Ironing it Out

Posse!  I have a confession to make:  I love ironing.

Love that the name is ‘cottonbro’

Oh, get up off the floor.  Folks still iron… don’t they?  I do.  I iron all the time.  It’s soothing – and you get crisp sheets and handkerchiefs and a little bump of an iron on a linen shirt just pulls it all together.  Yep.  I luhs me some ironing.

Beyond the end product I love all the moving parts.  I tend to iron in the afternoon, when motes are drifting through sunlight (I do not iron on cloudy days – dunno why) and the quiet of the afternoon (remember where I live), coupled with the hiss of the steam and the light filtering through … and the smell.  It’s a lovely time, just me, the birds, some quiet…and the iron.

And oh, the smell.  There’s something so calming about the smell of hot fabric, that little release of residue from previous ironings (or washings) – and if you use sizing or starch… oh, what a wonderful world!  I remember when Clean (the fragrance line) first came out – and I was so mesmerized by the smell.  I wore the living daylights out of that, until I started to get headaches from it  – and even then I wondered why it (and the whole genre it spawned) was so popular. I think it’s because, unlike a lot of perfumes that smell like perfume the whole ‘clean’ oeuvre seems to be on par with that whole ‘baby’ thing that was so prevalent in the 70s – more of a amalgamated scent memory… it was definitely the 70s   But lemmetellya – 1971 or 2021 – wear Love’s Baby Soft… let me know how that works for you.  I wore it on the train to Chicago a few weeks ago, just to see what happened – the conductor (who was FOINE, btw, so that was a W for this old lady) stopped by my seat about 10 times!!!  I’ve got a ‘date’ coming up and I was going to wear something more complicated – but it’s with a guy (with a capital GUY) so I think I’mo break out the LBSoft again. 😉 – it’s bizarre, how that drugstore scent …. well… y’know..

…but back to ‘clean’.  There are still tons of ‘clean’ (and clean adjacent) scents out there – it’s  a really tenacious genre.  The Clean brand itself has about 200 iterations – my favorite for just spritzing around (not on me, more just around) is Clean Warm Cotton, which is the closest I have gotten to that ‘just-ironed’ smell.   I have worn it as a personal perfume – and omg, how folks do love it – but, as with Lauder’s White Linen, something in it, when worn on my skin, ends up giving me a headache.  But it’s nice spritzed on pillows, especially sofa pillows.  Demeter Linen is a lovely one  – I used to spritz this on the inside of a blouse or sweater right before I put it on – it never seemed to interfere with whatever ‘real’ perfume I put on, instead giving it this weird ‘boost’ and if you are feeling louche, you can give your closet a few hefty spritzed (careful not to spritz directly on clothes, of course) and shut the door.  Go back to the closet a few hours later… sublime.

So.  That’s a whole bunch of weirdness, huh?  Ironing Musette, some clean scents… laundry..

How do you feel about ‘clean’ scents?  Do you ever wear them as perfume.  Do you iron?  Inquiring minds want to know!!  Surely some of you out there are My People?


  • Sarah Patton says:

    Late to the party but I had to say I LOVE to iron. I have an enormous Rowenta “steam station” that melts wrinkles like butter. It is awesome and hard for me to stop once I get going. I bought some Loves Baby Soft a few years ago, remembering the illicit spritzes I stole from the dresser of a a boyfriend’s younger sister, and was dismayed by a burned sugar smell that I didn’t remember..

  • Kathleen says:

    No ironing for me ever!
    However, I adore the smell of clean laundry and I love to do laundry. I enjoy specialty laundry soaps with gorgeous scents, not the Tides or Gains and never fabric softener. I use wool dryer balls.
    I need to find Love’s Baby Soft!

  • Patty says:

    DATE?!?!?!? I’m gonna need more informationg, but my work life is a disaster this fall, and we just put an RFP to bed, and ugh, I’m yearning for the holidays when everything stops again for a couple of weeks! Well, except sports, they always play, but I can handle that. I love the smell of ironing. Mom would pull out the old automatic wringer washer once a month, and we washed everything in the house all day, line dried it, and everything that needed to be washed was sprinkled, thrown in a bag and into the freezer it went, until bag by bag got pulled out on a Saturday, and we spent all day ironing. I do NOT love ironing, but that smell….. line dried clothes being ironed is special.

