Ironed bed sheets may seem a luxury exclusive to people with a lot of time in their hands, or to those who can afford a housekeeper, but imagine setting eyes to a wrinkle-free sheet while approaching a bed. Imagine sinking into the crisp, warm feel of a well-ironed cotton fabric wrapping a springy, soft cushion. No matter how busy life gets, he or she who finds time to iron sheets saves themselves a treat for when the day ends.
An ironed bed sheet gives a certain level of opulence to a bedroom. Anyone who has knowledge about using a clothing iron’s features as well as a few ironing tricks for bed sheets treats the family to the simple joy of lying down on a bed with a well-pressed sheet, whether it is made from cotton, linen, or satin. One must know how to iron different bed sheet fabrics to make a perfectly pressed bed sheet. Each fabric has specific requirements, and one must fulfil them to make sure that the fabric’s quality remains intact and that the ironing process is easy and error-free.
History of Clothing Irons
Even a standard clothing iron can flatten out any type of fabric to make it presentable. The history of the clothing iron goes back to the first century. During that time, the Chinese used metal pans filled with hot water to straighten out fabric. The first iron that resembles today’s standard iron was invented in the 17th century. The irons in that century were triangular metals with handles that were manually heated. There were households that owned several clothing irons, heating them simultaneously during an ironing session so there is a spare iron to use after an iron loses its heat.
Ironing was more difficult then, so when the world became accustomed to using charcoal in different ways, manufacturers designed new irons that hold burning coals. At the turn of the 20th century, irons evolved into fuel-heated devices, with people using ethanol, whale oil, kerosene, natural gas, gasoline, or carbide gas for their clothing irons. It was typical for families back then to have gas pipes lined inside their houses to supply devices like iron with natural gas. Despite gas-powered irons being always at risk for fire, merchants continuously sold them up through the Second World War. Fortunately, today’s irons are conveniently powered by electricity.
Different Features of an Iron
Simply turning on a clothing iron and then pressing it on a bed sheet fabric does not create that perfectly smooth output. Even the standard type of iron sold in the U.K. has more than one feature, and knowing these features results in a more effective ironing session. The most crucial features of an iron are steam, which helps immensely in taking out wrinkles; stainless steel soleplate or non-stick coated finish, which makes the iron press smoothly over the fabric; swivel cord base, which allows flexibility in movement and is useful when ironing wide fabric, such as a bed sheet; and most importantly, a variable fabric setting, which adjusts the heat of the iron depending on the requirement of the fabric. A cordless iron, although not necessary, is great because it allows more freedom in movement especially when pressing an iron over wide bed sheets. An automatic shut-off feature, which turns off the iron after it is idle for a few minutes, is also useful because it saves cost on electricity and prevents the sheet from burning when the iron is accidentally left on top.
Ironing Different Bed Sheet Fabrics
When preparing for an ironing session, place the iron securely on the upright ironing board before plugging it, and remove all things that hinder free movement around the area of the ironing board. As discussed, different sheet fabrics need different ways of ironing. What follows are instructions on how to iron them.
When ironing a cotton sheet, turn the iron’s dial or push the button to the cotton selection, and when the light turns on, wait for it to turn off before starting the ironing process. Start by placing a corner of the cotton sheet in front of the board and spread out a portion of the sheet neatly on the surface of the board, flattening it out with hands to remove bumps. Iron the whole portion of the sheet, make sure to apply a firm pressure all throughout the process, and move on to the next portion only when the whole portion is wrinkle-free. For strong creases, spray some water by hitting on the water sprayer on top of the iron where the thumb usually rests. If there is enough time, iron the reverse side of the sheet. After the process, hang the sheet on a clothing line or fold and hang it on a wide cloth hanger.
It is best to iron a linen bed sheet when slightly damp because it is easier to smooth out the creases of the fabric, and it gives the linen a finished look. For best results, remove the linen from the dryer when it is still slightly damp and iron it immediately before it gets dry. If there is no time to iron after washing, put the linen inside a freezer and get to it at a later time. Do not let it stay in the freezer for more than a day because prolonged exposure to cold temperature ruins a fabric.
