It's 2017, and all that, so it puts me in a rather squirmy position to have to admit that I iron my husband's shirts. And his trousers, some of which need a sharp crease down the front. Table linens get used every day in this house, so there's more again to heap up on the ironing board awaiting my reluctant report for duty.
I was never good at ironing. "Train tracks," for instance, are a big no-no on dress shirts (that's when you get two seams going down a single sleeve) and I seemed to be so talented at accidentally producing them, I wondered if Via Rail wouldn't be ringing up any minute to offer me a VP position. I used to scorch delicate things, too, like negligees (mine, not his, to be clear). And I had no patience for linen, so I'd just drive over it a few times with my cruddy little iron and tell myself I should learn to be satisfied with rustic. Except that I wasn't.
One day, speaking with a friend over the telephone, "I bloody hate ironing!" came curdling unexpectedly out of my throat. She was taken aback, but quick on the draw. "Listen," she said sternly, "the only way not to hate ironing is to get yourself a seriously good iron." Next minute, a photograph appeared in my text messages of a luxury yacht parked on top of a glassed-in swimming pool. Or, what looked a bit like that, anyway. It turned out to be a Rowenta Compact Steam Station.
The Steam Station is basically a tank of water roughly the size of a shoebox with, perched on top, something that looks like an iron, but which is, in fact, more of a steam generator. Its entire base is perforated and emits an even shower of steam, sounding not unlike a high-powered espresso maker, as it lightly glides across wrinkled fabric and makes it smooth. What's brilliant is that you can use it horizontally to iron on a board, or hold it vertically to steam curtains or articles on hangers (note – not on bodies!).
It's a slightly intimidating machine to use the first time, and reading instructions and safety rules beforehand is imperative. Once you get the hang of it, however, this iron is a dream. I managed to fix long-established railroad tracks on shirts and turn them at last into a single crest. When I used the iron on a set of supposedly already-ironed napkins, they came out not only smoother and flatter, but somehow lighter textured. When I ran it over a pair of jeans, it made them feel mysteriously softer.
The Rowenta Steam Station is not just an iron; it's practically a day spa for your wardrobe. And although it hasn't quite turned the task of ironing into a hot-stone massage for me, it certainly makes the job easier and more satisfying. I don't mind either that the results make it look as though I actually know what I'm doing.
$329.99 at thebay.com.
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