How to Iron Clothing Without an Iron

Last updated on : April 05 2020

Girl in laundry room holding clothes for washing and ironing

Iron without an iron? Yes, it's possible! For those of you who are looking to avoid ironing at any cost or for anyone who needs to get clothing wrinkle-free without having an iron available, we've got you covered.

This list of ironing hacks and alternatives will ensure you're entirely ready for that date or job interview without getting hot and bothered. We'll cover some creative but effective techniques to get those wrinkles gone.

And…when the panic is over, and you're looking for a permanent fix to the problem, make sure you pick the most effective and time-saving solution for the job. The steam output makes ALL the difference, so check out these clothing irons for the ultimate performers.

Washing and Dry Clothing Correctly

If you wash and dry clothing correctly, you can drastically reduce the amount of ironing you need to do, if not get around it completely.

By not overloading your washer and setting the spin cycle to a less powerful spin cycle, you won't work wrinkles into the garment. When the wash cycle completes, shake out the clothing to release any deep creases.

Next, hang the garment to dry as straight as possible, then let gravity do the rest as it dries. Allowing shirts to dry on a hanger will mean less ironing is needed.

If you have a dryer, you may not need to iron at all. Again, make sure it is not overloaded. Three items in the dryer at a time, and when the cycle finishes, hang the clothing immediately. For things that are already dry and need to be 'ironed,' put them back in the dryer with a wet face cloth. The moisture from the damp cloth will work at releasing the wrinkles in the clothing.

Wrinkle Release Spray

Wrinkle release spray is a great trick to have up your un-ironed sleeve because it softens fabric fibers. This relaxing action releases wrinkles without the need to iron.

Hang the garment as straight as possible and spray the creased areas with the wrinkle release spray. You can pull gently on the fabric to help flatten the wrinkles out. Allow the garment to dry, and then it's ready to wear.

They even come in neat little travel-sized bottles so you can freshen up any creased clothes when you arrive at your destination. If you're under time pressure and need to make your own, a tablespoon of fabric softener or hair conditioner mixed with a cup of water will give you a very similar effect.

Permanent Press Fabrics

With this clever hack, science meets fashion with chemically treated materials that don't need ironing. Permanent press fabrics are the best investment if you work a job that requires you to wear a shirt every day, and they're not even that much more expensive compared to your average quality shirt. 

If ironing conjures up emotions of stress and dread for you, build a wardrobe that never needs to see the soleplate of an iron. Demin, wool, polyester blends, and stretch fabrics need very little to no ironing at all, and for those rare occasions where "ironing" is necessary, read on for the best alternatives.

Sleep on It

Yes, that's right; sleep on it. Place the item of clothing under your mattress before you go to bed. You can place it between a towel to ensure it doesn't shift, and in the morning, you'll have a perfectly pressed piece of clothing.

This solution may seem like a stretch, but it works. It's also an excellent alternative for those times when the power goes out.

Use a Hairdryer or Hair Straightener

Hairdryers and hair straighteners make highly effective ironing alternatives. A hairdryer used in conjunction with wrinkle release spray will give you even better and faster results. Simply spray the garment with the mixture (plain water will also do) and then apply the heat from the dryer to the fabric.

A hair straightener is a perfect thing for collars, cuffs, hems, and edges of garments. It gets the job done because you're applying heat from both sides. Its only limit is reaching the inner parts of larger flat areas. Here, you may need to fold the fabric in half and just avoid ironing in a crease.

Be sure to set the heat of the straightener to low or medium to avoid scorching fabrics. It is safest to use it on cotton fabrics, which are less heat sensitive. For more delicate materials, you may want to put a protective layer (like a pillowcase or dishcloth) between the garment and the plates of the straightener.

Garment Steamer

For those looking for a permanent alternative to iron, you'll love the ease of a garment steamer. Steam is the magic ingredient when it comes to fighting wrinkles, and these hand-held appliances are perfect for steaming out creases when needed.

Clothing can be washed, dried, and hung in the cupboard. You can steam a batch at a time, or single pieces as you need it without the time-consuming setup of an iron and ironing board. Another benefit of a garment steamer over ironing is that you don't risk scorching or burning clothes.

Additionally, steam is an effective sanitizer and odor remover. If you don't have the time to put the clothing through the laundry daily, you can steam a shirt or blouse to ensure it has no body odor, and wear it a second time. The steam is hot at a temperature of 212°F, and this effectively kills 99% of germs and bacteria.

Steamers won't give you that crisp finish that you get from a steam iron, but it's the next best thing.

Roll Pack Instead of Folding

We often create wrinkles and creases by the way we pack away our clothing. Avoid this by rolling and hanging garments instead of folding them. This technique works for t-shirts too.

When traveling, roll packing your clothes is the best way to ensure your clothes look neat on your arrival. The best technique is to layer garments flat on top of each other and then roll them all together. This method will reduce fine lines and creases. Remove them from your travel bag when you arrive and hang them up to ensure you don't have to spend anything extra on hotel laundry services.

Pants Press or Heavy Household Items

A pants press is another, more long term solution for men who suit-up daily for the office. It is a huge time-saver that keeps you looking polished and professional, but with minimal effort.

Trousers don't go through the laundry every day, but then do pick up wrinkles behind the knees and should ideally get some attention.

Provide this attention with a pants press (or an upside-down coffee table and heavy coffee table book). 

When you get home, place your pants into the press, close it, and turn it on. It's this simple. In the morning, you'll have the perfect pair of trousers to wear. The machines are a slightly pricey investment, but for the time and money you'll save on dry cleaning, they're worth every penny.

Steam it Straight

Steaming is not the most effective solution and may take a little more time and care, but the more steam you have, the faster it works. You can use a pot of boiling water, steam from a kettle or steam from a bathroom shower.

Hold the wrinkled fabric over the steam vapor and stretch it out gently as you move the material around. The heat and moisture will release the wrinkles. If the garment feels a bit damp after treating it, allow it to dry and cool before putting it on.

Leaving the garment to hang near a hot shower head is not enough. You will need to position the garment over the steam. If you're using a pot of boiling water, you can also apply the base of the pan to the clothing. Just lay a protective barrier between the garment and the hot metal to avoid scorching or marking the clothing.

Professional Laundry Services

A laundry service can be somewhat costly, but if your time is money, then it'll be worth the convenience of having it done for you.

The turnaround may take a day or two, so you'll need to stock up on a few extra shirts, but worn or wrinkled shirts will be cleaned, pressed and ready to wear without you having to think of ironing.

Conclusion

Although all the above tips have been tried and tested, there is still no better tool for ironing clothing than a modern steam iron.

The ironing industry now uses cutting-edge technology; in fact, ironing equipment has advanced in recent years to make the process as painless and efficient as possible.

Steam irons for home use now have the power and steam output that equals that of professional services. If you have given up on ironing because of poorly performing appliances, rest assured there are new and improved machines that halve your ironing time and make it, dare I say fun.

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