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View Full Version : My Iron Drips Oil--Help!



Orianna2000
08-18-2015, 02:42 AM
I'm having a problem with my iron. Using an iron on a daily basis is an absolute necessity in my profession (sewing). The thing is, about a year ago, my iron started dripping some kind of oil or grease onto my fabrics! It isn't water, because it doesn't evaporate when I iron over it. It leaves a permanent stain. It ruined several pieces of nice satin, as well as an expensive doll costume, before I realized what was going on. The stains are definitely coming from the iron--I checked the ceiling and even the ironing board, they're clean and dry. I don't know where else it could be coming from. It has to be my iron! But I'm perplexed.

I decided my expensive Panasonic iron must be defective, so I bought a new, cheap iron. I deliberately didn't fill the water tank, so there would be no chance of it dripping anything on my fabric. Well, it worked fine until a couple weeks ago, and then, lo and behold, an oil spot appeared on my fabric while I was pressing it! It ruined a nice piece of silk, which ticked me off. A few days later, it ruined some rayon knit jersey. It never seems to happen when I'm pressing cheap quilting cotton, only expensive fabrics, like taffeta and satin. Which is kinda weird.

I'm truly at my wits' end. I don't know why my iron is dripping oil, I can't find anything on the subject when I Google it, and I have no idea how to fix it. But this is a problem, not only because it's ruining my fabrics, and because it's ruining my couture doll clothes, but also because I have students who use my iron while they're working on their projects. If my iron ruins something they're sewing, I'll be held responsible. I can't afford to replace their fabric, or reimburse them for the time they've spent sewing!

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this problem? Is there any way to prevent it from happening? I'd go out and buy a new iron, but this is the second iron I've had that's done this! What guarantee do I have that a new iron won't do the same thing? I'm truly bewildered . . . and pulling my hair out!

Ketzel
08-18-2015, 03:18 AM
I'm not really sure, Orianna, but here's the best I can come up with. First, I don't think your old iron was dripping oil, because I don't know where inside of an iron there would be oil to drip. My guess is there was rust in the water tank and that was coming out in the steam or the sprayer and making the indelible dark spots. I'm wondering if the reason the problem has recurred with the new iron is not because of the iron, but because of the surface you're ironing on. Have you tried changing the cover and the pad on the ironing board? It seems possible to me that the board covering may have gotten saturated with something staining, but that it is only being picked up on thinner fabrics because those fabrics become damper when misted or sprayed, and thus may wet and release whatever has stained the surface.

As far as protecting your valuable fabric and student work, for now you might consider putting something like muslin over the pieces you are ironing? Or maybe investing in a steamer?

Hope any of this is helpful; I'm scratching my head here, too.

Orianna2000
08-18-2015, 05:02 AM
I'm not really sure, Orianna, but here's the best I can come up with. First, I don't think your old iron was dripping oil, because I don't know where inside of an iron there would be oil to drip. My guess is there was rust in the water tank and that was coming out in the steam or the sprayer and making the indelible dark spots.
I didn't think there would be oil inside an iron, either. The thing is, I wasn't using steam or the sprayer when it happened. I rarely use steam at all, and never use the sprayer. I have a separate water bottle to spritz the fabric if I need it damp. (More control that way.) The substance comes out of the steam holes, somehow. I've seen it happen. The stains aren't rust-colored, though. They're just . . . darkened, like the fabric is wet, except it stays even once the rest of the fabric is dry. That's what made me think grease or oil, because it seems to be a clear stain.


I'm wondering if the reason the problem has recurred with the new iron is not because of the iron, but because of the surface you're ironing on. Have you tried changing the cover and the pad on the ironing board? It seems possible to me that the board covering may have gotten saturated with something staining, but that it is only being picked up on thinner fabrics because those fabrics become damper when misted or sprayed, and thus may wet and release whatever has stained the surface.
I thought of that. I inspected both the pad and the cover and found no spots or stains, no discoloration, nothing that might indicate they're responsible for the staining. And I recently saw the substance come out of the iron as I was using it, so it's definitely something inside the iron.


As far as protecting your valuable fabric and student work, for now you might consider putting something like muslin over the pieces you are ironing? Or maybe investing in a steamer?

