Ironing Boards

We don’t have that much ironing, but when ironing I often wonder about the ‘standard’ ironing board’s deck shape and construction.

I wonder if the shape of the deck could be improved to better cope with things like shirts, pants (long and short), etc. Also, the wire mesh top lets heat pass through very easily which to me is inefficient, as I want the heat produced by the iron to be retained as much as possible so the iron and the ironer don’t have to work as hard.

Perhaps Choice could help to see if there is anything better out there?


Aren’t they on the path to extinction??!!


Sadly no. Alas, and alack we have multiple sets of uniforms and clothes for performances that need ironing.

It is during the precision ironing where creases have to be able to cut, that I contemplate the lack of assistance provided by the inflexible design of the ironing board.


When going into clothing stores lately
I’ve noticed garments being steamed with a hand-held clothes steamer and it looks like it does a great job with minimal effort.


I have thought of using one of those, but the clothing stores get clothes that have been pressed by the manufacturer, and only need to be ‘freshened’. They don’t need to work on washed clothes that had been crumpled up in the washing machine, albeit after drying on a line.

For me the steaners have limitations:

  1. it takes most creases out, but won’t put them in when required on pants legs, and shirt sleeves etc.
  2. I would think that they would use more power and water to constantly produce the steam.
  3. another gadget to store.

Possibly steam presses might hold some clues, or a home style hot platen press. Speed over labour?

We had one decades past that was quite effective at pressing starched garments, linen, table cloths etc to perfection. Too short to press trousers in one go though.

No mesh and held the heat well after the 10-20 minute heat up cycle. At 2,000W+ possibly another way to use cheap solar PV on a sunny summer day.

Is a hot iron on a board the best way to get that perfect result quickly, or is the steam iron and board at best a compromise for convenience?


Maybe not only ironing boards, but replacement ironing board covers. These vary is size and quality.

Also some of the original (OEM) covers fitted to new boards are often very thin and short lasting compared to some replacement ones. We have in the past bought a cheap board, with a new better separate cover at the same time. The two covers are on the board to provide extra thickness to prevent the mesh marks appearing on some fabrics when ironing.


Good point @phb.

Normally I buy the metalic covers which are supposed to be better at reflecting the heat. I too keep at least two layers of metalic cover and a foam layer on the board’s deck.


A an old wool blanket folded to a reasonable thickness & cut to roughly shape can work wonders on any ironing board. They can be found at op shops at times (don’t use the acrylic as they will melt and stick). Cover with a calico cover to avoid wool fibres on whites. To attach just sew on some ribbon or decent string to use as ties under the board.

The only thing you might replace on the cover will only generally ever be the calico cover unless you leave an iron for a very long time on full heat on the board.

If you wanted to get extra fancy you could stitch elastic to the edge to act as the retainer or use a drawstring to pull it tight under the board.

Another thing we have used is a pine slab cut to shape to fit the board and glued in place (normally contact type glue), I would think plywood would do a similar job. Then just cover with a normal cover to finish the effect or you could sand and bring to a high finish as a raw board if you desired.

Learnt these from my maternal Grandmother (a household wonder of ingenuity) and Grandfather (he was an old style builder/carpenter). They grew up just before and married during the Great Depression when nothing was allowed to go to waste.


Sounds good. I will look to see if I have scraps of wood to make a lid. Perhaps the local op shop has a small wool blanket. Thanks

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Sounds very much like my grans ironing board from the 30’s or 40’s. Solid very thick single pine plank with a pad under calico. Old is new again and so simple.

Except finding a knot free thick and wide stable board might be hard. Any one trying ply per @grahroll’s suggestion might like to look for marine grade ply as it is more moisture resistant and I think the bonding resins are thermo setting.


Exterior grade ply (an example of choices @ Exterior Plywood | Cladding Plywood | Marine Plywood | Cubby House Plywood | Plywood Ceilings : Plymaster) would also probably work, it doesn’t have to be as water resistant as marine grade but would be much cheaper. The pine slabs in Hoop Pine can be obtained in widths of up to around 1100 mm, it is also a very straight grained wood.


Thanks for the request and suggestion everyone, I’ll be sure to pass them on to our product testing team.


Plz add this to the evaluated features list.



Not bad at all! :joy:


Great safety tip, sterilised ice conveniently to hand for treating those unexpected little burns from a misguided iron? :wink:


Just to be sure here… the first part of the question was whether the ‘deck’ could be improved from the current standard shape and construction. the second part was about the wire mesh letting heat through too easily.

To give this a little perspective, the Ironing Board was originally just a flat board and evolved into the shape we have today primarily so that it was easier to iron areas of clothing such as the top of the shoulders, shirt sleeves as well as the inside and ‘back side’ of trousers and which a straight piece ow wood would not allow you to do as the ‘straight’ surface of the ironing board would not allow such to be done (ever tried stretching material around something when the material is not big enough?). The metal mesh evolved due to the change in the composition of materials for clothing (polyester, nylon etc.) which required less heat to smooth down the wrinkles and also allow excess moisture to escape from the board so that the item being ironed did not end up ‘a soggy mess’. And as for the ‘drink holder’ on the end - a marvellously brilliant idea by the way! it was placed there when the old ‘branding irons’ went out of fashion and the new-fangled electric ones became the rage, the reasoning was primarily because the new ‘electric’ irons did not have any ‘thermostat adjustment’ when they first came out and therefore a place to hold them upright was needed so that clothing materials did not get ‘iron shaped’ holes burnt into them (anyone watching the old black and white TV shows would recognise this lol). And yes, as a ‘mere male’ I can honestly say that I know how to use both an iron ‘and’ an ironing board after having to iron my own clothing for many years (and just to shock the ladies - I also know how to sew and darn as well as how to knit lol) after being taught as a youngster. As to ‘improving’ the shape of the board itself, I would not be able to make any suggestions after using these things for so long. Hope that helps in any considerations.



Although the one improvement I always make is to remove the cup holder. It gets in the way of ironing the flats of the business shirts which I prefer to do over the square end of the board to minimise double handling and creasing. That’s after doing the collar, yoke and sleeves. (Bet that starts an argument.) steam no steam, damp or dry, anyone?

I guess the issue of build up or removal of moisture depends also on how many items are ironed in succession and what type of cloth. JIT works around here.

If I had a choice the standard boards appear to be made down to a price or size that suits size 6 people. There are larger if you look outside the usual supermarkets. I’d suggest the standard ironing boards are all too narrow at the fat end by approx 15-25cm and at least 30-50 cm too short for trousers.

Some of us may prefer even wider, although my mother was a firm adherent of drip dry synthetics. If only the coat hangers were a little larger!:wink:


The ‘cup holder’ per se evolved when manufacturers of electric irons developed the ‘steam’ side of things, it is in reality not (unfortunately for those who like a ‘tipple’ while ironing) a ‘drinks holder’ but in fact a cup holder for ‘water’ to refill the steam iron which has limited capacity and used to quite often run close to dry and need to be constantly refilled due to the temperatures that were inherent in creating the steam to iron with.

And yes, I too have noticed that the sizes of the current crop of ironing boards has become narrower and narrower over the years - a savings for the manufacturer or something a bit more towards the image conscious perhaps? I am still trying to find a board that is bigger than the standard ‘size six’ as most males clothes are ‘nowhere near the same size as the ladies are’ and the universal matrix of ‘standardisation’ of the ‘mean’ being the most efficient does not always hold true.