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Pressing Cloth

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A Pressing Cloth or Press Cloth is a piece of fabric used between an iron and a garment to protect the iron from picking up residue from the garment and to protect the fabric from being damaged by direct contact with the iron. Pressing cloths can be used wet or dry.

A fabric that would be appropriate for an ironing board cover will work as a pressing cloth. Smooth cotton or linen are the most common choices, but any scrap or remnant that’s at hand will work, as will a linen tea towel or napkin. It’s better practice to use a light colored or undyed fabric, particularly when ironing a light colored garment, to prevent any possibility of dye from the pressing cloth getting onto the garment.

In the days when irons were literally cast iron and were heated over fires pressing cloths must have been much more necessary than they are these days for every day ironing.

Pressing cloths are not commonly used unless the fabric being pressed is exceptionally sensitive to heat, or when pressing something that could damage the iron. For instance fusible interfacing can leave residue on the iron. Likewise fabric paint can soften and stick to an iron, and spray starch will build up on an iron and eventually get re-deposited on fabric as scorch marks.  Any of these tasks are better done with a pressing cloth.

Synonyms:

press cloth
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