If you want to use your steam iron as a dry iron, simply empty the water from the iron or set the iron to its dry heat setting. Many people use a steam iron to press fabrics because steam heat changes the shape of the fabric threads faster than dry heat. Some fabrics, however, are made from fibers that break down when exposed to steam. Others may transfer some of their dye and lose color. In addition, iron-on transfers and patches require a dry iron. Fortunately, a steam iron can easily pull double duty and be used dry.
Wash your fabric before ironing. Dirt, debris and oils, when heated, can stick to the soleplate of the iron and damage it.
Remove the water from your steam iron, if necessary. Unplug and cool the iron, and then empty the water tank. Wipe moisture from the soleplate with a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth. If your steam iron doesn't have water in it, or has a steam shut-off switch or dry setting, skip this step.
Select the dry-iron setting on your steam iron by moving the dial or switch marked "DRY/STEAM" or something similar. If your steam iron has a steam shut-off switch, turn or slide the dial to the "OFF" position. If your steam iron doesn't have a "DRY" setting, select the "MIN" setting, if available, or review your iron's manual to determine the appropriate setting.
Preheat the iron. Turn the temperature and fabric selectors to the desired settings for the item you wish to iron.
Lay your fabric on your ironing board or an appropriate flat surface. If you use a table as your ironing board, lay a white towel on it to protect the surface from heat damage. For an iron-on transfer or patch, follow the patch instructions for preparing and placing the transfer or patch on the fabric for ironing.
Iron back and forth over your fabric or iron-on transfer after the temperature indicator light shows your iron has reached the correct temperature. Some irons have a light that turns green when the desired temperature is reached. Others turn red or turn off.
When finished, unplug the iron and allow it to cool.
Irene A. Blake
Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.