How to use charcoal iron effectively? (Explained)

Unlock the chamber from the top in order to add charcoal to the iron box or container as needed. Then, light the charcoal and close the chamber to allow it to heat up the surface. Next, use an iron board or lay a thick cotton sheet on a flat surface. Finally, place your garments and start ironing them.

Key Takeaways

  • The charcoal iron also referred to as a Sadiron or Flatiron, is a household appliance that has been used for many years to press clothes and remove wrinkles.
  • Instead of relying on electricity, these irons use charcoal to heat the metal surface.
  • Compared to modern-day irons charcoal irons are very durable and built to last for longer.
  • Charcoal Irons are heavy compared to electric irons

What is charcoal Iron?

Charcoal irons are an old invention that uses charcoal as a heating source, unlike contemporary irons that use electricity. It includes a wooden handle on its top that is fixed to a metal box with a flat base used as a heating surface.

Also, there are a few holes in the sides of this box so that smoke can escape and air can flow through, keeping the coal heated.

These types of clothes irons are typically made of iron metal, and they are bulky, and heavier compared to modern-day electric irons.

It is simply an old-fashioned type of iron that was once very popular but has since been replaced by modern electric irons.

Although charcoal irons are not as common as they once were, they are still used by some people because they offer a number of benefits.

For example, charcoal irons do not require electricity, which means they can be used even if there is a power outage.

How does charcoal iron work?

The charcoal is placed in a chamber inside a heavy metal box, i.e., the iron, and is lit to generate heat at a high temperature. The heat is then transferred to the cloth or fabric by passing through the metal box and its base.

The flat surface of the iron makes sure that the heat is distributed evenly and doesn’t damage the fabric.

Charcoal irons have been used for decades and are still popular because they get rid of wrinkles well.

They are also relatively inexpensive to purchase and operate.

How is the heat regulated in charcoal irons?

To reduce the temperature of the iron’s surface, you will need to remove a few heated charcoal blocks from the container.

Likewise, to increase the temperature, you will need to add extra charcoal blocks.

How to use a charcoal iron?

If you’re using a charcoal iron, it’s important to follow some basic steps to ensure optimal results.

First, you will need to have enough charcoal and a flat surface or an iron board.

You will need to place a cotton sheet on the surface before you start the ironing process.

Once you have the above requirements ready, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 1: Preheat the iron before use

This will help ensure even heat distribution and prevent the fabric from scorching.

Hence, open the latch and insert a few charcoal blocks.

Light the charcoal blocks and leave them for some time to heat up or burn.

Once the charcoal starts to heat up, the surface will start heating.

Step 2: Sort your garments

Sort your garments as per their types; for example, cotton and heavy items that need higher temperatures can be selected for the first pile.

Next come the lighter and more delicate garments, which should be ironed with low heat.

Step 3: Use a thick cotton sheet & iron it with care

Place a thick cotton sheet or a bedsheet over a flat surface, and then iron your garments.

Likewise, if you’re ironing delicate clothes, lay a sheet of cotton over them and then iron them.

This will help prevent them from getting any direct heat, which may damage the fabric.

Take care not to press too hard or move the iron too quickly, as this can also cause fabric damage.

Remove a few heated charcoal blocks when you move to the delicate garments.

Step 5: Let the iron cool

Once you are done ironing your garments, allow some time for the iron to cool down, and then remove the heated or burning charcoal lumps from the container.

Additionally, you can use hot charcoal for cooking.

Simply detach the iron box handle and place a vessel on top, then enjoy your favorite beverages.

Step 6: Clean the iron after each use

Residues left in the charcoal container after each use can cause problems down the road. So, clean it out thoroughly to avoid any issues.

Tips for using a charcoal iron safely

  • Always use a flat, heat-resistant surface to iron on.
  • Place your garments on the board or cotton sheet before you start pressing them to avoid burning them.
  • Make sure the charcoal is completely extinguished before you close the chamber after use.
  • Always wear protective gloves and glasses when operating the charcoal iron.
  • Do not leave the iron unattended, and keep it away from children.
  • Use a damp cloth or piece of cloth to clean the flat surface after every use.
  • Do not let the iron come in contact with any combustible material.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of charcoal iron?

Even though charcoal iron is an old invention, it still has a lot to offer in today’s world.

Here are some of the well-known advantages and disadvantages of using charcoal irons.


Advantages of using a charcoal iron for ironing your clothes include:


Charcoal irons do not require electricity as a source of power or to generate heat.

This simply means it will help you save on your energy bills.


With a charcoal iron, there’s no need to worry about plugging in or setting up a steam generator.

Simply light the charcoal and start ironing your garments one by one.


These types of irons are inexpensive compared to modern-day irons, and they also do not demand frequent servicing as they are built to last for a long time.


Charcoal irons are suitable for all fabric types; however, you need to be careful when dealing with delicate fabrics such as silk and wool.

Just place a cotton sheet over delicate garments before ironing at high temperatures.

Other Uses

Due to the bulky size and detachable handle, earlier it was also used for cooking recipes and beverages.

To use it as a stove, the vessels are placed on top after detaching its handle and heating charcoal beneath. 


Some of the common disadvantages of charcoal irons are listed below.


Charcoal irons take a lot of time to heat up and cool down.

So, if you are in a hurry, this is not the ideal option for you.


These irons are heavy and bulky compared to electric irons.

As a result, dealing with it can be difficult and challenging.

Non-Environment Friendly

The charcoal burning process releases smoke and carbon monoxide, which are considered harmful to the environment.

Dependency on coal

These irons are dependent on coal as a source of heat.

Therefore, if you run out of coal, the iron will be useless.

Also, coal is not as readily available as electricity.

Final Thoughts

Charcoal irons have been around for a very long time, and the fact is that these were once the only type of iron available.

They are still widely used in many parts of the world and are particularly popular in Asia.

A charcoal iron may not be as efficient as modern electric and steam irons, but it is still an effective tool for removing wrinkles from fabrics.

It’s common to see a charcoal iron at professional laundromats and ironing services.

So, if you are using a charcoal iron, it is important to remember that proper safety measures should always be taken when operating them.

Always wear gloves and glasses, and make sure the device is placed on a flat, heat-resistant surface.

Lastly, before closing the chamber, it’s important to make sure that the charcoal is completely out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a charcoal iron?

You can use a damp cloth or piece of cloth to clean the flat surface after every use. For a deeper clean, you can wipe down the inside chamber with a mild solution of water and detergent. You can also clean the chamber with a solution of half water and half vinegar.

What is a charcoal iron box?

The charcoal iron box has a hinged lid with air holes that keep the charcoal smoldering.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)