Terrible Tuesday: Duped by a product at my Quilt Shop

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!

Happy sewing!

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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  1. I bought the Bo-Nash sheets a few years ago and recently read about the dryer sheets. Tried the dryer sheets and they worked just fine. No more Bo-Nash for me!

  2. Wow! Learn something new everyday. I am always getting sticky stuff on my iron. Thanks for this fabulous tip and for keeping me from wasting money on overpriced dryer sheets. I use unscented dryer sheets in my laundry, so I’ll grab one to use next to my iron next time I sew.

  3. It’s a mystery to me but those dryer sheets do work!

  4. I think the sheets work even better when used than new. I always save my used dryer sheets for iron cleaning. Double duty.

  5. I am all about doing things yourself and finding a cheaper and more efficient way of doing something. Hell, I make my own yogurt because I refuse to spend a $1 on 6 oz of rotten milk! I just wanted to point out something…to be fair to the quilt shop owners, I am sure their intention was not to dupe you. We sell lots of things that we know have simpler and cheaper options. There are many reasons someone may choose to carry something in their store. Maybe the sales rep recommended it. Maybe there was a special on this item when the buyer got other Bonash products and the buyer thought ‘why not?’, it’s not like you know what is in the package when you order it. Once you have it, your choice is to sell it or take a loss on it. Maybe they sell it because people request those items or they are popular sellers. Think about how much $$ most people spend on spray starch when it is very easy and cheap to make your own. Does that mean we shouldn’t sell Best Press? As shop owners, one wants to make the customer happy AND sell items. She may not have ever used that particular item and even if she did, if people will buy a thing, why not sell it? I don’t think it is fair to punish the shop owner for anything other than bad service.

    1. I agree and if I were the shop owner, I would appreciate the input, if given in a kind manner!

  6. Linzel McBride says:

    Thanks. I SO appreciate your effort and scientific approach. I use dryer sheets in every room in my house. 🙂

  7. Karen Chagnon says:

    I also ironed the wrong side of fusible fleece, panicked and grabbed the first thing at hand, a scrap of fleece and it worked like magic! The other day I accidentally ironed over the non-cotton web strap and it melted. I had black smear all over my iron, tried the fleece again and it worked. I don’t know why it is that it works but it does. I will also keep the dryer sheet trick in mind as my laundry supply cabinet is close to my ironing area!

  8. Janis Patten says:

    Many thanks for the iron cleaning tip. I was using my little tiny mini iron which became badly stained. I ordered a new tip, but also bought some good Faultless iron cleaner. With a lot of rubbing I got the goopy tip cleaned, but next time I will use a dryer sheet which is now sitting next to the iron. Really appreciate the help.

  9. SusanAnn Sheidy says:

    Been there, done that, won’t do it again!

  10. Thanks for the tips. To get the brown stains off the iron, when it is cool I just ran a mr. clean magic eraser quickly over the iron, and the stains came off in a second. My iron is sparkling, and no problems with any ‘gunk’ from other tube type cleaners going into the steam holes in the bottom of the iron.

  11. Marjory W says:

    I’m glad I at least used a 40% off coupon at JoAnn Fabrics when I bought my Bo-Nash sheets. Never again!

  12. Carol Ann Cruts says:

    I am now in my Christmas Present sewing frenzy and two weekends ago started searching for something to clean the bottom of my Teflon coated iron. Now let me preface that the buildup on my iron was most likely several years old, shame on me. I tried everything I read about with no luck. It seems that the residue would only come off when ironing my projects, but isn’t that always the case. Long story short after using every household chemical I could find, my last attempt was good old nail polish remover, yes Ladies, Acetone finally did the trick! Unfortunately now I need a manicure, but at least my iron is clean. Morel of the story, only wine and cheese improves with age, remove the melted on gunk from the bottom of your iron as soon as it happens.
    Much happiness to all of you!

  13. I’m bad. I buy a new iron. No kidding. When Walmart has the steam irons for $6 I buy five or six at a time. I use my expensive iron for fabric, no gluing, fusibles, etc.

  14. As a previous owner of a business that sold sewing notions (as well as fabric and sewing machines) I must admit I took a bit of offense at the title and beginning lines of your article. If you had purchased that product at a "big box store" would you have approached the article the same way? I’m sorry that you purchased an inferior product, perhaps there is an address or telephone # on the package for customer service.

    1. I’m sorry, I did not mean to cause offense. As you said, I would expect a big box store to sell any product, no matter the quality. They are only in business to make money. I have met many quilt shop owners and always felt that they exhibited love for the art of quiltmaking and a desire to provide the very best. I’m sure you did too.

      Thanks for sharing your point of view!

  15. Just now came across this and I will admit I feel the same way about Mary Ellen’s Best Press. It’s marketed as a "starch alternative" but IT IS STARCH. I tracked down the MSDS (material safety data sheet) and it is classified as being in the "starch family". They simply clarified the starch, added perfumes and a surfactant that helps the fabric absorb it quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used Best Press and I like it, and if other quilters prefer it over Sta-Flo or Niagra, fine by me. But I think a lot of quilters get misled by the labeling and pay a premium.

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