A typical iron uses 1600W of power which is more than a vacuum cleaner, toaster or microwave. Do you really need carefully ironed fitted sheets, socks and pyjamas? EcoFrenzy suggest some ideas to save time, money and energy spent ironing, we are sure you can find better things to do!
Money saving tips
Minimise the need for ironing
Minimise the need for ironing by less spinning after your wash cycle and hanging clothes out to dry straight away. The water still in the clothes will work with gravity to pull most wrinkles out.
If you routinely iron for 2 hours a week and then you cut it out, you can save £57 (50kg CO₂) per year
If you took 5 minutes to iron a badly crumpled, dry shirt it would cost about 4.6p. At that rate 5 shirts a week for a year would cost £11.90 (10.5kg CO₂).
Low wattage irons
Buy the lowest wattage iron you can find especially one that does not have steam. If you need to wet clothes when ironing, use a water spray, wet tea cloth or iron the clothes when still damp. A 1,000W iron will save you 19p (180g CO₂) per hour compared to a 1600W iron.
Pop an ice cube into your dryer
Generally, we advise you to keep away from your clothes dryer and iron, but if you are addicted to your dryer and want unwrinkled clothes here is a cute tip.
Rather than ironing you could put shirts (and other clothes) in a dryer with an ice cube, set the dryer to medium heat and run for 15 minutes. The ice cube will turn to steam which helps remove wrinkles. Hang the clothes out immediately after removing them from the dryer to keep the wrinkles away.
As an example, take 10 shirts
15 minutes in a 2kW tumble dryer = 17p (150g CO₂)
To iron a shirt takes 5 minutes, if you are using a 1.6kW iron = 50 minutes = 46p (410g CO₂).
That’s a reasonable saving of 29p per 10 shirts.
Use a kettle to steam out problem wrinkles
If you have a small problem area of wrinkles on a garment try using a kettle to steam the problem area (being careful not to burn your fingers). The steam will remove wrinkles and you can have a cup of tea afterwards!
Wrinkle removing spray
Make your own wrinkle-removing spray with water and a small amount of fabric softener in a spray bottle. Lightly spray (make sure you don’t soak) your wrinkled clothing then hang it out to dry.
Ironing is tedious
Not only is ironing a tedious chore, it also consumes lots of energy and can deteriorate fabric.
Donate old irons to charity
The Furniture Reuse Network has an interactive map which will find your nearest re-use charity and many of these will take working electrical goods such as your iron. There is also the option of donating them to someone else through sites such as Freecycle.
Carbon footprint of ironing
The Carbon Trust (working with Morphy Richards) found that over 80% of the carbon footprint of an iron comes from using the iron, 4.5% from raw materials, 8.5% from manufacture, 0.5% from distribution and 0.2% from disposal.