  • Jennifer S says:

    I actually like to iron but shirts/blouses is all I do. It is relaxing for sure! Not into fabric softeners either for the laundry but one daughter uses some God awful weird stuff then hangs her sheets up to dry and the house just reeks and it’s almost headache inducing. My other daughter and I can’t stand that smell. I don’t know if she’s using too much or what and can’t really describe the smell…like a metallic or industrial kinda thing but boy does it permeate.

    • Musette says:

      dunno why people feel the need to use SO MUCH STUFF in laundry. But they do. Alas. Some of those folks you can smell a half-block away!


  • Tara C says:

    I love ironing too. It’s very soothing and gives instant gratification; as someone else mentioned it feels like something you can control when the world feels so chaotic and out of control. Love the smell of the steam and hot iron – I get a semblance of that from Atélier Cologne Vanille Insensée which has a metallic hot iron smell. I tend to wear laundry musk scents when I’m not feeling well, it’s comforting.

  • rosarita says:

    I was taught to iron at an early age. My dad was a banker so he dressed up every day; my mom started me on handkerchiefs and worked me up to dress shirts. I iron infrequently now but I do love the smell and the peace surrounding it. Never got into the Clean genre of perfumes except for a bottle of Estee Lauder Pleasures in the 90s.

    • Musette says:

      Hey, A! I remember ‘cat whiskers’ at the corners of pillowcases. That would earn you a vicious ‘do over’! I now take perverse pleasure in leaving those whiskers the hell alone! LOL!

  • cinnamon says:

    I remember that whole clean period. I think I was looking for the skankiest amber under the sun back then. I’m good with ironing. Definitely soothing, but I’ve never done sheets. And I think it’s actually time for a new iron. Thanks for the reminder.?

    • Musette says:

      if you’re not too fussy – and I’m not – sheets are actually easy, imo. My goal is just to bump them a bit – and if I’m in some highly insane mood I might run a hot iron on them once I make the bed with clean sheets (never after, though)


  • March says:

    Ha! As you know I JUST bought an iron, after not using one in years (decades?) because I refused to iron for six people… in my defense, I did keep an eye on the dryer and pulled things out and folded them before they congealed into lumps. If something HAD to be pressed (like for an event) I took it to the cleaners. I won’t be at all surprised if I decide to iron all sorts of things. When those “clean” scents were fashionable I was into … skankier scents, but I totally remember the smell of LBS and am not at all surprised it’s still a hit.

    • Musette says:

      Ironing for 6 people is a hard NO!

      Yeah, I suspect now that you can do it just for you, you might find yourself doing it a lot more. It really is very soothing, especially if it is a choice, rather than a chore.


  • HemlockSillage says:

    Hi, Posse Peeps! I’m sticking my hand up to admit I have a love of ironing and the scents of ironing. I am with you, Musette.

    I love the steam, sizing or (lavender) starch…and I add a few spritzes of Diptyque’s Viniagre de Toilette to the water chamber. I tend to iron shirts and pants. The joy is in the instant satisfaction. Damp, lumpy fabric becomes beautiful and smooth, smelling warm and clean. That hint of scent stays on the fabric, and I catch a whiff when I don the garment later.

    It often feels like I have little control. I share a home with people who have wildly different schedules, cleaning habits and food preferences. This one thing I can do. It’s the same peace I find in cleaning. Pro tip: start with only partially dry clothes. I put them in the dryer only long enough to knock off a good part of the water and then iron them damp. Afterward, I hang the clothes out, so the seams can completely dry.

    I tried ironing sheets after a high powered attorney convinced me it was relaxing. I took my damp queen sheets, my hot iron and herbal steam, glass of wine and good music, as recommended. I ironed for an HOUR! (It felt longer.) The sheets looked great and felt amazing, but no way will I do that again. I don’t like ironing that much. . .but pre-pandemic I toured a swanky open house with a built in fabric press in the utility room. . .