When ironing a linen sheet, turn the dial or press the button to the appropriate fabric selection and wait for the light to go off before starting. The rule of thumb is to iron the wrong side of linen sheets first before taking on the other side. When taking on a light-coloured linen sheet, iron the wrong side first before the other side, but for dark-coloured and embroidered linen sheets, iron only the wrong side. For delicate or fragile linen sheets, place another fabric or a thin towel over it and iron that way.
When setting the heat prior to ironing a satin bed sheet, turn the dial or push the button to satin selection, or choose the lowest heat setting possible to prevent it from burning. When ironing a satin sheet, only iron on the wrong side, glide through the fabric with light pressure, and do not prolong the iron on a particular spot of the sheet because this type of fabric scorches easily. When finished, turn the sheet right side out and hang it.
Ironing a flannel bed sheet requires spraying of water, so if the iron does not have a built-in sprayer, prepare a spray bottle filled with water. Again, set the heat to the right fabric selection before starting the ironing process. To begin, lay out the wrong side of the sheet on the ironing board and apply medium pressure on the fabric. After ironing all the portions, turn over the sheet and repeat the process now on the right side. If the bed sheet is a wool flannel fabric, place a cloth on top of the wrong side of the sheet before starting the process. There is no need to iron the right side of a wool flannel.
The muslin for bed sheets looks fuller because it is wider than the basic muslin used for clothes. Before ironing muslin bed sheets, turn the dial or push the button to muslin for the iron to apply the appropriate heat. Some people prefer starching the muslin sheet to make it crisp, but the process is completely optional. Begin the session by ironing the wrong side of the sheet and apply light pressure on the whole portion. Apply the same pressure on all portions, and when finished, turn the sheet on the other side and repeat the process. Do not fold a muslin sheet after ironing. Instead, hang it on a clothing line or wrap the bed with it right after ironing.
Silk bed sheets rarely need ironing because the fabric quickly returns to its normal shape after washing. But for those who want to press a silk sheet, start by adjusting the heat level of the iron to silk or the lowest heat setting. Place a thin towel or fabric over the sheet and iron that way, making sure to apply light pressure. After ironing a silk sheet, hang it away from direct sunlight to avoid ruining the fabric. A hand steamer works just as well on silk sheets.
Buying Sheets on eBay
Bed sheets come in different fabrics, colours, and designs, and it is easier to sort through the vast selections of bed sheets when you shop online. eBay is a terrific website to go to when buying bed sheets. eBay has a wide array of bed sheets that come from manufacturers or authorized sellers. It is easier to find a bed sheet on eBay when using the search bar; just type the keywords like "cotton bed sheet" or "white cotton bed sheet" in the search bar to get specific results.
When looking at a bed sheet for sale on eBay, pay particular attention to product shipping details to know exactly what product to get and when to expect the product to arrive at your doorstep. The most active sellers on eBay have high user ratings, and therefore, become more reputable than other sellers. Do not forget to check if the seller has a verified payment method and a return policy.
Some consider ironing sheets as an extravagance, while others think that doing so means giving oneself a treat. Perhaps ironing sheets on a regular basis are only for those who can afford a housekeeper or those who have time to spare, but nonetheless, ironing sheets to keep the bed tidy-looking is justifiable. Just like ironing a blanket or a pillow case, ironing a bed sheet requires a person to consider the type of fabric to avoid mishaps like scorching the fabric.
A standard iron with a built-in spray and stainless steel soleplate are enough for ironing a bed sheet of any fabric. An iron with additional features like an automatic shut-off feature is great too. When armed with the knowledge of the different types of bed sheet fabrics and the proper ironing procedure for each fabric, anyone can enjoy the simple luxury of coming to a bed wrapped with warm, crisp, and wrinkle-free bed sheet.