How Do Dry Irons Work?

By: Annabel Love
9 minute read

Listen to article
Audio is generated by DropInBlog's AI and may have slight pronunciation nuances. Learn more

Ironing your clothes might seem like an outdated task these days to some people, but you can never go wrong with a crisp, smooth attire to start your day. 

It’s astounding to see just how well a simple appliance can transform your everyday clothes. But how does it hold that much power? Read on to learn how exactly dry irons work.

Attention: Use discount code "SHOP10" at checkout to save 10% on The Nori Press!

What Are Clothing Irons?

Clothing irons are small appliances that use high temperatures, typically between 250℉ to 360℉, to remove wrinkles and creases from clothes. 

To do this, irons loosen the ties between the molecular chains within the polymer fiber materials. Using the weight of the device and the heat, the iron straightens and stretches out the fibers. As a result, when the clothing cools, it takes on a new shape that is free of wrinkles and creases. 

These devices were created in the 1800s and were continuously used throughout the following centuries. Multiple variations came out of the original design, and today, we have many different types and styles of clothing irons.

The two most common types of irons today are steam irons and dry irons. There are several differences between these two devices. However, a major one is that steam irons come with a water tank while dry irons don’t. Another key difference is that dry irons rely on heat and pressure, whereas some steam irons don’t require as much direct contact with the material.

Determining which appliance to use depends on a lot of factors, such as what material you’re using and what look you’re going for. However, at the end of the day, both serve their intended purposes well. 

How Do Dry Irons Work?

While steam irons rely on steam to omit wrinkles, dry irons primarily use high temperatures and weight to smooth them out. When trying to understand how dry irons work, it’s important to recognize the ways that their features and structures work to aid the dewrinkling process.

Here, we highlight the key features of dry irons and how they make the magic happen.

Temperature Settings

Dry irons are simple to use and therefore come with very few but important features. One of the main features you’ll find are varied temperature settings. 

When ironing your clothes, it’s imperative that you apply the right amount of heat to your clothes. Some materials, such as wool and denim, require more heat because they’re thicker and hold stubborn wrinkles.

Meanwhile, other materials such as silk and satin require less because they’re thinner and more delicate. Since irons can go up to extremely hot temperatures, applying too much could result in scorching or other forms of damage to your clothing.

Many dry irons come with the basic heat settings that include low, medium, and hot. However, modern-day versions have come out with more detailed and specific heat settings. Rather than struggling to figure out which level is appropriate for each type of clothing, The Nori Press has six fabric-specific heat settings: Poly, Silk, Wool, Cotton, Denim, and Linen. 

This makes it easy for you to iron all your clothes quickly and efficiently. With this type of setting, you can transition from one item of clothing to another without needing to wait for your iron to cool down in between. Because of this, you also don’t have to iron your clothes in order from delicates to thicker fabrics. All you have to do is switch the setting, and you’re good to go.


Structure plays a huge role in the function of a dry iron, given that it relies on heat and pressure. Traditional clothing irons come with a longboard where the clothing sits as it's pressed over by the hot appliance. They were designed in a way that allowed them to be set down and propped up when not in use, which ensured that the hotplates don’t touch anything that could potentially be damaged. 

Modern irons, however, come in slightly different forms. For example, the Nori Press resembles the structure of a hair straightener, which allows for easier and quicker ironing. The clothing fits in between the two hot soleplates, which then apply pressure through the clamping mechanism. This structure allows for both sides of the clothing to be ironed simultaneously, rather than ironing one side after the other. 

The device is compact, which is a plus for when you’re traveling. But it also has elongated arms so you can reach across your garment while ironing, plus a pointed tip for other hard-to-reach areas. All of that in cumulation with one another makes for a highly effective, wrinkling removing device.


Soleplates are the parts of the iron that come in direct contact with the clothing and are therefore considered one of the most important parts of the device. 

Since the soleplates are responsible for applying the heat to the clothes that remove the wrinkles, it’s important to get a material that has good thermal conductivity. You want it to be hot enough for the iron to do its job but not so hot that you damage the material, which can be a tricky thing to balance.

There are a few different types of materials used for soleplates. Each one has its pros and cons; however, the one we recommend is aluminum. The Nori Press is made with two non-stick aluminum plates built for durability and easy use. The wonderful thing about this non-stick material is that it can reach a high enough temperature without the risk of scorching—something you’ll really appreciate when you’re in a rush to iron your clothes before work!

Additional Features And Designs

Some dry irons, especially the more modern ones, come with additional features that make them work much more efficiently than the standard style. 

One feature that has a lot of variation to it is the cord. Today, there is a growing popularity with cordless devices, as they allow for less restricted movement. With cordless irons, all you have to do is turn on the device, wait for it to heat up, and then you can move around as freely as you want. 

The downside to this is that these devices can only retain heat for a few minutes at a time. If that doesn’t suit your needs, another alternative is selecting an iron that has a very long cord. The Nori Press, for example, comes with an eight feet long power cord, so you can easily maneuver around your space without having to reheat the iron every few minutes. 

Another wonderful feature that a lot of irons nowadays have is immense versatility. That is, you can buy a steam iron that can also double as a dry iron! This is especially beneficial for those aiming to reduce the number of gadgets they own, especially if they’re living in a small place. 

The Nori Press has this ability, and its small, portable size makes it even better! Additionally, The Nori Press comes with built-in tilt sensors to ensure automatic shut off after ten minutes of no movement, so you no longer have to fret about whether or not you unplugged your device when you left your home! 

Tips For Easy Dewrinkling

The dry iron itself only does half of the work of removing wrinkles—the other half comes from you. One of the best tricks for creaseless clothes is using water. Adding moisture to your clothes just prior to ironing the aids in the process of getting those flawless-looking outfits of your dreams.

Materials such as cotton and wool are poor conductors of heat, so when you press a dry iron on them, the heat doesn’t get distributed evenly, resulting in a more wrinkled appearance. However, water is a great conductor of heat, so when sprayed onto clothing, the water molecules seep in between the fibers, so when you iron it, the heat is distributed more evenly. 

If you want to spruce it up a notch, we’d recommend spraying your clothes with our Facial Fabric prior to ironing. This solution has a subtle fragrance that is blended with a deodorizing technology to remove any unwanted odors. So not only do you get an improved ironing performance, but also a fresh scent on your newly de-wrinkled clothes. 


Keeping your iron clean ultimately helps your iron’s longevity and performance in the long run. Not cleaning your iron’s soleplate can result in a dirty and sticky surface, and consequently, snags and tears on your clothing. 

Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to clean the surface of your dry iron, which can help ensure that you get the most out of your product for years to come.

Happy Ironing

From the magic that unfolds behind the scenes of the iron to the simple steps that you can take, dry ironing has never been easier! With your trusty device, you’ll be rocking a wrinkle-free look all day and every day.

Dry irons have an amazing history and still help us achieve perfect clothing today. However, steam irons are also fantastic and a must-have. Ultimately, looking for a combination iron that can do heat and steam? It’s time for the wrinkles to meet their match.  


Attention: Use discount code "SHOP10" at checkout to save 10% on The Nori Press!

« Back to Blog