What’s the Best Way to Iron Pants?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Iron and ironing boardJames Baigrie
Q. Is there a best way to iron pants?
Lilly Garcia
Katy, Texas

A. Ironing often tops the list of most dreaded chores. However, if you follow a few easy tips, the task becomes much more manageable.

First, make sure your iron is set to the appropriate temperature for the fiber content you will be ironing. Most irons have a clearly marked heat dial or switch.

If you want to create a crease, turn the pants upside down and line up the inner and outer seams of the legs. Lay flat lengthwise with the inner leg facing upward. Glide the iron over the fabric, making sure not to linger in one spot. "Remaining in one spot for too long does not produce a nicer-looking garment and can lead to excessive shine and seam impressions and scorching," says Chris Allsbrooks, a textile analyst at the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute. After repeating on the other leg, slip the top of the pants over the narrowest part of the ironing board. Iron and steam the upper portions of the pants, including the waist area, the zipper, and the pocket areas.

If you don't want a crease in your pants, iron each leg by laying it flat on the board lengthwise―first the front side, then the back. Pressed for time? Try "ironing" your pants with your hands. Lay the pants across a flat surface, such as a counter or a bed (or, if it's readily available, an ironing board), then press the pants flat by firmly smoothing them with the open palm of your hand.

Watch How to Iron Pants for a demonstration of the best ironing technique.

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