If the claims of a British company are to be believed, however, it’s a question that won’t be asked for much longer.
For the firm has invented a device – called the SteamRail – that apparently banishes the need to iron at all, wiping out the wrinkles and creases on up to 35 garments in just nine minutes.
The system effectively pumps steam into a cabinet, where the heat and moisture leaves clothes smooth, smart and ready to wear.
And the makers, Displaysense, say that because the SteamRail folds flat it can easily be stored under a bed.
Despite the wealth of labour-saving inventions that grace our homes, ironing has remained relatively untouched by technology.
It is an oversight keenly felt by generations raised with washing machines and tumble dryers, which have long replaced the tub, washboard and wringer.
Research for Displaysense – which is better known for supplying mannequins and other accessories to high street stores – suggests families spend an average of 160 hours a year pressing their clothes, adding up to around a year-and-a-half over a lifetime.
As a result, ironing is considered one of the worst three chores alongside cleaning the bathroom and de-greasing the oven.
Company spokesman Jim Moody said: ‘This product is the first of its kind.
We’ve spent a long time in development so that it works as efficiently as possible for the customer, meaning that less time needs to be spent with the iron, meaning more leisure time for ourselves.’
The SteamRail costs £234, comparable with hi-tech steam iron systems, which cost up to £280.
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