This another re-post from 2012. I wonder if you have ever seen another blog post about steam-generator irons? I doubt it.

This may seem a strange subject for a blog post. Especially from the blog of a 60 year old man with no connection to the Electrical Industry, or to retailers of electrical products. However, I felt an overwhelming need to share a top tip that may well change your life. (At least the ironing part of your life, anyway).

Like most men born in the 1950s, I really didn’t know what an iron was for, other than it was a thing that women used to make your clothes look smarter, it got hot, and had to be used on a board. At first my Mum, and later my Wife, would spend some time somewhere with this appliance, and smartly pressed shirts would appear in my wardrobe, as if by magic.

This all changed for me, sometime in 1985. My wife and I were splitting up. It suddenly dawned on me that at the age of 33, I did not know how to use an iron, or how to iron a shirt. I had to ask my departing wife to show me all the basics of ironing. I would probably have just taken all the stuff that needed ironing to my Mum, but she lived too far away. By that time, we had a steam iron. It was reminiscent of a cruise ship in miniature, and had a small reservoir at the front, that had to be filled with de-ionised water. Once the necessary heat level had been achieved, steam could be deployed, to assist with the removal of creases. The thing was heavy, unwieldy, and the steam seemed to run out after two items had been pressed. Still, it was state-of-the-art at the time, so I bought something similar, for use in my new bachelor home.

Fifteen years later, I had learned to hate ironing. The replacement for that first steam iron looked and felt exactly the same. I kept forgetting to buy distilled water, and the tap water was so hard that the limescale kept clogging up the vents. I had to set aside one day each month for the great chore of ironing, as I hated it so much, I could not bear to do a little every day. I would get the water, put on some music, prepare the hangers, and crack on with at least 30 shirts, and all the other stuff needed for that month. This would take about 6 hours, constantly re-filling the pathetic reservoir, and making sure that the iron did not get so hot, that it scorched the garments.

In 1998, I saw an advertisement for something called a ‘Steam Generator Iron’, manufactured by Tefal. This seemed to be a tiny iron, resting on a large plastic base, connected by a hose that looked like it meant business. It stated that it held enough water for a full load of ironing, used ordinary tap water, and could iron both sides of something at once. It seemed too good to be true. Also, it cost almost £100, a lot of money for an iron, when you consider that the best conventional equivalent was well under £40 at the time. I decided to try it anyway. As an ironing-hater of the first degree, I would probably have paid twice that, if the claims could be guaranteed.

I bought one the next day. It was indeed resting on its large water tank. This meant that I eventually had to purchase a longer, sturdier ironing board too. Once fired up, I hesitatingly began to iron a shirt. Revelation! The super-lightweight iron felt like it weighed a tenth of its predecessor. The constant blast of steam glided over the material, all creases banished in seconds. I turned the sleeve over, only to find it was already done. It had ironed both sides at once, as claimed. I next tried screwed up denim jeans. It was as if the iron laughed at the challenge, again dealing with both sides adequately. Soon, I was racing through half a dozen shirts in 15 minutes. Even after a full couple of hours of ironing, there was still water in the tank, so steam available. I had finally done it. I had run out of things to iron before my iron ran out of steam. I was a born-again ironer, an ironing evangelist, a convert to the way of the Steam Generator. I would almost, though not quite, iron for pleasure.

I started telling everyone I could about steam generator irons. Though my own was a Tefal, all the companies were jumping on the bandwagon. I made a handful of happy converts, even though they balked at the price.

When that original purchase finally expired, (It still worked, but the steam cord became frayed and dangerous to use.) I did not hesitate to go straight out and get the latest generation, then costing a shade under £200. It is angular, has a coloured plastic water reservoir, a new gizmo that unscrewed from the side and removed the limescale. It looks the business, though in truth, is no better than my trusty original machine. The main improvement is in the actual iron handset. New technology coating on the iron plate, lighter build, better steam control, all mean that it is faster and better than ever. Alright, it does cost a lot of money. I have seen washing machines and other large white goods for a lot less. Look at it this way. Let’s say it lasts for 10 years. That is a yearly cost of just under £20, a weekly cost of 38p. That small amount of money will literally improve your life, now isn’t that worth it?

