7 Easy Ways to Remove Wrinkles From Clothes—Without an Iron
No iron? No problem. Try these hacks for removing wrinkles from clothing in a pinch.
There’s no faster way to commit a fashion faux pas than going to an event, work, or (yikes) a job interview in a wrinkled outfit. But while wrinkles are an annoyance, ironing is such a chore. You have to get out one of those giant ironing boards, make sure you use the right setting, let it heat up—and that’s all before you even go to town on your clothes.
Luckily, you don’t really need an iron to remove wrinkles from clothes. In fact, there are lots of clothing care hacks that require far less effort and time. It won’t even require a trip to the dry cleaner or for you to spend much, if any, money.
However, the easiest way to get rid of wrinkles is to prevent them in the first place. After all, clothing doesn’t just wrinkle on its own. Leaving your hot clothing in the dryer longer than necessary and letting it cool in a pile guarantees a wrinkled mess. So be sure to remove clothing from the dryer when it’s still warm, then fold or properly store items on a hanger as soon as possible to avoid wrinkles.
No matter what you do, exercise all of these hacks with caution and read the label on your garment first.
For items like shirts and pants that are wrinkled all over (as opposed to small areas, such as collars), putting them back in the dryer will get the job done. This trick works best for cotton clothing, but can work for cotton blends as well.
Place the garment in the dryer, preferably with a damp, but not soaking wet, towel. This will create steam and release the wrinkles. A washcloth can also work, especially if you are trying to remove wrinkles from just one small item. Put the dryer on a high setting for five to 10 minutes. Remove the item as soon as the cycle is finished or it will wrinkle again. Then either wear it or put it on a hanger.
Hair dryers can work miracles on wrinkles, especially if you’re traveling and have limited options. Put the wrinkled item on a hanger, then wet the wrinkled areas with a little bit of water. Bottled water is best because tap water can have minerals that can potentially cause staining.
Turn on the hair dryer and focus the heat on the sections of the garment that are most wrinkled. You can also hand smooth, if needed. Just make sure that you don’t hold the dryer too close to your clothing and risk burning the fabric.
The flat iron you use on your hair makes a great ersatz clothing iron—and even works better on smaller areas like collars or those tiny spaces between buttons.
Before turning the flat iron on, it’s important to make sure the plates are clean and free of any product that can stain your clothing. Even if the plates don’t appear dirty, clean them off with rubbing alcohol before doing anything else. Then make sure you are using the proper settings: For delicates and silk, use a low temperature; for sweaters and thicker fabrics, a warmer temperature will work best.
About to get ready and realize your outfit is wrinkled? Multitask and steam out the wrinkles in your clothing while you take a shower. Put the garment on a hanger, and hang it in the back of your shower. Then turn the water on (the hotter the better), but be careful not to splash or get soap on your clothes.
If water spots on the fabric are a real concern, you can always keep the hanger on a towel rack or hook outside of the shower. If this is the case, turn up your shower all the way and let the room get steamy. Then leave the water on for approximately 10 minutes, and when you come back, the outfit will be ready to wear. Keep in mind that this isn’t the most environmentally friendly method of steaming out your clothing, so try not to keep the hot water running for too long. And don’t forget to shut the door and windows.
A hot pot or teakettle isn’t quite as good as an iron, but it can be close enough. Boil a medium-sized pot of water. Once the water starts to get really steamy, spill it out. Then quickly “iron” the garment with the bottom of the pot on a table or another hard surface. This method is best for cotton, wool, and linen. Don’t put a hot pot on clothing that has plastic embellishments or is made from vinyl because it could cause melting. And be careful when handling the hot pot, of course.
Commercial wrinkle remover spray is the easiest way to get rid of wrinkles in a pinch if you don’t have an iron on hand or don’t have time to use one. Tom & Sherri’s Iron In A Bottle ($12; amazon.com) comes in a convenient travel size. Just spray on the wrinkled garment, then shake it out vigorously, and be wowed at the magic that just happened. This plant-based product has a clean scent, so it’s also useful for freshening up fabrics.
Don’t have any wrinkle remover spray on hand? You probably have all of the ingredients you need to make your own. Combine one cup of water (preferably distilled, just boil some if you don’t have any lying around or simply use bottled water) and 1 teaspoon of liquid fabric softener. It’s also a good idea to add 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to help the liquid evaporate more quickly. Shake it all up in an empty spray bottle and then apply.
If you don’t have fabric softener on hand but you have a little extra time for the garment to dry, you can use one part white vinegar to three parts water. Combine in a spray bottle, apply it to your clothing, and then let it dry. The wrinkles should disappear. If you don’t want to smell like vinegar, add a drop of your favorite essential oil (citrus scents are ideal for this purpose) to cut the odor. But don’t add too much oil because it can cause staining.