For awhile, I was using a batiste pressing cloth, but it's really hard to see what I'm doing, since it's not see-through. This would be especially hard for my students, since they aren't as experienced with pressing seams. They really have to be able to see what they're pressing. I do have a silk organza pressing cloth, which is very sheer, but it's so thin, any liquid would seep right through it. For that matter, I wasn't sure if the batiste pressing cloth would protect my fabrics, either. It's pretty lightweight. As far as a steamer, that might work for getting wrinkles out of fabric, but it wouldn't be any good for pressing seams. You really need an iron for that. :-/


Hope any of this is helpful; I'm scratching my head here, too.
Thanks for trying to help! :)

Maryn
08-18-2015, 07:46 PM
My first thought is that if it's happened with two different irons, it's probably not the iron. Since students use it, perhaps someone inadvertently got oil spots on a garment or project, transferring them to the board's cover through the iron's own heat. I would replace the ironing board's cover, and clean the bare surface with something that cuts grease before putting on the new one.

I'd also recommend any new students sign a waiver in regard to damage to their projects caused by use of your equipment.

Do you use your own sewing machine(s), or do the students bring their own? If it's yours, do the students oil them? Sewing machine oil applied where there isn't supposed to be any can cause spotting at the line of stitching, which might "blossom" larger when heated.

Is there any possibility a student put something other than distilled water into the irons' reservoirs?

I'm just throwing out ideas here, though. I'm as mystified as you are.

BarII
08-18-2015, 08:31 PM
I use a spray bottle too because I had the same problem. I assumed it was mold. I don't even use the cover of my whistling tea pot because I'm afraid mold can get trapped in the hard to clean void in the cover where the hole is. I just set the oven timer for 7 minutes. There are iron cleaning instructions on the internet and they make "self cleaning" irons. I use an iron without Teflon. It has a stainless steel surface and it's easier to see if something black is making its way out of the holes. If you avoid putting water in it and clean it periodically, that should be enough, but I never thought there could be a problem if no water is put into it. Maybe the steam that's created when you iron damp fabric gets into the iron and causes rust or mold. That would explain the need for cleaning.

Orianna2000
08-18-2015, 09:03 PM
My first thought is that if it's happened with two different irons, it's probably not the iron.
Except I've seen the fluid dribble out. Well, I didn't actually see it dripping from the iron, because I was ironing at the time, not looking at the bottom of my iron. But the fabric was clean and dry, and then a second later, when I moved the iron, a blob of fluid was on the fabric, which got smeared when I moved the iron. The ironing board is clean, no stains, no discoloring, no stiff patches, nothing that would indicate any problems.


I'd also recommend any new students sign a waiver in regard to damage to their projects caused by use of your equipment.
Yes! I'd forgotten, but I have every new student sign just such a waiver. I'm not responsible if they get injured, or if their equipment gets damaged. I'll have to check and see if it covers this kind of situation, specifically, but if not, I can easily change the wording. I would still feel bad, though, if someone's project got ruined because of my iron!


Do you use your own sewing machine(s), or do the students bring their own? If it's yours, do the students oil them? Sewing machine oil applied where there isn't supposed to be any can cause spotting at the line of stitching, which might "blossom" larger when heated.
Usually, they bring their own. Occasionally someone uses mine, but mine doesn't need to be oiled. And to be honest, I doubt any of my students oil their sewing machines, even though I remind them that it needs to be done. (I had at least one admit that she doesn't, despite my reminders.)


Is there any possibility a student put something other than distilled water into the irons' reservoirs?
Nope. I never put water in the new iron. My old iron, I used tap water occasionally, but when I bought the new iron, I deliberately didn't fill it, or use the steam function. And my students are never left alone in the room, so they couldn't have secretly put something in the iron.


I'm just throwing out ideas here, though. I'm as mystified as you are.
Thanks, I appreciate it. It really is a mystery! Everyone I've talked to has said they've never even heard of something like this happening. My mom offered to loan me her iron, but it won't match my sewing room (I'm OCD about things coordinating) and I don't know if it won't have the same problem, if two very different irons have done the same thing. Why not a third? Ugh.

I'm thinking of ordering another new iron, but I'm really scared that it's going to have the same problem. I mean, I've checked the ironing board cover and pad, they're clean! There's no sign of any oil or grease on them. And I've seen the spots occur, it's exactly like it's dripping oil from the steam holes in the iron. But it makes no sense!


