Flat irons use electricity to heat up their metal or ceramic plates. Does this sound similar to any other household appliance? It should sound like your regular clothing iron, as the two appliances serve very similar purposes. Your clothing iron takes kinks and wrinkles out of your dress shirt or pants while your hair straightener takes kinks out of your hair.
While I won’t advocate completely replacing your flat iron with your clothing iron, or vice versa, you can use your flat iron in lieu of your clothing iron when you’re in a pinch. Like your regular clothing iron, you’ll need to find the lowest setting on your flat iron that will work for pressing wrinkles out of your clothing – which will depend on the fabric type. Materials like denim and corduroy will take a bit more heat, while linens and materials with spandex will need less. Here are several situations in which your flat iron will work as well (if not better) than your clothing iron.
1. Ironing a hem. Whether you’re ironing the hem of your favorite dress pants, skirt, or shirt, a flat iron can press out the wrinkles – and you don’t even need to drag out the ironing board. Heat it to the lowest setting that your material will require to get the wrinkles out. Place the hem between the plates and clamp them together, then gently pull the material through in a circle, until you’re back where you started. Because they are only about 3 inches long, you can’t iron your entire shirt or pant leg, but it does work for pressing the hem.
2. Pressing a shirt collar. Dress shirt collars tend to have a mind of their own. They curl, flip, or easily wrinkle. A flat iron can be used to press them – just as well as an ironing board and iron would, but without the hassle. Again, heat it to the lowest possible setting that the material will require. For this, I like to start in the middle of the back of the shirt collar, pressing from the middle to one side and then repeating it on the other.
3. Ironing between shirt buttons. This is one task that I believe a hair straightener can do better than a regular iron. The space between shirt buttons is only a couple of inches – far smaller than anything besides the tip of your clothing iron, but larger than the width of a 1-2 inch flat iron. Heat your hair straightener to the lowest temperature required by the clothing material and press the space from one button to the next.
4. Hemming pants or a shirt. Whether your pants or too long or the hem came out and needs to be redone – this can be accomplished with your flat iron and some hem tape. Fold the hem of your pants or shirt under once and use your heated flat iron to press the crease like you would if you were ironing a hem (you’re actually ironing your new hemline). Once you have a nice, continuous crease, apply hem tape to the folded edge. Slowly pass over the cuff again, ensuring that the hem tape is firmly sandwiched between the cuffed portion and your pant leg (or shirt hem).