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How High Should My Ironing Board Be?

Avoid Straining Your Back & Wrist

Pop art inspired girl ironing high up a mountain

Ironing is a household chore that, while often mundane, is quicker & easier with a decent steam iron & ironing board. It’s also important to set the ironing board height correctly. 

Setting the correct height significantly reduces back and wrist strain. Most of us simply open up the ironing board to the highest level. This may be about right for the average basketball player, but way too high for the rest of us. 

We need to know how to determine the right height for your ironing board and the benefits of correct height adjustment. Plus we’ve got a few tips for maintaining an ergonomic ironing position – no more sore back!

Why Ironing Board Height is Important

The height of your ironing board affects your posture and overall comfort. An ironing board set too low or too high can lead to unnecessary strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. Over time, this strain can cause discomfort and even long-term health issues. 

Setting the ironing board at the correct height promotes good posture, allowing you to iron comfortably.

Ergonomics and Ironing

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. When it comes to ironing, ergonomic principles state that the height of the ironing board should allow you to keep your back straight, your shoulders relaxed, and your elbows at a comfortable angle. 

According to experts, the ideal height for an ironing board is typically around your hip level or slightly below. This height allows you to apply the necessary pressure without bending over or reaching up, which can lead to fatigue and strain. Specifically, the ironing board should be about 91 to 97 cm (36 to 38 inches) high for most people, but personal comfort and body height should be the guiding factors.

Choosing the Right Height for Your Ironing Board

Here are a couple of ways to set the right height for your ironing board…

  1. Stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart & relax your shoulders
  2. Set the ironing board height to match your hip height

or if you require absolute precision…

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the iron flat to the ironing board (relaxed shoulders) with your elbow at 90 degrees – lower the board by 10cm.

Benefits of the Correct Ironing Board Height

Improved Posture: The correct height helps maintain a neutral spine position, preventing back pain.

Reduced Fatigue: Minimising the need to bend or reach reduces muscle fatigue, allowing you to iron longer (oh joy!) without discomfort.

Increased Efficiency: A comfortable ironing position enables smoother and more precise movements. Think ‘better results in less time’. 

Enhanced Safety: Proper height reduces the risk of accidents caused by awkward postures or slipping iron handles.

Tips for Setting Up Your Steam Iron & Board

Choose an Adjustable Ironing Board: Invest in an ironing board with adjustable height settings. Avoid fixed height models. 

Ensure Stability: A stable ironing board is essential for safety and ease of use. Make sure your ironing board has sturdy legs and a non-slip base.

Use a Padded Cover: A well-padded ironing board cover provides a smooth surface for ironing and reduces the pressure needed, making the task easier on your arms.

Consider Ironing Accessories: Accessories like sleeve boards and pressing cloths can make ironing more efficient and protect delicate fabrics.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Ignoring Personal Comfort: While general guidelines are helpful, personal comfort should be your primary consideration. If a height adjustment feels right, it probably is.

Overlooking Board Stability: An unstable ironing board can wobble or collapse, leading to accidents. Ensure your board is secure before use.

Neglecting Maintenance: Regularly check your ironing board for wear and tear. Replace covers and padding as needed to maintain a smooth ironing surface.

Consider tweaking the ironing board height for different garments

Shirts: When ironing shirts and blouses, try a slightly higher board to handle intricate details around collars and cuffs.

Trousers and Skirts: A slightly lower height is better for larger items, giving you greater leverage and control.

Linens and Curtains: When dealing with very large items such as tablecloths, curtains & quilts adjust the board to a middle height. This will allow you to manoeuvre large fabric pieces without excessive reaching.

Bottom Line

Whether you use a steam iron or steam generator iron, it’s super important to set your ironing board to the right height. Most of us iron on a board that’s way too high.

And while setting your ironing board to hip height may not transform the somewhat dull task of ironing, it will help you get it done quicker and with less strain on your back & wrist. 


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