A clothes iron (also flatiron, smoothing iron, or simply iron) is a small appliance that, when heated, is used to press clothes to remove wrinkles and unwanted creases. Domestic irons generally range in operating temperature from between 121 °C (250 °F) to 182 °C (360 °F). It is named for the metal (iron) of which the device was historically made, and the use of it is generally called ironing, the final step in the process of laundering clothes.
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Ironing works by loosening the ties between the long chains of molecules that exist in polymer fiber materials. With the heat and the weight of the ironing plate, the fibers are stretched and the fabric maintains its new shape when cool. Some materials, such as cotton, require the use of water to loosen the intermolecular bonds.