What Is an Iron Press Cloth?

Written by mary beth magee
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What Is an Iron Press Cloth?
Use a press cloth between the iron and the garment for a more professional finish. (iron image by FFprod66 from Fotolia.com)

Use a press cloth while ironing or pressing to achieve a more professional look to laundered garments. The press cloth or pressing cloth works well to protect unfinished edges while smoothing seams in the process.


A press cloth serves as a protective barrier between the heat of an iron and the fabric being ironed or pressed. Using a press cloth helps to reduce stretching of the garment caused by the iron. The cloth may be dampened to aid in forming crisp pleats. The press cloth will collect any deposits of minerals or soil on the iron, protecting the garment from discolouration.


Ironing leaves a shine on some fabrics. The press cloth reduces shine. The iron builds up less starch or sizing residue from the garment when a press cloth is placed between the garment and the iron. Fewer residues on the iron mean less chance of soiling the garment during pressing or ironing. The press cloth protects garment details such as lace or buttons from catching on the iron.


A good press cloth allows penetration of heat and steam to the garment while protecting the garment from scorching. Visibility of garment details improves with a lighter weight and colour press cloth.


A dampened press cloth and dry iron can substitute for a steam iron. Wring the press cloth as dry as possible and place on the garment. Press or iron with the dry iron. The heat of the iron creates steam from the moisture in the press cloth.

Homemade Press Cloth

Nearly any plain fabric remnant works as a press cloth. Worn sheets, cotton handkerchiefs or remnants of other fairly sheer but sturdy fabric will serve. Plain fabrics reduce the possibility of design transfer to the garment. Launder the press cloth regularly to reduce build up of starch from the garment or minerals from steam irons.

Commercial Press Cloths

Tailors and seamstresses may prefer commercial press cloths, which are available at many fabric stores. Some commercially available press cloths offer the feature of chemical treatment to assist the launderer in achieving sharp details on the garment.

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