The Best Way To Clean the Bottom of an Iron

cleaning an iron
best way to clean an iron

It’s only a matter of time that your iron is going to accumulate a lot of gunk on the bottom plate.

In this post I’m going to show you the easiest way to get this stuff off your iron.

iron interfacing

You know those times when you’re applying fusible interfacing, wonder under, or heaven forbid you’ve melted a synthetic shirt or garment onto your iron.

You don’t want to get this gunk all over your quilting projects, your sewing projects, or an item of clothing.

There’s nothing more frustrating than finishing a nice, beautiful quilting block and you go to press it and you get a stain on it.

It’s really difficult to get these types of stains out.

So how do you get it off?

No worries. I’ve got you covered.
I’ve tried a bunch of different methods with all kinds of funky ingredients.


You can buy the name brand “Mr. Clean” or you can also a lot of generic magic eraser sponges.

Yes it’s that simple.

cleaning an iron

Let me just show you a close up of this iron.

I can only remember hitting the fusible interfacing a few times and I didn’t really think it made a mark at the time, but as the iron continues to heat up you’ll get these black brown marks on the iron and it also just eventually happens.

So, it’s good to clean it off so you’re not getting it on your projects.


The iron doesn’t have to be hot, in fact it’s better to clean it while it’s cold so you don’t burn your fingers from the steam.



You’ll be amazed how easy this stuff comes off!

Scrub the bottom and don’t forget the sides.

While your at it, use the eraser to clean up all the mineral deposits on the inside of iron station if you have one, like I do for this cordless model.


All you’ll need is some distilled vinegar and some distilled water.

1- If there’s water already in the reservoir, EMPTY IT OUT.

iron cleaning old towel

2- Place an old towel on the ironing board or ironing mat.


4- Pour the solution into the water reservoir of the iron.

Put the lid back on. (DO NOT OVERFILL).

iron steam setting

5- Turn on the iron and set on “STEAM SETTING”.

6- Let the iron heat up for 3-5 MINUTES.

7- Start pressing the towel using the steam button to create a lot of steam.

Sometimes you’ll see gunk and rusty colored liquid come out.
Have you ever had that colored liquid come out on your shirt or project? It is so frustrating!

8- Use the spray function several times to get that the spray nozzle cleaned out.

8- Use the spray function several times to get that the spray nozzle cleaned out.

This will de-mineralize the inside of the iron, which is a good thing. especially if you haven’t been using distilled water.

When you don’t have any more stuff coming out your iron you can stop.

iron steam holes


9- Take a look on the bottom of the iron.

After you clean out the inside, there may be some gunk around the steam holes, and that shows you that there’s, also some grime and gunk on the inside.

This can wear out your iron, and taking these preventative measures will help the iron last a lot longer and save you a lot of grief.

10-Use the magic eraser to clean around the steam holes.


1- Pour out the solution from the iron.

fillin iron with water

2- Fill the iron with DISTILLED WATER.

cleaned iron
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Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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Simple Fitted Sheet Hack / How To Mark Which Direction It Goes

fitted sheet hack

When it comes to making your bed, it can be so frustrating, especially when making a king-size bed, to know which direction a fitted sheet needs to go. In this post, I’m going to give you a simple fitted sheet hack and a secret that works like a charm.

fitted sheet hack arrow

What’s the fitted sheet hack secret?

Fitted sheets that you purchase from the store have a sewn-in tag in one of the corners. The corner with the tag always goes on the BOTTOM RIGHT side of your mattress or the TOP LEFT CORNER. Who would have known?

fitted sheet hack

How to Mark Your Fitted Sheet Another Way 

Once you’ve located which direction it goes, I recommend applying a big safety pin on the bottom or top side of the sheet. Then you can quickly see which side is which without spending time searching for the tag. The safety pin can be left on while laundering.

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

Here is a post that I found interesting. It has several good tips that I’m passing on. They stated that according to a recent survey by Mattress Advisor, the average person changes their sheets about every 24 days. That seems really discussing to me. But they go on to recommend changing your sheets weekly. That is what I do. How about you?

Check out the post here.


Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How To Take in Jeans at the Waist | Simple and Quick Hack

take in jeans at the waist

Jeans that don’t fit are so annoying! In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to take in a pair of jeans at the waist for a perfect and adjustable fit.

This is something you can do even if you don’t know how to sew.

This doesn’t apply to just a pair of jeans, you can do this with any pair of pants.

What I love about this method is that you can adjust it on those days when you might be a little bloated and need that extra room.

This is a quick and simple hack that I hope you find helpful. It really is a quick project. I filmed the whole process and you can watch the video below.

This method involves applying elastic inside the existing waistband to cinch up the waistband without adding a lot of bulk.

Materials & Items Needed

  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety pins (2)
  • Needle and thread
  • Elastic (3/4 inch/2cm – 1 inch/2.5 cm)
  • Sewing machine optional
  • Small button
  • Seam ripper (optional)


Measuring Waistband

  • Take the elastic and wrap it around your waist where the waistband of the pants is.
  • Mark the point where it fits snug.
  • Now subtract about 4 inches and cut the elastic. You may need to cut off more a little later.

Removing Labels

If your jeans have a label that is sewn along the waistband, like this Levis label, you will need to unpick a portion of the label so the elastic can slide through.

Simply take a seam ripper and unpick just the sides of the label where it’s blocking the waistband. (You’ll sew it back up later).

Cutting Elastic Slits in Jeans

To make the slits in the waistband where the elastic will be applied, take your seam ripper, and just outside the existing button, make a little slit.


Once you have started a little slit, take a pair of scissors and continue clipping very carefully until you have a slit that the elastic will fit through.

Do the same thing on the buttonhole side of the pants.

Inserting Elastic

Take a safety pin and apply it to one end.

Thread it through one of the slits and continue to feed the elastic through the casing until you reach the other slit.

take in jeans at the waist hem elasticSecuring Elastic End In Place

Fold the end of the elastic under ¼ inch and sew to the waistband using a sewing machine or needle and thread. (Sew through all layers using a straight stitch).


If you don’t have access to a sewing machine or a needle and thread, you can just apply two safety pins at the ends of the elastic on the inside of the waistband.

Would you like some great tips on how to sew simple stitches using a needle and thread? Check out this post?


take in jeans at the waist Finishing Elastic

Pull the elastic out the other end so there are about 8 inches of elastic exposed. Try on the pants and pull the elastic taut but not stretched. Mark this point with a pin to indicate the place where the pants are not cinched at all. Cut the elastic at this point.

take in jeans at waist hemming elasticFold the elastic end under ¼ inch and hem using the sewing machine or needle and thread.

take in jeans at waist buttonSewing On the Button

Apply a small button just outside the existing button on your pants. Double thread a needle and knot the end and then sew on the button.

take in jeans at the waist buttonholes Cutting Button Holes

Measure 2 inches from the end of elastic and mark with a pin. Mark two more places, each 2 inches apart.

Fold elastic in half lengthwise and make a little clip on the fold of elastic. Open the elastic and finish cutting a slit that will fit your button through.

take in jeans at waist buttonholesDo this for each mark until you have 3 button holes. (Be sure not to cut too close to the elastic edge or it may fray through).

Sewing Label Back On

If you unpicked a label from the waistband, re-sew the label. Using a corresponding color of thread, double thread a needle and sew the label back in place. I prefer to use a needle and thread. It’s quick and easy to do.

Take in Jeans at the Waist to Fit

Now you can adjust the waist to fit your current waist measurement. You know, there are days when you are a little bigger in the middle than others. Having this option to take in jeans at the waist and adjust the waistband in and out is a game-changer.

I hope you found this helpful!


If you have jeans that no longer fit, don’t throw them out just yet! Check out this post where you can get a few FUN ideas of what to do with UPCYCLED JEANS

Play Video




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More

How to Use Heat Transfer Paper | NO MIRROR IMAGE NEEDED

heat transfer paper no mirror image

Heat transfer paper is a great way to create custom t-shirts, garments, and one of my favorites, fabric labels.

It’s also incredibly easy to use. However, what if the PDF file, image, or text you’re trying to print needs to have a “mirror image” or “flipped image” and the printer you own DOES NOT HAVE THAT OPTION?

