Working around a decorative detail can be tricky. Skip the ironing board and keep this how-to on hand instead.

By Kristine Hansen
May 02, 2019
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That bedding with the floral appliqués or embroidered vines looked lovely online, but when it comes time to iron your duvet or comforter you might be at a loss. How do you skillfully maneuver the iron around these raised designs? It's one thing to zip a warm iron over a linen or cotton sheet, but it's another task entirely to successfully flatten the raised design so that tiny wrinkles disappear. (Can't see wrinkles in your duvet or bedspread? Look again, because they're definitely lurking. Is that the first thing you want to see each morning?)

"I just ironed my own spring duvet cover last weekend and I love how crisp and fresh it looks," says Natalie Wise, author of The Modern Organic Home: 100+ DIY Cleaning Products, Organizational Tips and Household Hacks. Here, Wise shares her go-to tricks for ironing the decorative detailing on a duvet or bedspread. Wrinkles and creases, be gone!

Don't use an ironing board.

Irons and ironing boards go together like PB&J. But an ironing board is not designed for thick, decorative linens. "It takes too long, the iron cord gets stuck in the linens, and the linens have to pile up after being ironed," says Wise. What can sometimes happen with these unfortunate pile-ups is that more wrinkles are added, which totally defeats the purpose of ironing in the first place.

Find the right surface.

Instead of an ironing board, choose a flat surface. No, you can't use your distressed dining-room table because those knots and holes-despite being beautiful-present a challenge. A wicker table's bumpy surface will not work either. You need a surface so flat that a pencil won't roll off.

Bath towels are your BFF.

Grab a dry bath towel from the linen closet and pad the surface. "A bath towel, with its flexible but soft fibers, is your best friend for ironing tricky decorative linens," says Wise. Failure to pad adequately might result in unfortunate burn marks to the wood. You can never have too many towels!

Remember to mist first.

It's not just about running an iron over the fabric. "Turn the item inside-out or lay it right-side-down on top of the towel," says Wise. Before ironing, mist the fabric with distilled, boiled and cooled water, using a spray bottle, says Wise. "With the item right-side-down into the towel, lightly mist the surface, until damp but not saturated," she says. Also, because you want a space that lulls you into slumber with ease, "add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your misting spray bottle, and shake well," Wise suggests. "This adds a subtle scent to aid in sleeping."

The art of ironing.

"Carefully begin ironing on the hottest setting that works for the fabric type. Avoid pressing too hard over embellishments or pressing and moving the iron." (In other words, iron evenly, not giving any more time or attention to raised designs and try not to use jerky movements.) Wise also suggests taking it slow and not dragging the iron. Otherwise, you could damage the item's fibers.

Dry flat or hang.

After ironing, you might be tempted to lay the duvet or comforter over the bed to admire your handiwork. Practice patience instead. "Let the fabric relax and completely dry flat or hanging before putting it on your bed or gently folding it for storage," says Wise.

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