A steam ironing board is a device that has a lid that also functions as an iron. The lid contains an electric iron which heats up. It is closed and locked into position over an article of clothing. The steam ironing board then releases steam and presses wrinkles out of the material of the garment inside of the iron. A safety feature of the steam ironing board is its automatic shut-off feature that turns the iron off after it has been closed for a predetermined time period.
Instead of running a hand-held iron over a garment in an attempt to remove any wrinkles, the lid on a steam ironing board can be closed, and the entire garment can be pressed at once. Once a garment has been placed onto the bottom board of the steam ironing board, the cover or lid can be closed, placing the ironing element on the garment. A predetermined amount of steam and heat presses the garment smooth and then automatically shuts off.
Some home models of steam ironing boards resemble a traditional ironing board. This type of ironing board has a much thicker cover and is designed to be used with a high-steam producing iron. This type of ironing board allows the steam to penetrate the garment without creating a moisture puddle underneath the garment. The trouble with using a steam iron on a traditional ironing board is that the steam penetrates the garment and has nowhere to go from there. Thus, the steam sits on the surface of the ironing board and creates a small pool of water that the garment is then forced to lay in.
Steam is an asset when ironing. The hot moisture penetrating the fibers of the materials being ironed allow them to be ironed flat. This removes the wrinkles that form in the washer and dryer from laundering the garment. The hot steam also aids applied starch to penetrate the fibers of the material and set up firm. This gives the firm and crisp lines to the garment that many people are after.
Often, the table is much wider on a steam ironing board than a traditional ironing board. This allows much easier ironing of towels, sheets and table cloths. Dresses and skirts are also more easily pressed with a wider board and the steam allows pleats to take shape and set much straighter than ironing without steam.