoother, you can dampen the towel a bit to produce some steam.
Is There a Difference Between Pressing Cloth and Ironing Cloth?
A pressing cloth is not different from an ironing cloth. The only difference between them is what you do with them. For pressing cloths, the iron remains in place, pressed against the fabric on the ironing board. For ironing clothes, the iron is moved back and forth over the material. However, in both cases, these clothes serve as a barrier between the iron and your fabric.
Video: Make Your Own Pressing Cloth
Up for a challenge? Learn how to make your own pressing cloth when you watch the video below:
For more ironing tips, check these articles:
- How to Avoid Ironing — An Expert Guide
- How to Remove Ironing Stains from Clothes
- How to Make a Quilting Ironing Board in 3 Ways
- How to Wash Dress Shirts Without Ironing
- How to Make Linen Water for Ironing in 2 Steps
- Where to Buy a Good Ironing Board — A Complete Guide
A pressing cloth, as we have seen, is an important item for ironing and pressing clothes. A pressing cloth, which is sometimes called an ironing cloth, protects delicate fabrics from scorching and shining due to the high heat.
You do not need to use ironing clothes when pressing most thick fabrics. The probability that such fabrics would get burned is slimmer. The only way thick fabric could get damaged due to heat from the hot iron is when the iron is faulty and the thermostat no longer regulates the heat.
However, to get those creases out of your delicate fabrics like silk, it is important to have a pressing cloth in your home.
Meanwhile, remember that having a pressing cloth does not mean you should not use the right settings on your iron. Ensure the regulator is kept at the appropriate level depending on the type of fabric on the ironing board.
What is a Pressing Cloth for Ironing — Related FAQs
What can you use as a press cloth for ironing?
You can use a napkin, handkerchief, a white tea towel, or a piece of white cotton fabric as a press cloth. To avoid stains from using a press cloth, do not use patterned or dyed fabrics.
You can sprinkle water on your press cloth before using it. But it depends on the severity of the wrinkles on the clothes you are ironing and the nature of the clothes.
To determine if you need a press cloth for your fabric, do an ironing test on a small piece of your fabric. If there is discoloration or a shiny appearance, you need to use a press cloth while ironing it.
What makes a good pressing cloth?
A good pressing cloth should be made of white cotton fabric and should not leave a stain on the cloth being ironed.
A good pressing cloth should be able to cover a larger part of ironed clothes. It should also be used with both dry and steam irons.
It should be transparent to a great extent, withstand high heat, not dyed, or have imprints. Apart from cotton, you can use different fabrics as your pressing cloth such as worsted wool and silk.
You can use other alternatives such as pillowcase, parchment paper, or muslin cloth as your pressing cloth.
What is the difference between pressing and ironing clothes?
Ironing is done when you move a heated object over the fabric in a sliding motion. This is what a lot of people do when their clothes have wrinkles. Pressing is done by applying pressure on a seam or fabric to flatten it. It can also be done by applying pressure on a part of a fabric using a hot or cold iron.
Ironing is done in a sliding motion while pressing is done in an up-and-down motion. Ironing requires heat and/or steam while pressing can be done without heat. While ironing is best for wrinkled clothes, pressing is best used on seams and newly sewn clothes.
Although ironing and pressing clothes are used interchangeably most times, they do not really mean the same thing.
What basic equipment is used for pressing?
The basic equipment used for pressing are
2. Ironing board or a table.
3. Ironing board cover for covering the ironing surface to prevent stains.
4. Pressing cloths for covering the cloth to be pressed to prevent stains.
Other equipment you can use for pressing are:
1. Mini iron for pressing narrow corners.
2. Tailor’s ham for pressing puffed sleeves and darts.
3. Needle board for pressing a pile of fabrics.
4. Clapper board used in beating a cloth seam into a flatter shape.
5. Sleeve roll used in pressing sleeves.
What is a pressing ham used for?
Pressing ham is a stuffed pillow used to press curved parts of clothes such as collars, cuffs, and darts. It is also called a dressmaker’s ham.
It is shaped like ham and has a pocket where the user can slip in their hands while pressing. The round shape of the pressing ham helps the shape of the curved seams to come out perfect.
If you want to make your pressing ham, use a tight-woven fabric that will not allow your stuffing to come out.
What is garment pressing?
Garment pressing is the process of applying pressure, heat, and moisture to shape a garment into different forms. The pressing machine deforms the garment into an elastic state and turns it into the desired shape. When the garment cools down, it takes up the shape formed.
Apart from reshaping a garment, pressing can be used to remove wrinkles on a garment; make creases where needed; prepare a garment for sewing; and apply finishing touches on a garment after sewing.
In garment pressing, heat is used to soften the fibers of the garment so that it forms the desired shape of the designer.
Moisture is used to transfer heat to the garment in order to make it flexible. The pressure is used to make the new shape durable and drying is used to remove the excess moisture on the garment after pressing.
The period that different types of fabrics should be exposed to heat, moisture, pressure, and drying varies.