This tutorial will show you a simple workaround that allows you to create a heat transfer paper iron-on without the need to “mirror” the image!

Some of you may relate to the frustration that can be experienced when you go to print something out on heat transfer paper and, there is nothing in your printer queue stating “mirror image” or “flip image”. WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO?

I have a tutorial showing you how to make your own fabric labels and in the instructions, it tells you to “mirror the image” when printing. There are a lot of folks out there with printers that don’t have that option. Until now, I didn’t know of any way to get around it, other than to find another printer that does.

One of my followers shared with me a great solution, and I am so excited to tell you all about it! The SECRET is in the type of heat transfer paper you are using.

How does heat transfer paper work?

The process involves printing a design or photo onto a sheet of transfer paper. (You can use an inkjet or laser printer). Then you place the paper onto the shirt or fabric and apply heat and pressure using an iron. Pretty simple!

There are two types of heat transfer papers. One is for LIGHT COLOR fabrics and the other for DARK COLOR fabrics. You may be asking why this matters. Well, it does.

They both have different characteristics and methods of application and that is what is going to allow you to print without flipping the image. I’ll explain the differences below.


  • Is used mainly to apply on white or very light-colored fabrics
  • It has a very thin transparent film that is not visible if used on light color fabrics. You can see in the photo below what it would look like to apply light-colored transfer paper to dark fabric, not so great looking.
  • Is thin enough to result in a texture that feels like a screen print
  • When applying light-colored transfer paper, you place the paper face down on the fabric before ironing.
  • After the heat is applied and the paper cools, you remove the backing sheet
  • You’ll need to “mirror” the image before printing!


  • Is more opaque in order to prevent the color of the fabric from showing through the image
  • When applying dark colored transfer paper, you place the paper RIGHT SIDE FACING UP
  • Is thicker and can feel a bit like a sticker on the fabric
  • No “MIRRORING IMAGE” required!
  • Can be used on light-colored fabric as well as dark fabric
  • You peel off the backing sheet BEFORE IRONING onto the fabric
  • ***Any white areas of the print that you don’t want to show, like a border, you need to trim away before ironing!

In the photo above, the labels on the left were made with the dark transfer paper. The labels on the right were made with the light fabric transfer paper. 

As you can see, the ink on the labels on the left is much more crisp and darker. One of the benefits of using this type of transfer paper.

There is one more thing that you need to consider before buying heat transfer paper 

Will you be using an inkjet or laser printer?

There ARE specific papers for both types of printers and it does make a difference.

So, if you have an inkjet printer, you’ll need to get INKJET TRANSFER PAPER. If you have a laser printer, buy LASER TRANSFER PAPER. If you are not sure what type you have, google the model number and it will tell you.

Most printers will have laser or inkjet in the title of the printer.

Then choose a LIGHT or DARK FABRIC heat transfer paper. They have both types of printers.

Ok, now that we have that covered, let’s get back to the


Materials & Items Needed

*You can use white fabric with the DARK fabric transfer sheets.


  • For best results, you should always pre-wash and dry to preshrink your fabric (even if the label says “Preshrunk”) because if it shrinks later, the transfer will crack!.
  • Place a sheet of heat transfer paper to your printer paper tray
  • There is no need to adjust the PAPER TYPE setting on the printer, just use the regular paper setting.
  • Print out the image, PDF, or text just as you would a normal document. NO NEED TO MIRROR OR FLIP THE IMAGE.
  • WAIT 30 MINUTES BEFORE IRONING ONTO FABRIC, for the ink to dry completely
  • Place a cotton pillowcase, towel, or cloth onto a hard surface
  • Plug in the iron and empty all water from the iron.
  • Change the setting to NO STEAM!
  • When making cloth labels, I print and apply a whole sheet onto a piece of white cloth. (An upcycled white, cotton pillowcase works great). Then I trim them down to size.
  • If you are applying the transfer paper to a ribbon, or small piece of fabric, trim the paper to size before pressing.
  • Peel off the back paper. (No need to worry about it sticking to anything, it is not sticky).
  • Arrange the transfer sheet onto the t-shirt/fabric FACING UP, where you want it to be.
  • Place the PARCHMENT PAPER that comes with the package of paper, on top of the transfer. Make sure it is totally covered!
  • With firm pressure, apply the hot over the transfer for 15-20 seconds in each position (start in middle and work in circular fashion towards the outer edge to eliminate bubbles) until the entire transfer has been covered. Heat the entire surface again using a circular motion.
  • Allow parchment paper to cool before removing.
  • If making labels, cut the labels to size and apply them to your projects.