I use a spray bottle too because I had the same problem. I assumed it was mold. I don't even use the cover of my whistling tea pot because I'm afraid mold can get trapped in the hard to clean void in the cover where the hole is. I just set the oven timer for 7 minutes. There are iron cleaning instructions on the internet and they make "self cleaning" irons. I use an iron without Teflon. It has a stainless steel surface and it's easier to see if something black is making its way out of the holes. If you avoid putting water in it and clean it periodically, that should be enough, but I never thought there could be a problem if no water is put into it. Maybe the steam that's created when you iron damp fabric gets into the iron and causes rust or mold. That would explain the need for cleaning.

One of my irons, not sure which one, had cleaning directions. It was something like, fill it with water and shake it, then press the steam button while holding the iron over the sink. It should drip black stuff out, which is the deposits of minerals from the water/steam. Yuck!

I'm not sure that it's rust or mold. It's a clear stain, not reddish or black. And it's liquid, which smears across the fabric, staining it. It's very perplexing!

shakeysix
08-18-2015, 09:24 PM
Surely there is a hotline help number on the boxes that the irons came in. If you don't have the boxes, google the companies. Panasonic should stand behind its product. This is weird but with two different irons there has to be someone else having the same problem. If there isn't a remedy surely there is an explanation! I'd call the numbers and demand to talk to a person, even if it meant being on hold for an hour or two. My mom did a lot of sewing and sometimes we kids would use her iron on something like those insignia patches that used to come in breakfast cereal. Even that small infraction could earn a spanking because of the gum it left on the iron plate. Birdseye diapers are what she used to press good fabric--s6

BarII
08-18-2015, 09:50 PM
Try a dry iron (https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=&oq=%22dry+iron%22&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS496US496&q=%22dry+iron%22&gs_l=hp....0.0.2.62669...........0.). No holes! At my rate of ironing I don't see my current one needing replacement within the next couple of decades, but hopefully I'll remember dry irons exist when I need one.

Orianna2000
08-18-2015, 11:08 PM
Surely there is a hotline help number on the boxes that the irons came in. If you don't have the boxes, google the companies. Panasonic should stand behind its product. This is weird but with two different irons there has to be someone else having the same problem. If there isn't a remedy surely there is an explanation! I'd call the numbers and demand to talk to a person, even if it meant being on hold for an hour or two.
I will try to do that. I still have the box from the first, expensive iron. I think I threw out the cheap iron's box, but I will try calling the Panasonic number to see if anyone there can help. I would rather go back to using that iron, since it's a very nice one!

I actually have a phone phobia, it's very difficult for me to call someone I don't know, to the point of inducing a panic attack. But since this is affecting my livelihood and my business, I'll find a way to do it.

P.S. That dry iron sounds interesting! I couldn't find one at Amazon, though. :(

shakeysix
08-18-2015, 11:50 PM
I have a problem with social anxiety, too, but being pissed off usually helps. --s6

Kylabelle
08-18-2015, 11:53 PM
The company (ies) in question may very well have an email contact form on the associated webpages.

Good luck solving this mystery! and I imagine it could, in the meantime, provide some interesting *plot bunnies* for a few folks....

Kinda spooky and all. :greenie

But seriously, good luck with it!

Orianna2000
08-19-2015, 03:56 AM
Thanks! Before calling, I decided to check Panasonic's website, and after some roundabout searching, I found their email contact form. The form only gave me 600 characters to describe the problem, and somehow, I managed to explain it with exactly 600 characters! I thought that was kinda cool. I guess being a writer and knowing how to economize words comes in handy, sometimes, LOL! They're supposed to get back to me within two days, so we'll see if they're able to help.

Kylabelle
08-19-2015, 03:58 AM
Oh, excellent! I hope they can give you a solution somehow, or at least an explanation!

Twick
08-19-2015, 06:32 PM
If you're having the same problem with two different irons, it would be wildly coincidental if the fault is with the irons.

I agree with previous posters that you should (1) try cleaning/replacing whatever you're ironing on, and (2) checking out the sewing machine, to make sure it's not the source of the oil somehow.

Try ironing something on a different board, that wasn't sewn on your machine. If there are still problems, it's the iron, but if not, it's something else with your setup.

Orianna2000
08-19-2015, 07:54 PM
I've had this issue with fabric that hadn't been anywhere near the sewing machine, so I know that isn't the problem.

The thing is, if it was something that had saturated the pad or ironing board cover, wouldn't the oil stains be on the under side of the fabric? Because it would seep through from underneath, right? But the stains always looks worse on the side facing up. Also, if it was the pad or cover, wouldn't the source be visible? They both look pristine. No stains, no damp spots, no discoloration, nothing!

I don't have a spare ironing pad or cover for my ironing board, but I suppose I could try washing them, if need be. Not sure if the pad is washable, but I can look for a tag and see if it says.

I even checked my ceiling, in case it was something dripping from above! Nope.

I got an email from Panasonic that said something to the effect of, "Thanks for your inquiry. We sincerely care about your dissatisfaction. Please call our service center." Ugh, seriously!? I thought the whole reason for having an email contact was so that people wouldn't have to call you! I'm sure they'll put me on hold for an hour, then transfer me to someone who doesn't speak English. I have a hard time understanding people with accents, especially when I can't see them talking. (The reason I suspect the operator won't speak English is because whoever wrote the email was not overly familiar with the English language.)

shakeysix
08-19-2015, 08:50 PM
Damn! This is frustrating. I want to know what is leaking. If it were something organic--like maybe a small insect that had gotten into the iron's steam cavity and then died, it couldn't be messing up two different irons, right? Especially not a new one. Last night I ironed a pair of pants on our less than pristine ironing board cover. There is a smudge of something on the cover. No one knows what it is or where it came from but I suspect my oldest grand daughter because she doesn't know where the smudge came from more vehemently than anyone else. It looks like white paste and won't wash off. I used a diaper to cover the smudge and ironed the pants with no problem. I don't think a dirty cover could be your problem because you would see it seep up, not down. --s6

BarII
08-19-2015, 10:45 PM
Maybe you could make an iron dipstick. A white pipe cleaner maybe? Before ironing, test it to see if it needs to be cleaned. I think cleaning involves baking soda. But if you clean it after every 4 or 5 uses I can't imagine there being a problem.

amergina
08-19-2015, 10:55 PM
My thought is that since you haven't put any water in it, there's some condensation building up inside due to the heating and cooling--and something is coming out--rust. Mold. Something mixing with the condensation.

If you're not using steam at all, you might want to look for something like this:

http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/Home/Cleaning_&_Laundry/Laundry_Essentials/Dry_Iron/42277

Twick
08-20-2015, 12:56 AM
Have you tried posting this in sites devoted to sewing? Surely someone has had a similar situation and found the solution.

Ketzel
08-20-2015, 12:57 AM
It's possible that the stain is being drawn up from the ironing board cover, even if it looks like it's more on the top surface of the fabric than on the bottom. If something has saturated the cover or the padding beneath, it could be getting drawn up into the fabric and spread onto the surface by the heat of the iron. Unless what you mean is that the side of the fabric that's against the ironing board is clean and you are only seeing stains on the side that's being pressed. In which case, I am back to head scratching.

Can you test your irons on another surface, maybe by covering your ironing board completely with something and then running the hot iron over it while periodically checking to see if and where the stains appear? If you give the irons you have been using a good shake, does liquid come out of the plate holes? And if it does, can you wipe it with a light fabric and get a better sense of whether that's causing the stains? I'm just throwing out ways to get a little more information about the source of the staining . . .

Orianna2000
08-24-2015, 07:59 AM
If I unplug the iron, is it safe to insert a pipe cleaner into one of the steam holes, to see if it gets dirty or wet? I don't want to risk electrocuting myself or damaging the iron! But I would like to solve this mystery. Haven't had much time to devote to it this weekend, but perhaps this week I'll find the time to call Panasonic, or the company that made my other (newer) iron.

amergina
08-24-2015, 08:02 AM
If the iron is unplugged, you're in no danger of electrocution, so yes. You could insert a pipe cleaner or q-tip or something.

BarII
08-24-2015, 08:19 AM
Well, maybe you could scratch a rust proof coating, so checking for rust could cause rust. *shrug* I'd just keep it dry except for periodic cleanings.

Maryn
08-24-2015, 06:30 PM
A pipe cleaner that's not the abrasive kind meant to actually clean pipes still has a wire at the end that could scratch coatings. Use needle-nose pliers to twist it on itself very tightly, so the end can't do any damage, then probe away!

Orianna2000
10-21-2015, 05:36 AM
I never did investigate my iron with a pipe cleaner--too afraid of electrocuting myself with residual electricity. So I just bought a new iron! It's the same brand as my second iron, but a much nicer model. So far, so good. It's been several weeks and I haven't noticed any stains, but I haven't worked with any of the fabrics that got stained (satin, taffeta, etc.), so there's no telling for sure.

