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Keep your clothes on...

while you iron
  [vote for,

Have you ever been all dressed up, ready to go out, only to discover a tiny flaw, one tiny wrinkle?

This kind of thing used to annoy me all night if I didn't immediately correct it, usually by changing. But, eventually I thought of a better solution, the vacuum iron.

The vacuum iron has many tiny holes in the bottom (e.g., a porous sintered material), and a fan that draws air in through those holes (the reverse of a steam iron). This pulls fabric up against it (and away from sensitive skin). Simply bring in into proximity with your wrinkled sleeve, and thummmp, it sucks the sleeve up against the heated lower surface, ironing it flat.

Works great on sleeves, ties, even draperies...

pluterday, Jan 22 2003

Iron with vertical steam http://www.comforth...fort/steamiron.html
[Monkfish, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Extreme ironing http://www.flatrock...me_ironing_down.jpg
[normzone, Jun 30 2010]


       <obligatory childish humour>Vacuum Sucks.<ob..>   

       This sounds like a good idea in principle, how would you get the fabric off again? And how would you stop light fabrics disappearing up the vacuum holes?
egbert, Jan 22 2003

       Solution 1.Just don't iron anything at all, this way the little wrinkles do not bother you. Faithfully practiced by millions around the world.   

       Solution 2. Keep Your Clothes Off. Move to a warm place and wear nothing at all.   

       Solution 3. Stop being so anal, no one else will notice or indeed care if they do.   

       Solution 4. Only buy clothes made by that Japanese designer whose clothes are all crumpled.(can't remember his name)
squeak, Jan 22 2003

       [squeak] and your point is, what, exactly? That there should be no inventions because, in their absence, you can just do without?   

       [egbert] the vacuum could be regulated with a thumb controlled switch. The holes could be small enough to prevent almost all except the most dainty of fabrics from gathering in the openings. Fabrics light enough to be affected probably shouldn't be treated with heat or ironed anyway.
bristolz, Jan 22 2003

       I think that the problem is pressure. Irons press fabrics against two hard surfaces; a vacuum might not do. And you wouldn't be able to use steam (even if you wanted to), since the blast would push against the vacuum (and burn you quite badly). Still, it might be worth a try.
Monkfish, Jan 22 2003

       The problem with a vacuum approach is that it tends to tug at any loose threads, thus shortening the lifespan of your clothes. I know, I've accidentally sucked miles of loose thread out of my curtains with the hoover.
DrBob, Jan 22 2003

       [Monkfish] Hah! <Having done her homework, Pluter pulls out a notebook.> The most vacuum you could possible achieve under ideal circumstances would be 15 lbs/sq. inch (for the English, sorry about the units, well, no, I’m not, actually). For a regular iron, let me see...about 20 sq. inches. So, to achieve that kind of pressure with a regular iron would take...<flips pages> about 300 lbs force on the iron. <ironing board crashes to floor, hurling Pluter, impeccably pressed, out the window>
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       Yeah, I was doing the same homework as you wrote the reply; sorry about the (minor) simultaneous edit. (Thinking before posting is for chumps.)   

       I think that most of the pressure from a steam iron actually comes from the steam, and this can amount to quite a bit more than 15PSI. The steam itself is also involved in making the clothes flat, I think, but I'm really not that clear on how irons work.
Monkfish, Jan 22 2003

       what is required then is a very small thin ironing board (non heat conductive obviously) to slip between the fabric and the flesh.
po, Jan 22 2003

       [Monkfish] No! That’s not what the steam is for in the steam iron. The steam applies no additional pressure to the fabric.

[Po] The vacuum provides the pressure, no tiny board. No stinking tiny board!

< Pluter, frothing, appears to be in the throes of an epileptic fit>
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       ommmmm, ommmmm
po, Jan 22 2003

       <sighs> Inventing is easy. Marketing is hell.
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       thats what the HB is all about I suppose.
po, Jan 22 2003

       You'll never get close to that ideal 15psi pressure. More to the point, all the pressure will be where the holes are; the clothes won't be pressed against the iron, they'll be puckered into the holes.
egnor, Jan 22 2003

       [egnor] Ah, but I’ve fiendishly added the words “a porous sintered material”, to the idea. Thus, the vacuum is not localized, and the holes are too small to produce puckers…and I don't need anything like 15 psi to make it work. Just a few inches of water will suffice (to use an even more vulgar English unit of pressure).