Heat Transfer Paper Washing Instructions

The transfers will feel a bit stiff when new. This feel will become softer after washing. Always turn the garment inside out and wash it in warm or cold water. Plain detergent is ok but do not use bleach or detergents containing whiteners, brighteners, bleaches, etc.

Remove from the washer immediately and tumble dry on low or air setting. If the garment needs ironing, don’t iron directly on the transfer; cover it with baking parchment.

There you have it. I hope you found this helpful.

Be sure to check out my tutorial on HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FABRIC LABELS. Adding a cute label to your sewing projects really adds a professional and charming look.


I would love to see some of the items you’ve made and the labels you’ve made. Feel free to tag some photos on my INSTAGRAM PAGE, #YOUMAKEITSIMPLE.

Some other posts you may be interested in:

How to Download and Print PDF Sewing Patterns | Step by Step Tutorial

How to Assemble and Organize PDF Sewing Patterns




How to Put On a Duvet Cover the Easy Way

Putting on a duvet cover can be so frustrating and exhausting, but it doesn’t’ have to be! I am going to show you how to put on a duvet cover THE EASY WAY!


It’s getting a little chilly where I live and so last week I switched from my lightweight duvet to my big fluffy down one.

This task used to require my husband’s assistance, BUT NOT ANYMORE!

I have learned a few ways to make this process a lot easier, and I thought while I was doing it I would film it to show you how it’s done.

I’m sure some of you have heard of the “burrito” method- where you roll up the duvet with the cover and then unroll it and voilà, the cover is magically on.

I find this method works like a charm if you have a lighter weight duvet, however, if you have a big fluffy one, it’s a little awkward.

The “grab and pull through method” works best for bulkier duvets.

I am going to show you both methods and hopefully one of them you’ll find helpful.

Grab and Pull Through Method

This is the method I like to use on bulkier duvets. If yours come with ties on the inner corners, this will help with the process, but if not, no big deal. (Mine doesn’t have them).

Turn the cover inside out and spread it over the top of the duvet, with the open end of the cover at the foot of the bed. This doesn’t have to be perfectly neat, just have it so you can see the corners of the cover.

(If you have ties, tie them around the corners of the duvet at this point. If not, proceed as follows). Reach your hand into the duvet cover through the bottom opening and grab the top right corner of the cover with your hand. No with that same hand, grab the top right corner of the duvet. Pull it out the bottom opening. Set that aside while you do the same thing to the top left corner.

Grab the bottom left corner of the duvet and place it in the bottom left corner of the cover. Hold both the cover and the duvet with your left hand while you pull the cover over the duvet. Do the same thing for the bottom right corner.

Now that the duvet is RIGHT SIDE OUT, and the cover is on, shake it out and smooth out the duvet. Zip or snap the bottom opening closed and you are good to go.

Now wasn’t that easy!


Place the duvet on top of your bed.

Turn the duvet cover inside out with the opening at the bottom and lay over the top of the duvet.

Starting at the head of the bed, roll both the duvet cover and comforter together toward the foot of the bed. (If you have a large bed, you may have to walk back and forth from side to side to get it to roll evenly-or you can crawl on the bed and roll it).

When you get the end, invert the duvet cover opening around the ends of both sides of the bundle (like you would do with a sandwich baggie).

Unroll the bundle in the opposite direction (back toward the head of the bed) and fluff in place.

Snap or zip the bottom of the duvet cover closed.



Isn’t this the coolest thing ever! No more struggle! I hope this was helpful. 




Watch some of my other YOUTUBE VIDEOS HERE




Picture of Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

Read More