Those who love to iron are a rare breed. I suppose you could argue that there is something meditative about ironing clothes. But ironing a basket of laundry takes a very long time (at least it takes me a long time)! This is why I lean heavily on a few time-saving ironing hacks when I am faced with a pile of wrinkly clothes.
See below for my favorite ironing hacks and ironing alternatives that will save you time and keep you looking put together!
Time-Saving Ironing Hacks
Iron Clean Clothes Before They Dry
Deep wrinkles in clothing are absolutely going to make ironing take longer than it needs to. A simple ironing hack to combat this (without having to douse your wrinkled clothes with water first) is by ironing them within minutes of being hung to dry after washing.
When clothes are damp (not dripping), they are far easier to press! Take the clean clothes out of the wash and hang them immediately. Then get your ironing gear out and press them right away. This trick will get you better results in less time.
Speaking of stubborn wrinkles… another way to make sure you get a crisp finish is by using spray starch as you iron. You can purchase commercial brands or you can make your own spray starch (all you need is vodka or cornstarch)!
To use, just spray directly on your clothing then iron.
Use Your Dryer
This is a great ironing hack / alternative when you have a few wrinkled clothing items that could use a refresh. Spray the clothing with a little water – you want the clothes to be damp, not wet!
Then toss the damp clothes into your dryer for a quick heat dry (10-15 minutes or so). Keep an eye on the timer because once the dryer stops, you’ll want to hang the clothes immediately to make sure they don’t wrinkle on you again!
Of course, take note of cleaning labels on your clothes if you try this method. Some fabrics are not dryer safe and should be cared for accordingly.
Opt for a Steamer
If I am faced with a single item of wrinkled clothing, I opt for my small steamer instead of my iron. My clothes steamer fits easily in my bathroom drawer (it also travels really well!), which is conveniently located next to my closet.
The steamer heats up in less than a minute and can release wrinkles from almost any article of clothing. For single articles of clothing, the steamer saves time because there is zero setup required. I don’t need to fuss with a heavy iron or ironing board and I still get great wrinkle-free results!
Another alternative to an iron and ironing board is your flat iron. