Mums shouldn’t iron underpants

So today’s post is about the dreaded I word.  Ironing.  Yes, it is one of those things that we all have to do.. well most of us anyway.  Some love it and some hate it.  After a conversation with a friend recently, it has become a bit of a preoccupation of mine and I have been asking lots of people about their ironing habits.  Strange I know, but I have found it quite interesting.

Going back to the original conversation that I had with a friend on the subject, I was having my usual moan about the size of my ironing basket and the fact that having missed a weekend, I was really behind with mine and my friend agreed, saying that all three of her ironing baskets were over flowing.  Wow, I said, three ironing baskets.  I just have one that is always so full the pile touches the ceiling.  Yes, three.  One for the children’s clothes, one for the adult clothes and one for house things.  This all sounded very organised to me, I don’t think I could ever be that organised.  Then I thought about it.  Hang on a minute why would you need a basket for house things?  To this question, she nonchalantly replied that it was for tea towels and bed linen, things like that.

Bed linen I can see.  I don’t iron bed linen I’m afraid.  I’m sure it does look much lovelier having been ironed, but I have three youngish children who all love a good bounce on the bed and two children who wrap themselves up so tight in their duvets, they have had to be rescued on occasion.  So even if I did spend all of that time ironing it, it would look all lovely for a few hours and then it wouldn’t, so I don’t bother.

Tea towels?  Really?  OK, I admit that my tea towels do come off the worst for a wash and they can look very creased and scrunched up, but I am not going to iron them.  Not ever.  Not even if the queen was coming for tea.

A discussion then ensued about what we all ironed and didn’t iron and we discussed the merits of ironing bed linen or not, my friend leant in conspiratorially and said quietly that she had once not ironed a fitted sheet.  I did have to give my opinion on this; that is what fitted sheets are for woman, when you put them on they stretch out and so they don’t need ironing.  She looked at me thoughtfully as if I had told her something life changing and eventually agreed that maybe from now on, she would leave the fitted sheets unironed.

So I asked a few people about their ironing habits. There seem to be two predominant camps when it comes to ironing.  The ‘iron everything’s’ (and I mean everything here) and the ‘shake it and fold it’s’. For some people, they have to iron everything; not just the regular clothes and linen but towels, underpants and socks.  Socks??  Anything that gets washed has to go through the rigorous ironing process too.  It always amuses me when we come back from a stay at my in laws as my mother in law is definitely an obsessive and if she has time, she irons some of our stuff and my husband quite likes having freshly ironed underpants and even the football shirts get a quick press which never happens at home as part of the reason we have so many of them is that they don’t need ironing.

These ironing obsessives are in the minority I have to say and there were a lot more who seem to be in the ‘shake it and fold’ group of people.  These people do iron the necessary stuff like shirts, uniform and anything made of cotton or linen, but they take the sensible approach to everything else.

There were one or two hardy iron haters.  One of the mums that I know claims that she doesn’t own an iron as she quite frankly can not see the point of having one.  Another does own one, but laughed as she told me that she has to clean the dust off when she does use it as this is on a very rare occasion.

So what about me, which ‘camp’ do I fall into?  I have become very good at folding over the years.  A wise woman once told me in my early days as a housewife and a mother that once you had children, there would be no time for dusting and ironing and that I should enjoy the children and become good at folding and only clean what and when was necessary.  Wise words indeed.  Before children, like my mother before me, I was  what can only be described as an ‘extreme housewife’ and I had to clean everything on a weekly basis and I ironed pretty much everything too (although never tea towels, pants or socks!).  But as O got older and certainly as the family grew, I realised that those wise words were certainly true.  Apart from the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day, the world didn’t end just because I didn’t iron all the tee-shirts or hoover behind the sofa.

I did go through a phase where I really didn’t iron much at all after I had L and with a baby and a toddler in tow, there really just wasn’t the time.  My mother in law took exception to this though and we had more than one instance where she actually took clothes off the boys and ironed them before she would allow them out of the house.

These days I am fairly relaxed about it.  My ironing basket is very rarely empty as there are always a few horrible things that I hate ironing that get left at the bottom until I realise that we don’t really need them any longer and I get rid of them.  I am an expert folder and all of my towels and bed linen are always folded and never ironed.  If something comes off the line or out of the tumble dryer and it looks reasonable, I won’t iron it.  Other wise, it will go into the ironing pile and may get ironed at some point.  I will however NOT EVER iron tea towels, pants, towels or socks.  Not ever.

How about you, are you an underpant and tea towel ironer?

The sorry state of my ironing basket



  1. July 3, 2013 / 10:40 am

    i only iron things that a- people can see and b- look too creased to wear.

    I do have friend who don’t iron anything, but I’ve never worked out how that works…

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:47 am

      No me neither I don’t think I could get away with ironing nothing

  2. July 3, 2013 / 11:00 am

    My mum puts things under the yellow pages so she doesn’t have to iron them! 😉 I have to admit I leave out towels, vests, pants and bedding if i haven’t tumble dried it. I hate ironing! Might have to get a new yellow pages! 🙂 x

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:50 am

      I would need a whole room of yellow pages to flatten my lot!

  3. July 3, 2013 / 11:09 am

    I haven’t ironed in years!!!!!!

  4. July 3, 2013 / 11:20 am

    I am AWFUL when it comes to ironing. I iron the shirts and the odd dress but that’s it. And only then when I really have to – they can sit there for weeks without being done. There’s always so much more important things to do it seems!

  5. July 3, 2013 / 11:30 am

    I really don’t see the point in ironing. We hang clothes to dry so minimal creases, in fact so minimal that the same number of creases would be back within seconds of wearing the clothes. DH gets easy care shirts for work so no ironing there either.

    No idea where our iron is. Not used it in month. Its there for the occasional special outfit that creases easily and needs to be pristine.

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:52 am

      I wish I could be more like that, my husbands shirts have to be ironed although in could make home do his own

    July 3, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    I’m the black sheep of the family when it comes to ironing, I’m from a family of underpant ironers. Oh and fitted sheet ironers. I avoid all ironing at all costs and now I’m back working again, I ask our cleaner to do the important bits – but no underpants or fitted sheets, life’s too short!

  7. July 3, 2013 / 1:25 pm

    Eeek. The only things I iron are my son’s hama bead creations and the occasional name tape. I remember noticing the iron in a cupboard once when Z was about 18 months. I said, “Oh look, there’s the iron!” and he went “Raaaaa!” (thought I’d said lion!)

  8. July 3, 2013 / 4:16 pm

    Never, ever, ever! I reckon I get the iron out about once a month to iron a maximum of two things. Husband irons his own shirts and the rest of us are happily creased!

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:54 am

      Sounds like a good philosophy! Maybe I should make hubby do his

  9. July 3, 2013 / 5:13 pm

    I hardly iron, I always wear stuff that doesn’t need ironing and dread it when I do have to do it properly. I have a friend that irons socks, undies, towels, linen, pillow cases, gloves, absolutely anything that is made from material! I think she’s mad!

  10. July 3, 2013 / 6:28 pm

    I don’t get it. Why would you want to waste your life ironing!? I have one but it’s at the back somewhere. I’ll pull it for a special occasion, for an interview but everything else can do one! I will admit to doing it and knowing just how lovely everything looks and how much easier everything goes back but no, just no. *Makes ‘X’ with fingers*

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:58 am

      It does seem silly to spend hours on it, i do iron but not obsessively

  11. July 3, 2013 / 6:45 pm

    I iron NOTHING. well, almost nothing. I iron a shirt about 3 times a year if the need arises. I buy things that don’t really crease, and make sure I pounce on the things that might get a bit crumpled as soon as the washing machine is done, a good shake before hanging to dry is good enough for me!

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:58 am

      Yes I really need to get savvy about clothes that don’t need ironing!

  12. Beth @plasticrosaries
    July 3, 2013 / 8:50 pm

    I never iron, never ever iron. Maybe once a year if that – I can’t bear it.

  13. July 4, 2013 / 7:55 am

    Generally speaking I only get the iron out for weddings and funerals…In the winter though I do sometimes have a fit of ironing one afternoon…but only if its pouring with rain, there’s nothing decent on the TV and I’m home by myself!!!

    • July 9, 2013 / 5:59 am

      Ha yes that sounds a bit like me, there are always better things to do.

  14. December 30, 2013 / 11:54 am

    I confess to quite like ironing and plan it when a good film is on – always on an afternoon though. BUT I do not nor never will iron underpants or socks, that is a no no. Lots of other bits get folded too, I’m a good folder 😉

  15. January 3, 2014 / 8:25 pm

    I don’t iron (unless iron on name tags count), maybe if I had an interview or a wedding outfit. I am proud to say I’ve never ironed for anyone else, even my son. I have vivid childhood memories of mum spending evening after evening ironing and moaning about it, I vowed that would never be me. Interesting post, love all the views, ironing could eventually die out……

  16. March 1, 2014 / 1:18 pm

    Anytime I post something on Facebook about ironing, most people claim to do none! I just don’t understand ironing at all. My ex did his own and I teach my kids to iron as soon as they are responsible around hot things 🙂 Apart from that I only iron things that look creased and then just before wearing. Cos don’t they just crease up again in the wardrobe?
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    • Nikki Thomas
      March 2, 2014 / 8:06 pm

      Exactly! I used to iron the children’s uniform only to get it out of the wardrobe creased up again. I have become an expert folder and at whipping things out of the tumble dryer quickly so that I don’t have to iron as much

  17. March 1, 2014 / 4:03 pm

    Love this post!! Ironing is one of my pet hates so I iron the bare minimum, my mum on the other hand irons anything and everything and yep thsat does include underwear #archiveday
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    • Nikki Thomas
      March 2, 2014 / 8:04 pm

      Yes my mother in law and mother iron everything and I have never understood it at all. Like you, I only iron what I have to

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