I still keep thinking it couldn't possibly have been the ironing board cover, since it's clean, with no stains or residue on it. But we'll see. If I get oil stains while using this iron, then it's going to be too much of a coincidence and I'll have to do something with the cover and pad. But so far, it's been fine. And I like the new iron a lot more than the old one, so there's that. :)

Fruitbat
10-21-2015, 05:39 AM
Stop ironing right away. You are making me feel bad about non-ironing fruitself. :(

Orianna2000
11-02-2015, 07:56 AM
LOL, Fruitbat! Don't worry, I hate ironing. I'd rather stick a blouse in the dryer with a damp washcloth, instead of ironing it! But when I sew, it's very important to press seams after I've sewn them, and to press things that are necessary to shape the garment, like darts. (FYI, pressing is different from ironing. Different purpose, and different motions and techniques involved.)

Maryn
11-02-2015, 08:27 PM
My cheap-ass iron steams so poorly I actually jotted down the brands Consumer Reports just rated as best buys. Maybe some day, mainly for sewing. (I also recently bullied Kid Two, who's teaching herself to sew because she has trouble finding ready-to-wear, into buying an ironing board. She made a coat and planned to press the seams open on a sleeve board, for crying out loud.)

I confess I was disappointed that this thread's new activity didn't include a solution to the mystery of the dripping oil, though.

Kylabelle
11-02-2015, 08:30 PM
Me too! (I came around to see if the mystery had been solved!)

Orianna2000
11-03-2015, 12:40 AM
Sorry! I'm disappointed, too . . . I have a really great iron, plus a rather crappy iron, that are both utterly worthless until this mystery gets solved.

It did occur to me last night to wonder if it could have been something weird with my spray bottle. Except then I remembered, I never spray formal fabrics, since they can waterspot. So that can't be it. I hate unsolved mysteries, so this is very aggravating! I'm just glad the current iron seems to be okay. So far, anyway.

Orianna2000
12-07-2015, 11:04 PM
I may have just solved the mystery! (Everyone who's been waiting for a resolution, tune in!)

It's been months, and the new iron hasn't caused any stains. And the other day I realized, the only thing I did with the old iron that I haven't done with the new iron is starching. Several times, with the old iron, I used spray starch alternative (Mary Ellen's Best Press) to stiffen a piece of voile, which is a very thin, semi-sheer cotton. You spray it until damp, then press with a medium-hot iron until dry. Keep on doing that until the fabric is stiff enough that it won't get pulled into the feed dogs when you sew it. I've done this many times with both of the old irons, but I've never done it with the new iron. I can't imagine how spray starch alternative would cause the iron to drip what looks like oil months after I used it for starching, but it's the only variable. It has to be the key!

I thought of it because I was working with voile the other day, and I was worried it would get chewed up by my sewing machine, so I was going to starch it. Then it occurred to me that I hadn't done any starching with the new iron, just with the old ones. So . . . maybe? Is there any way that could be the culprit? If so, I'll have to use one of the old irons specifically for starching, and reserve the new iron for dry ironing only.

What do y'all think?

amergina
12-07-2015, 11:30 PM
That could very well be it! If the starch-alternative was still hanging out on the iron, it might very well have dripped onto the fresh fabric! Since you do a lot of dry ironing, I'd keep one iron for *only* dry ironing and another for starching.

Orianna2000
12-08-2015, 02:13 AM
I'm still perplexed as to how it could have caused the staining, but it's the only explanation. I suppose the starch alternative vaporized during the pressing and the smoke could have made its way into the iron's steam holes, where it caked up . . . and then when I used the iron later, the caked-on starch liquefied due to the heat and dripped onto the fabric? So bizarre! But at least it's an answer.

I will definitely use one of the old irons solely for starching, and keep the new iron for dry pressing only!

amergina
12-08-2015, 03:25 AM
I found this googling... http://hypernoodle.blogspot.com/2014/05/starch-alternativesyour-fabrics-bff.html

The woman who was testing the starch alternatives said:


Every once in a while, on certain fabrics, BEST PRESS may leave a slight stain. I have not found FLATTER to leave any stains on any fabric--including denims, knits and dark fabrics. I've had to discard several pieces of fabric that BEST PRESS has stained. For some reason, it likes to leave (what looks like) water/grease stains on certain fabrics. This doesn't happen on every fabric, it is sporadic (based on the content of the fabric I imagine)


So it may be something in the product?

