Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let's talk ironing

Steam irons are a bit of a pain.  They always seem to reach a point - it may take a couple of years or more, but they eventually get there - where they start randomly throwing the electrical safety switch on the power board, which means an annoying process of resetting the timer on many devices in the house.  I am told by an electrician that this is not an unusual problem.  

Which is where I am at with my latest iron.  I was very pleased with it, generally, until it started the old "throw the safety switch" trick, but I've found this electrical problem doesn't happen as long as it is used without water.  That is where the problem arises - water meeting internal heating element.

Which has led me back to trying spray on "ironing aid", a product I haven't used since I was attempting to iron when I was a much younger man living at home.

The popular Australian brand Fabulon is still around, but both Coles and Woolworths have a home brand which is about $1.50 a can and smells and feels exactly the same.   This strikes me as ridiculously cheap - and it's even made in Australia.

I had forgotten how smoothly it makes an iron glide.  In fact, it can be a bit annoying in that it makes shirts slide off the ironing board a bit too easily.   And, I recall from my childhood, if it gets on vinyl flooring, it makes it very slippery and dangerous underfoot.  But generally speaking, it is a pretty handy thing to use.

This also made me curious as to home based alternatives.   Lots of sites say you can make your own spray on starch using cornflower - which I find rather surprising, but in any event it is not the starching effect that I am really after.

So what makes the likes of Fabulon so slippery?   Dow Corning (and other sites) tell me that it is silicone emulsion:
Dow Corning® HV 495 Emulsion has demonstrated its effectiveness in ironing aid applications. Suitable for use in rinse-cycle fabric softeners and fabric conditioners and in spray starches and other spray-on ironing aids, Dow Corning HV 495 Emulsion:
  • Provides lubricity to the treated fabric
  • Reduces starting and sliding friction between the fabric and the iron
  • Makes ironing easier, saving time, effort and electricity
  • Adds softness without negatively impacting water absorbency
 I like the word "lubricity".  A good one to try to slip into conversation at a dinner party.  (Mind you, if you luck out and okra is on the menu, it would be very easy.) 

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