If you are asking yourself why someone like me, with nothing to gain, would be sitting in a room in rain-swept Norfolk, on a miserable Sunday in August, writing about something as mundane as ironing, then get a steam generator iron. (Any make, doesn’t have to be a Tefal but get a good one, pay as much as you can afford) You will realise what all the fuss is about.


35 thoughts on “Ironing

  1. I use a similar one that you described, maybe not as expensive as those you have there but it does its purpose. There is an attachable reservoir for water and it drips when you glide to iron to the clothes.


  2. I loathe ironing, next to cleaning the cooker it has to be the most boring and sweaty household chore. My mother started me off ironing handkerchiefs when I was about 5 yrs old. progressed to socks (why would anyone iron socks?) and eventually my brothers’ shirts. it was at that point I decided that I would not be like my mother. Now I rarely iron. And often I leave things so long in the ironing pile that by the time I get to them I reckon they are flat enough 😉


    1. That’s why you need a steam generator. It is no longer ‘the most boring and sweaty household chore.’ It becomes something done in a trice, and easy too.
      Now we just need something similar for ovens! I hope that Tefal are listening…x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “I was a born-again ironer, an ironing evangelist, a convert to the way of the Steam Generator. I would almost, though not quite, iron for pleasure.” I’m still laughing, Pete. That was a gem!

    I used to have a job here in Las Vegas that required I routinely iron my white shirts. I was never very good at it. All the other shirts, I’d just run the dryer on high for a few minutes to take out the wrinkles, and then hang them immediately. Now I don’t even bother to do that. My wife still irons her clothes, though. I’ll ask her if she’s aware of steam-generator irons. I’d never heard of them.


      1. I just looked up the “TEFAL Pro Express Total Auto Steam Generator, Steam Station, White-Blue 1.8L GV8960” on Yikes! It sells for a whopping $999. I must have looked up the Cadillac of all steam-generator irons!


        1. That’s a crazy price, David. It would be cheaper to buy one here for £149, and pay the shipping costs to the US. At those prices, you could make money as a distributor! (Not sure about compatible voltage though.)
          Regards, Pete.


  4. Fab post, but £200!! I guess it’s worth it if you have mammoth ironing sessions. I don’t have too much ironing ever, so once a month I get it done in 1/2 an hour, with my old steam Morphy Richards.


    1. You can get one for less than £150, but if you don’t iron much, I suppose the old-style is fine. Since I retired, I have 70% less ironing, but we still recently bought a new generator, as it makes even that 30% more bearable.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Only you could make a post about ironing interesting Pete 🙂 and I mean that sincerely.

    My dad HATES ironing, it’s like it takes something out of him and depresses him, he really needs a steam generator!!!

    I get the ironing board out less than……..10 times a year approximately 🙂



    1. I suppose the trend for wearing leggings and easy-care fabrics means less ironing these days, Em.
      I used to have to iron a clean uniform every day for more than twenty years, so anything to make that easier was a godsend. Glad you liked the post. It was supposed to be slightly ironic.
      (See what I did there? )
      As ever, Pete. XXX


  6. As a Navy veteran, I had to iron my own uniform shirts as well as my ex-husbands. Ironing doesn’t bother me. It’s instant gratification. Today, I rarely iron. I simply wear clothes that don’t require it!


  7. This is exactly the kind of post I need at the moment. I’m having to replace a lot of things I left in Crete and an iron that is light and makes things easy would be a dream come true so much thanks, Pete!


    1. I am sure you will be pleased to ‘Go Generator’, Sarah. It works just as well sitting down, I assure you. Because there is no weight in the handset, is takes away a lot of the strain. The Tefal has proved to be the best, as I have also tried Swan and Morphy Richards. True, they are expensive, but as my Dad always told me, you get what you pay for…
      (I should get a job promoting these)
      Best wishes, Pete.


        1. Perhaps I should do a series of domestic goods recommendations?
          One other tip, is don’t pay too much for trendy kettles, or designer brands that match their toasters. After being disappointed with some expensive Delonghi items, I bought a Tesco Basics 4-slice toaster and kettle both in matt stainless steel. Cheap as chips, and work just as well as anything costing ten times more. x


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