Orianna2000
12-08-2015, 05:35 AM
Hmm. Very interesting! I may try to contact that blogger and see if she's ever had the Best Press accumulate inside her iron. I looked at the alternative brand she mentions, but according to Amazon's description, it's not a starch alternative, it's just a wrinkle remover. Not sure if it would work to stabilize fine fabrics, but I may give it a try anyway, just to see.

Orianna2000
01-06-2017, 09:02 PM
Okay, I give up! My current iron (which is the third or fourth one) is now dripping tiny drops of oil onto my fabric! I have NOT used it for starching, so that's not the explanation. I'm no longer using the same ironing board, because I made myself a pressing cabinet, which is basically a cabinet with shelves and cubbies, with a giant ironing board mounted on top. It's only a couple months old and isn't dirty at all. I haven't used it for steam ironing or starching, so it can't be the problem.

I'm truly at a loss, here. I can't keep buying irons every six months to avoid the oil-dripping issue! And it ruins my fabrics! I've been working on a special project and I found the PERFECT fabric in my stash, it's a pale gold satin, I only have half a yard, which is exactly the amount I need, and I can't buy more. But when I pressed it before cutting the pattern, it developed oil spots. I tried squirting water on one of the spots, then rubbing it gently, hoping to remove the stain, but it did nothing. I'm going to have to try cutting around the spots, but that's going to be challenging, if not outright impossible. And what happens if I get stains on the fabric when I press the seams while sewing? It could RUIN weeks of hard work.

Sorry, I'm just so frustrated. Truly at my wits' end. Has anyone come up with any other possibilities, or explanations, or fixes?

JulianneQJohnson
01-07-2017, 01:17 AM
I made my living sewing for 30 years. Irons do not have oil in them. Two different brands of iron would not drip oil on the fabric, as neither would have oil in them. It would be a fantastical coincidence if two different brands of iron had the same issue. Therefore I have to believe it's something else in the environment.

I know you say the ironing surface is clean, but I would start fresh, and see if this fixes the issue. I would replace padding and cover, and make sure the surface beneath has no issues. Is it covered wood? Is the wood still in good shape? Is something wicking up from underneath? (Sorry, just read that you did this already.)

Alternate issues can be caused by operator error, which is a possibility with students who are learning. Is anyone ironing something they shouldn't, like vinyl? Is anyone who's watched too much TV reheating a grilled cheese? Are they using wonder under improperly? Are they using iron cleaner and failing to remove all of the residue before using the iron?

I'd say the water was a possibility, but there hasn't been water in the second iron, so that's out.

Orianna2000
01-07-2017, 03:02 AM
I don't have any students at the moment and they're always supervised in the sewing room. No one's ironing anything weird. The fabric doesn't get stained while sitting on the ironing board, only when I use the iron on it. It's utterly perplexing!

I'm going to try washing the stained satin with dish soap to see if it'll remove the stains. And I've ordered yet another new iron. Ugh.

Orianna2000
01-13-2017, 06:46 AM
Okay, my BRAND NEW iron spat oil (or whatever it is) onto my fabric the very first time I used it. This is beyond ridiculous! I contacted the manufacturer and they forwarded my message to their R&D department, who said they have no clue what the problem is. So they sent me another new iron. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm not feeling optimistic.

I was, at least, able to wash the stains out by soaking the fabric in the sink with a bit of dish soap.

mccardey
01-13-2017, 07:09 AM
This is becoming engrossing. I'm voting that the culprit is the board - or, yanno, poltergeists.

Orianna2000
01-13-2017, 08:13 AM
Since I replaced my ironing board with a brand-new setup just a couple months ago, it can't possibly be that. But, then again, it can't possibly be any of the other explanations that I've come up with!

mccardey
01-13-2017, 08:15 AM
Storage, then. Where do you store your fabrics? Are they all kept together? Is there any chance of something dripping from above, onto them?

ETA: If you do store them all together, perhaps folded and in a pile like my stash, I'd be going through them now to see if something has (ugh) died and seeped through.

amergina
01-13-2017, 08:15 AM
This is just dry ironing, right? No sprays?

Old Hack
01-13-2017, 12:52 PM
My best guess is that you have a build-up of something on the sole of the iron which is leaving the marks.

I've seen spray starch look like it's dripping from the steam-holes on the bottom of the iron, because the holes provide a nice place for the evaporating starch to collect while ironing.