And a word on the ironing technique. The vacuum sucks up a spot of fabric, for sure, but you then side the iron over the fabric and it peels off as you finish. Zip! So, it doesn’t just sit there over a stationary set of holes, getting puckered.
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       // No! That’s not what the steam is for in the steam iron. The steam applies no additional pressure to the fabric. //   

       Well, it appears to on some irons, but you're right that it's not strictly necessary. (Many iron ads claim to require less arm pressure and boast about high-pressure steam. The idea seems to be that high-pressure jets at the front of the iron both flatten and steam the fabric before the hot iron passes over it.)   

       Your competition appears to be irons with vertical steam. See link.
Monkfish, Jan 22 2003

egnor, Jan 22 2003

       Well, some do offer temperature settings that go down to "mist". I don't know how useful mist is in pressing clothes, of course. There might be a tolerable and useful intermediate setting.   

       Anyway, if you're willing to hold a very hot vacuum iron an inch or two from your skin you're probably pretty steely.
Monkfish, Jan 22 2003

       I’m thinking that I need a woman’s version, with the Mist setting, and a man’s version, with jets of superheated steam...

Men might actually volunteer to do the ironing, if there was real danger involved. <Leaning back, Pluter envisions a group of rugged men with rolled up sleeves, arms covered with horrific ironing scars. A young guy keeps his sleeves rolled down. Having no scars, he’s intimidated...afraid they will call him "Misty".>
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       The steam is useful because heat and moisture help to smooth out creases. Normally pressure is applied by pressing downwards as you iron. High pressure steam = more steam per second hence less actual pressure required. A lot of "easy iron" fabrics can be "easy ironed" by spraying lightly with a plant mister (water only - no plant food) and sticking in the dryer for five minutes - no pressure applied at all. Likewise, the porpoise of misting is to wet the fabric and create extra steam as the iron passes over.   

       I think steam is a no-no next to flesh due to the likelihood of lawsuits being pressed ha ha.   

       Vacuum couldn't pull 15psi as then there would be no sole plate, just a big hole. Sintered materials are usually rough to the touch, but I guess it could be smoothed and polished - I've never had occasion to try it.   

       BTW I do approx two out of every three loads of ironing in our house.
egbert, Jan 22 2003

       //BTW I do approx two out of every three loads of ironing in our house.//


       Let me see yer arms!

(Wait a second, maybe egbert is a woman! If not, ees probably a Misty.)
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       Well i'm not a woman,well last time i checked i was'nt and i iron my socks.
skinflaps, Jan 22 2003

       //thummmp// I think your vacuum has some serious problems. Mine goes whoooooshhh.
Bert6322, Jan 22 2003

       [Skinflaps] You iron your socks? Well, the question is - do you iron them on your feet? But then, your moniker says yes.


       [Bert6322] Nah, I just have troble spelling.
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       Nah,used to iron them on but then i started to develop flat feet. +
skinflaps, Jan 22 2003

       [Egbert] is not a woman, although some would suggest that anyone who does that much ironing can't be a Man, either. And yes, I do have the flapping triceps of a seasoned ironer!   

       /Mine goes whoooooshhh.//
Ever caught a stray curtain/item of clothing/pet on the end of the tube? //thummmp//
egbert, Jan 22 2003

       Irons have a warning to remove clothes while ironing; this is not only because of the danger of hot iron touching skin, but also because of the danger of clothes igniting. One would hope nothing would get that hot, but some clothes are pretty amazingly flammable.
supercat, Jan 22 2003

       //some clothes are pretty amazingly flammable//   

       Future news story: Case of spontaneous human combustion blamed on vacuum iron. British couple immolated by faulty American invention, says constable...terrible tragedy...to remove a single wrinkle…...horrible death...by an inventor named Pluterday...Halfbakery not to blame, says spokeswoman...
pluterday, Jan 22 2003

       Buy a set of fire-fighter's turnout gear to wear under your clothes so you can iron with impunity.
oneoffdave, Jan 23 2003

       I iron clothes as I wear them. Allow me to demonstrate:
thumbwax, Jan 23 2003

       [Po] - your comment on this thread is the exact same thing my wrinkled ass was thinking about on the way from the train station to the office after lunch. Please hb this.
shapu, Jun 30 2010

       I think it's been missed that pulling a vacuum against a fabric requires a very high capacity system. Since the fabric is porous, a lot of air moves through it. This air needs to be removed by the vacuum pump. Remember, a full size canister vacuum only achieves about 1-3 PSI against a much smaller area than this is considering, even if you are holding down against a carpet.
MechE, Jun 30 2010

       Use a gas turbine ?
8th of 7, Jun 30 2010


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