Laundry and more specifically, ironing, is not a well-loved activity. Traditionally, it takes too much time and in large families, it’s a seemingly never-ending bother. Most partakers would agree that ironing it’s a task that we’re happy to leave to the very last minute.
But what if a little shift in perspective made it a lot less tiresome?
We get that there’s no getting around it because let’s face it, wrinkled and crushed clothing gives the impression that you slept in your clothes, or worse, that you’re wearing items straight out of the laundry basket. These are two looks that are near impossible to pull off, especially at a job interview or when making a good first impression.
Before modern technology transformation the steam iron into the light, efficient machine it is today, it took many hours of hot, back-breaking work to get garments perfectly pressed. Early models of the iron were even called ‘Sad Irons’ because they were so difficult (and sad), to work with.
Here are 18 tried and tested ironing hacks to get your clothes wrinkle-free… fast.
1. More Steam for Faster Results
Put the steam setting on max or better yet, buy yourself an iron with superior steam production. This speeds up the process as steam softens creases and relaxes fibers in the fabric much faster than dry ironing. Our favorite steam legend is the Rowenta Steamforce, check out how it performs compared to the runners up in our best steam iron review.
2. Pick a Higher Voltage Appliance
Choose an iron with a higher steam release ( higher voltage makes a big difference) and a larger soleplate. This helps you cover a larger surface in one sweep and gets the job done much faster.
3. Use an Ironing Cloth to Avoid Shine or Burn Marks
Place an ironing cloth (a damp dishcloth will do) over seams to avoid them scorching and getting that “shine”. The “shine” makes clothing look old and is more obvious on darker colored garments. It’s worked for professional tailors and seamstresses for decades and will add a few years to your garment.
4. Iron Out Bacteria and Germs
Fact: Steam ironing kills bacteria in your clothing. If you’re not in the habit of ironing your gym gear, it may be worth changing your mind as polyester fabrics have a higher concentration of bacteria and odor than cotton fabrics. Not all bacteria is killed in the washing and drying process. By steam ironing your clothes, you are sure to eliminate any unwanted organisms.
5. Iron Clothes Inside Out
This tip will also help avoid shine on your clothing. It’s a helpful way to get your clothing wrinkle-free if they have a print on the that you don’t want to iron over. Bu turning the garment inside out, you can easily iron all areas without having to work around delicate details.
6. Iron Garments While Damp
No need to wait until your clothing is 100% dry. If you’re using a dryer, start ironing while the clothing is still a little damp. This makes it much easier to remove creases. Clothing that is already dry makes it harder to remove wrinkles.
7. Use a Steam Generator Iron for Large Loads
Steam generator irons are designed to produce high pressured steam that penetrates the fabric harder and faster, wiping our creases in record time… and they come with large water tanks so they produce uninterrupted steam for more than an hour.
8. Iron Your Clothes to Warm Up
If winter has you chilled to the bone, ironing your clothes before you put them on will be like climbing back into your warm pajamas. Thicker fabrics like denim can take a while to warm up from wearing so this tip will ensure they are warm from the get-go. Some fabrics should cool slightly before putting them on or they will wrinkle when you put them on.
9. Don’t Get Bored
Watch TV while standing at the ironing board to keep your mind occupied. Boredom is the main reason for ironing being such a headache, so if you’re thinking about something else, the job will be done before you know it.
10. Iron Collars and Cuffs on the Inside
Always iron cuffs and collars on the inside first (The reverse side of what you see when wearing the shirt). Then turn it over and iron the front-facing side. This will prevent puckering which is when the fabric doesn’t lie flat and leaves bumpy ridges.
11. Iron to Relax
We know this is not for everyone, but believe it or not, there are people out there that love to iron. Ironing can be relaxing, and in the colder seasons, it’s a nice warm environment to relax and while using your time productively.
12. Use a Spoon to Protect Buttons
Use a spoon to protect buttons so you can get around them at lightning speed without damaging them. Place the spoon over the button to protect it from the full heat of the iron and then move your iron spoon. Because you don’t need to be as careful, the job will go that much faster.
13. Hair Dryers and Straighteners Make Great Iron Alternatives
If you don’t have an iron, a hairdryer or straightening irons make a good temporary solution. Dampen the piece of clothing slightly to speed up the process and run the dryer or straightener over the wrinkles until you’re happy. If you find yourself without an iron, we have a list of more ironing alternatives that will get you out of hot water.
14. Shake-out Your Clothing
To minimize wrinkles and the amount of ironing required, shake out your clothes when you take them out of the washer. Hang them up as straight as possible or put them in a dryer. This will mean less work when ironing.
15. Let Ironed Items Rest
Before putting the ironed piece of clothing on, hang it for 5 minutes and allow it to cool or it will re-wrinkle in minutes. While the fabric fibers are still warm, they can distort or easily re-crease, once they’ve cooled, the garment will hold its shape for much longer.
16. Start with Delicate Clothing
Irons heat up as you go, so handle more delicate items first and work your way up to the thicker, more wrinkled fabrics that require more heat.
17. Vertical Steam Delicate Items
Most steam irons have this feature built-in so you don’t have to risk burning delicate fabrics. Vertical steaming is a great way to freshen up an outfit without applying direct heat from the ironing plate. Run the steam iron parallel to the handing garment or drapes and let the steam relax any creases and remove odors.
18. Get a Mini Iron for Travel or the Occasional Shirt
Students, bachelors or travel addicts will love these small, yet effective, mini machines. If you only ever need to iron the occasional shirt, then there’s no need to invest in a large bulky iron that will only take up space.
They have dual voltage settings so you can use them anywhere in the world, plus you’ll save money on your hotel ironing service. Here is a list of our top travel irons that the TSA is happy to have either in your carry on or check-in luggage.
Learned a Hack or Two?
Most importantly, don’t wait for the ironing heap to grow out of control before tackling the task. Keep up with the demand by doing it once or twice a week depending on the amount of laundry you have.
A decent steam iron makes the task so much easier, and using the above hacks may even make it fun… okay, let’s not push it.