I've seen fabrics leave a deposit on the bottom of the iron: many cottons come with a sizing on, similar to starch; washing fabrics with lots of fabric conditioners can do the same.

None of this, however, explains why you've had the problem with a brand new iron. But as you've had the problem with several different irons it has to be something other than the iron, I think.

Orianna2000
01-13-2017, 05:41 PM
Most of my fabrics are kept together, in one of several dressers. No chance of anything dripping on them. I regularly go through the drawers, so there's nothing that could've died in there.

Since the problem started, I've not used any water in the irons, nor starch. I thought the problem was spray starch, but since I haven't used it, that can't be it.

I always wash my fabrics, unless they're dry clean only. So, there shouldn't be any sizing left. I don't use fabric softeners or anything like that. Just a minimum of detergent. I don't even use dryer sheets, because I've had them leave greasy stains on fabric. (Similar to what I'm experiencing now, but not identical, and the stains were all over the fabric, not just in isolated spots.)

I agree that it seems likely it's not the irons, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it could be! I've checked the ceiling, no damp spots or discoloration. My ironing board is brand-new, with a brand-new pad and cover. The stains happen most often with a lightweight satin I use for doll-sized eveningwear, but it's also happened with a knit jersey and a piece of silk, so it's not just that fabric. It doesn't seem to happen with cottons, but it could just be that it's being absorbed better, so it's not as visible.

I have new students starting soon, so I HAVE to solve this mystery! I can't risk their projects getting ruined.

ajaye
01-13-2017, 06:12 PM
This is an enthralling and baffling thread.

So it's not the iron or the board. Is it happening only on materials you have washed? Could anything in this mystery stains conversation (http://www.stain-removal-101.com/dryer-stains.html) maybe help or spark new thoughts? (A number of problems and culprits are discussed/discovered.)

Orianna2000
01-13-2017, 09:57 PM
I found stains on a piece of silk, which I'm pretty sure I never washed.

The stains appear as I'm ironing, and at first they smear a little, like they're still fresh and on the surface of the fabric, but then they sink in and dry. The way it behaves, it's like it's dripping from the iron. Which makes no sense, since I've been told that irons have no oil in them.

I may write that mystery stains website. I know it says they answer questions about removing stains, but perhaps they'll have some ideas for my problem.

Orianna2000
01-16-2017, 10:55 PM
Just a quick update. I now know conclusively that the stains are not coming from my ironing board. At the suggestion of someone at a sewing forum, I put a sheet of aluminum foil beneath a half-yard of satin I needed to iron. It still ended up with a couple of spots, which means they are coming from above, not below, the fabric. Either the iron is to blame, or else a mysterious invisible ceiling drip.

Also, I inserted a pipe cleaner into the steam holes of an unplugged iron, just to see if it would come out damp or stained. It didn't. Not sure if that proves anything or not, but at least I tried it.

harmonyisarine
01-24-2017, 06:24 AM
Can you video while you're ironing to see if you can capture the spots while they're happening? I have no idea if this will be possible or if it will help, but maybe someone will recognize something visually that's not clicking via words...

This sounds so frustrating. I wish I had suggestions. I have an iron I use for ironing off batiking wax and other messy things and this sounds similar to that but impossible since the iron hasn't touched any wax. If it's a dry iron can you carefully wrap the plate of the iron with foil and try to iron that way? (VERY carefully... one iron I did this with melted because I left the excess foil flap around the plastic part and the heat chimneyed up... the rest have been fine.)

Orianna2000
01-24-2017, 07:12 AM
I don't think I'm coordinated enough to hold a camera while ironing! LOL! Plus, sometimes it takes a long time for the stains to appear. When I did the aluminum foil experiment, I ironed the same piece of fabric for probably a half hour before it finally got stained.

Now, it occurred to me that I do, on occasion, press waxed thread. You pull the thread through a cake of beeswax, then fold it inside a scrap of muslin and press for about 12 seconds. This melts the wax, fusing it with the thread, so it doesn't knot or tangle while you're hand sewing. I don't do it often, because I don't hand sew frequently, so I didn't think of it before. But it can be eliminated as the cause, since we ruled out anything from the ironing board causing the issue, and because it happened with a brand-new iron that hadn't pressed any waxed thread yet.

My iron isn't a dry iron, it's a steam iron. I just don't use the steam function since I thought that was causing the stains. I am fairly sure the stains are originating from the steam holes, but I can't prove it.