Those who, like me, can’t bear the whole ironing ritual, have been looking to the future, scanning the gadget horizon for something, anything, that will take the iron from our weary grip and do the beastly task for us.
Perhaps it could also guide us to a comfy chair, plump up some cushions, then bring us a cup of tea and a good mag. Now, that would be a gadget with a big future.
Regrettably, there are no such devices out there. Ones that do the whole deal including all that cushion-plumping etc., I mean.
As far as washing and ironing go though, there might, just might be something available.
There’s tentativeness here, as what there is might not exactly be what you were after. But, when you have a pressing need (sorry), you may just have to take what’s there.
Let’s have a look. We’ll start with what’s hot off the boffin drawing board.
One of the closest things to a washing machine that irons clothes is a gizmo Panasonic presented at the IFA Fair (the International Consumer Electronics Trade Show) in Berlin in 2017.
This smart piece of kit, called The Sustainable Maintainer (this has ‘first draft idea’ written all over it), is built into the wall, and features a drawer into which you place the soiled garment.
The machine then analyses the washing label and the severity of any staining, then gently cleans, using only the minimal detergent needed.
After this, drying takes place, using a gentle suction technique. All this uber-gentle action results in a crease-free item of clothing, that is then folded neatly by clever little robot hands, and deposited in another drawer for you to retrieve.
Regrettably, there seems to have been no progress toward making the Sustainable Maintainer commercially available. All internet links point to the IFA expose.
So, for the moment at least, Panasonic’s launderbot is still out of the reach of the average consumer.
While washing machines that iron your clothes aren’t available yet, the closest thing that is available is a steam closet, or steam wardrobe.
Take the Tefal Care For You Automatic Steamer System for example (some of these naming committees need shaking up a little).
It works by using the sanitising power of steam to effectively clean garments. You start by putting your clothing on one of the supplied hangers, and the machine then gets busy with the steam.
The steam not only sanitises but also removes wrinkles, after which a drying process takes place.
All in all, your clothes are dried and ready for action in under an hour.
Great, yes? Well, up to a point. You can only put up to three garments in there at a time, so it’s really just for the outfit you’re planning on wearing that day.
Also, some reviews have made negative comments about the noise it makes during operation, as well as the alarming amount of steam issued from the machine.
Having said that, the majority of reviews are good, so it might be worth checking out. Other models with the same kind of design exist, such as the LG Styler Steam Clothing Care System.
This one has greater capacity but you do have to pay extra. At just under £1750 you’d have to be doing an awful lot of dry cleaning for this to work out as an economical option.
However, if convenience is everything to you, then it might be worth the investment.
So, what else might be worth considering? This final option doesn’t necessarily remove the ironing chore altogether, but it does make it easier to complete, which is getting you halfway there. It also doesn’t involve a massive amount of cash, so that’s all good.
A lot of washing machines have an easy iron feature. This handy feature makes ironing easier.
Sometimes, if you’re especially lucky, the easy iron wash programme will give you freshly laundered clothes that don’t even need ironing at all. But don’t count on this. Chances are, your trusty iron will be called upon to a degree.
So, what are you looking for on your machine programme selector? Either the words easy iron, or iron mode, or a picture of an iron, will be what you need to see.
When you select this, the machine will use a gentler action during the wash and the spin so that fewer creases result.
Do also look out for an easy iron feature on your tumble dryer too. Again, a gentler tumble action is employed and clothes are left slightly damp, so that that iron of yours can do its smooth operation with a little more ease.
So, That’s That Ironed Out
While technology may still be lagging a little behind the automated dream of many, it’s good to see that there are a couple of options that can help.
You can either take the steamy steps to staying crease-free, or you can use the feature that may just be waiting to be used on your faithful old washing machine.
Of course, your other course of action is to re-frame the whole ironing task as a valuable period when you can devote your whole being to one task and the benefits of mindfulness shower themselves upon you.
No, me neither. Bring on the tech.
Martin’s life revolves around films, dogs and food, but rarely all at the same time. At least two out of these three like to give clothes and furniture a hard time, and Martin enjoys discovering and writing about new ways to stop them doing their worst.