It has taken me a long time to write this post because I was really embarrassed. I was duped by my local quilt shop. But not really local in the 'close' sense of the word - I had driven 40 minutes to get there and I was very excited because it was 'Local Quilt Shop Day.' While I was there, I bought a few items, including this product that looked really amazing - an instant hot iron cleaner.
I didn't look too closely at what was inside the bag at the time - my only poor excuse must be that I was distracted by the fabric. I should have looked closer.
Because when I got home and opened my package of 'Bo-Nash Iron Clean,' the sheets looked and smelled suspiciously like regular dryer sheets.
Then I started thinking about the lady at the LQS who checked me out. She seemed very knowledgeable (I mean, that's the main reason I go to a local shop - to get answers that I might not find online). Did she know that I was paying $5 for 10 dryer sheets when I could get 40 for $1.50 at Walmart? And what about the other ladies shopping there? Was anyone smirking at the silly girl getting duped? Needless to say, I haven't bothered to drive 40 minutes to that quilt shop again.
But to be totally fair, I did my own 'Mythbusters' style experimenting so I could report to you my findings. I went to the above mentioned big-box store and bought an inexpensive box of dryer sheets. I picked entirely based on smell (something I liked), and I didn't have the 'Bo-Nash' brand with me so I didn't try to get the same smell.
When I compared the sheets, they were folded differently but they were exactly the same size and both looked like a thin sheet of pressed fiberglass.
This is what my iron looked like before I tried cleaning it. The surface was smooth with some brown stains - probably from starch.
I heated the iron and following the Bo-Nash instructions I placed a paper towel under the sheet and rubbed my iron over them along the edge of my ironing board. Nothing happened, except that the sheet melted a little bit. Nothing came off of the iron.
I had the same result with the dryer sheet. And no change to the iron.
What I did next proves my love to you - my readers. I cut off a piece of HeatnBond fusible web (the kind I use for appliqué) and ironed the shiny side on purpose - eeek! I have ironed the wrong side of my appliqué pieces on accident many times, but never put that yucky residue on my iron like this.
After a few seconds I wiped my iron on one of the dryer sheets (let's be honest now, they are both dryer sheets) and the sticky residue came right off! Now, that is a product worth having around.
I tried it on both sheets and it worked the same. The sticky residue left light brownish stains on the paper towels, but the dryer sheets still looked pretty good - a bit melted but still clean.
Then I tried it by sticking my hot iron to the fusible side of some fusible interfacing - another one of my forehead-slap habits. The sheets easily cleaned that residue too.
So if you use fusible products for appliqué or interfacing, I totally recommend that you grab a box of dryer sheets the next time you are in the laundry isle. Place one sheet next to your ironing board and the rest in your laundry room.
Just a side note - for especially dire iron problems, I have used Dritz Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner with great results. I thought I'd let you know.
And if you are a fan of appliqué - check out all my free appliqué patterns on my free tutorial page!