    There is something in Penhaligon’s Sartorial that hits me as steel and steam for a half sec. I like Amazing Grace and Perfect Veil, which are firmly in the the clean laundry scent bin of fragrances. I love ‘em. Comfortable and easy to like, they surround me and make me think of clean, smooth fabric in a chaotic world.

    • Musette says:

      OMGOSH! Hey, cutie! So glad to see you on here – and yes, ‘clean, smooth fabric in a chaotic world’ – truer words never spoken!


  • Pam says:

    So glad somebody still loves ironing! I especially love ironed pillowcases. So special. Steam ironing is great. Or spraying mist on the fabric before ironing. Yes!

  • filomena813 says:

    I still own an iron but seldom use it. I would rather iron than vacuum. I hate vacuuming. My vacuum cleaner is very heavy and clumsy and I am always getting bruises from it. In fact, I would even prefer cleaning the bathroom to vacuuming.

    • rosarita says:

      I am so with you about vacuuming! Four years ago I was vacuuming, got my foot caught up in the cord and fell flat on my face, required two surgeries to fix a dislocated toe. Despite the cat hair, I no longer vacuum, my husband does it.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    I remember reading that many Hollywood stars would audition in the CLEAN range.
    Ironing? So I do have a peculiar love but only for Tea Towels. There’s something so wonderful about pulling a perfectly ironed one from the drawer. I also do our cloth napkins. For both things I must be completely in the mood, so maybe twice a year. We do have a few shirts that need ironing but we eschew them unless absolutely necessary.
    Portia xx

    • MzChris says:

      I am with you, Portia! One of my loves is vintage linens. It is so relaxing, meditative and satisfying to iron a cotton table runner, some lovely old serviettes or an embroidered tea towel or 3.

      I have a steamer for touching up clothes and while doing that is not slow and soothing the way ironing is, the smell of the steam and the sound of the hot burbling bubbles always make me believe myself to be capable and efficient.

      Those ‘clean’ scents are too much like fabric softener; something I never, ever use. Even being around someone with Downy or Snuggle on their clothing induces a feeling of imminent suffocation.

      • Portia says:

        SNAP! On so many levels MzChris!
        One day I’ll have a steamer. There’s no room in this apartment for one.
        I also eschew fabric softener and use a mix of 90/10 White Vinegar/Disinfectant. My washing smells of nothing when dry.
        Portia xx

      • Musette says:

        Guys, especially, smell of fabric softener – I wonder why. Even the men whose wives do the laundry – perhaps it’s their Guy pheromones that amp up that smell? I never smell it as strong on a woman (even the wife of the guy standing next to her, reeking of Downy. Huh.)


        • Portia says:

          That is strange. I rarely notice that laundry fabric softener smell unless it’s sitting next to me on a bus or train. You must be hypernosmic to those scents Musette.

    • Musette says:

      I’ll come iron for you if Jin cooks…


  • ElizaC says:

    I have no idea where our iron is…;)

  • Dina C. says:

    I still iron, too, but I don’t enjoy it as much as you. I tend to wait until I have 5 or 6 things to iron, and then I’ll do them all while listening to music or sort of watching a TV show. And to me, a steamer is not the same, though I do have one of those too for certain items. Mugler’s Cologne in the groovy acid green rocket ship-shaped bottle actually smells like freshly steam ironed dress shirts. I bought it for my son when he was a teen for his first scent, hoping to steer him away from Axe and those horrid body sprays. Thankfully it worked! Nowadays he likes Tom Ford and other nice scents that mom steers him towards. 😉

    • Musette says:

      well…I think it’s because it’s no longer a chore – I can choose to iron, now. And there are so many, many times I choose NOT to iron! (then I get my Control Freak on and find myself ironing anyway 😉

      That Mugler sounds lovely – must investigate.

      • Alityke says:

        When I retired 4.5 years ago I no longer had to iron my uniforms.
        My iron has only been touched to be dusted since!
        White Linen etc give me nauseous headaches. EL Pleasures & JLo Glow are the only clean musks I can wear