I’m sorry to disappoint you if you thought the steam in this post was going to be something sexy. How sexy can an iron be? Still, this post is about steam, or, to be more accurate, the lack of it. If you’re a man reading this, you may think this story will be of no interest to you, but you may be wrong. Read on. The “Mr. Fix-it”s among you may be amused (or horrified).
This steam iron probably looks in fairly good shape, but for a long time, it hasn’t been as steamy as I would like it to be. Thirty years of well water have taken their toll and plugged the little steam outlets with mineral residue.
My husband is an excellent handyman, but he was busy with other things and I thought, “What could be so hard about taking an iron apart, scrubbing off the calcium and iron deposits and putting it back together again?”
I simply want to remove the bottom plate – the “iron” of the iron. I can see two screws holding the back of the housing on, so I take the tiny screwdriver that came with my sewing machine and unscrew them.
Hmm… only the back of the iron comes off but the main housing of the iron still hasn’t come undone.
Ahh! Two more screws inside, holding the main upper part to the bottom part. These are a bit different and have tiny washers, so I set them aside.
Hmm…the “iron” part of the iron isn’t coming away from the top part.
Ahh! Here’s another screw holding the tip of the iron housing on. Take that one off and what do we have?
Hmm…something is still holding the top to the bottom.
Ahh! Two MORE screws, hard to get at, are holding the back of the iron together, right near where all sorts of wires and little tubey things and scary electrical contraptions are squiggling around in a maze. I unscrew these, with difficulty. They are harder to undo and I have to bend the wiring back farther to get at them.
Hmm…I’m having a hard time with these screws and they’re way in there.
Ahh! Maybe I should be wearing my glasses…but I’m almost done.
Hmm…I hope I can remember which screws go where. A little heatwave of worry passes over me.
Ahh! I’ll just bend the top back far enough to see where the holes are plugged up and quickly clean it up.
Hmm… the holes don’t show at this level. There must be more to it. And where does the water go, and what are those little tubes for, and…?
Arrgghh! I blow a bit of lint out of the iron and admit defeat. Maybe I should just get it back together.
Hmm…Now where do all these screws belong?
Ahh! Here’s a space for two, another space for two more, and one for the front.
Hmm…I hope I didn’t bend back the wiring and the little tubey things too far and wreck something in the intricate works. I plug the iron in and hope I can do that little bit of ironing.
As I wait for the iron to heat up, another heatwave of worry passes over me, and my mind flashes back to my university days and the last time I tried repairing my iron (different iron, many years ago). This one had a frayed electrical cord that was looking unsafe. I had seen my dad wrap electrician’s tape around cords so I knew what to do. I made a few quick wraps around the frayed part of the cord and plugged in the iron, feeling very proud of myself. I didn’t know that you couldn’t just tape the double wires of the cord together.
Just like today, I waited for the iron to heat up. Seconds into the warmup process, a flash of flame blasted out of the electrical outlet and my newly repaired cord was flung about two feet away from the wall. The scariest part (did I tell you I’m afraid of electrical things?) was that a piece of the plug and a few inches of cord were still in the wall.
These are the thoughts going through my mind as I wait for my much more modern iron to heat up. Thankfully it didn’t blow up, but I’ve run out of steam, and I’ve made up my mind to go shopping for a new iron.