Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sustainability in irons

I have had my iron for three or four years. And it has always worked well – nice steam, easy glide, feels good in your hand. Several times people have complimented me for it, it was so good to press seams with.

In April, when I had to supply my own iron for teaching the course at the Nadelwelt (“Needleworld”) in Karlsruhe, it messed up for the first time, spitting and spluttering, and actually producing a little bit of black muck that soiled a participants’ exercise piece. We were able to rinse it off, everything was fine, I didn’t think much about it any more. During the past few days the iron has been spluttering and ‘talking’ more noisily when it was on but not currently in use, although I had been switching off the steam function every single time when I put the iron in standing position.
This morning I was listening to a program on the radio about “small is beautiful”, the limits of economic growth, including the need to increase the life-span of machines we are using, and learning that we musn’t always just throw things out, and perhaps even put things to other uses than they were originally intended for. Just then, the iron burped heavily – one could almost say it threw up – and there appeared another of those unpleasant little black mucky things. Bigger this time! Again, I was able to rinse it off and it hasn’t really done much damage. But it set me thinking. Spray bottle needed!
Well, first it set me searching. I remembered Kathleen Loomis’ post on her special loverelationship with spray bottles on the blog, and I myself did have a fantastic spray bottle at some point, and I am absolutely certain I haven’t given it away or thrown it out.
But I can’t find it anywhere in the entire house. I have looked several times in the most obvious places, and in others as well. I didn’t want to refer to the one empty spray plastic bottle I found amongst my dyeing utensils, because that has had dye in it, and I am rather reluctant to use that as a spray bottle on any kind of fabric now. Not one of the spray bottles that contain cleaning liquids is at so low tide right now that I would want to throw out the remnant in order to put this particular bottle to different use. These bottles are refillable anyway, so I would then have to buy a new one, which would be contradictory to that thought about putting things to a different use.

But I did manage to find a little spray pump glass bottle that once had contained liquid deodorant, and which I had transferred to the dyeing department of clutter in the house, but not yet put to use in that area. So it came back up into the first floor with me, and has started its new life as a spray bottle for my ironing. 

And my iron will stay with me for longer, even if it has lost some of its steam. Perhaps we are a bit alike, my iron and I...?


  1. It sounds like your iron might need de-scaling. There are products you can buy for this purpose or I've read online about people using vinegar. I've not had to descale my iron but I have done it for my espresso machine and it always works beautifully afterwards. Perhaps check with Philips to see if they have a preferred method for descaling your iron.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, Cat. I'va always used distilled water, so there really shouldn't be much calcium in there. But I will go and check it out with the dealer. By the way - my son remembered where he had last seen my real spray bottle, and there it was, hidden behind two books that had been propped up against it by nobody. The house doesn't lose a thing.