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Shirt collars, silk and steamy pants: a beginner’s guide to perfect ironing

by Ace Damon
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José Mourinho brought famous style to the Premier League. "Every man should have a white shirt in his wardrobe," he proclaimed once. "Sooner or later you will need it."

It always seemed that his perfectionism made him the kind of man who, despite his wealth, took charge of his own wardrobe. There he was, relaxing in front of Match of the Day as he methodically folded his charcoal cashmere pullovers and swallowed his blue shirts.

But explaining why he chose to live in a hotel as a manager of Manchester United, he turned out to be absent from the domestic department: "I would need to iron, I don't know how." None of us know? Lynsey Crombie, AKA Queen of the Clean, answers some urgent questions.

How do you iron shirts?

Always start with the collar: start in the middle and make your way, because if you iron directly over it, you may get bumps and bumps. I do not use starch. These days you don't have to, as many shirts have ribs on the collar. Then make the fork – the upper back and shoulder – and then the sleeves, cuffs and main body. As you pass it, place it on a hanger and hang it with space around it.

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And the iron plates?

I move the sheets so that they fit perfectly in the closet. If you do not iron, it tends to spoil and stick. The trick here is to fold the sheet in half and then in a quarter. I don't worry about passing the elastic bits separately; I fold it so that the sheet is square in shape and iron it.

Should you use linen spray?

No, but if I'm out of iron, I spray white wine vinegar diluted with warm water. Spray the clothing and pull it to remove the creases.

When do you change the setting of your iron?

I separated my stack from ironing. I make my delicates at the lowest setting first and then walk to the items that need the warmest setting.

What fabrics should you not iron?

I spend everything. Silk is the only one you need to be careful of; I put a tea towel on it to prevent damage. Be careful of lace or a net feature on clothing; wipe them inside or place a damp cloth on top. You may not need to iron anyway.

Should you iron handkerchiefs and tea towels?

It is personal preference. I think an ironed scarf looks better. Sometimes I use iron tea towels because they fit well in the drawer.

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How about a pleated skirt?

I do. Place it on the ironing board and rotate it by pressing each fold once.

And pants?

No. I used to run an ironing business and people would give me pants to iron, and it was disgusting. But it is a personal choice. If you want warm, wet pants, iron them.

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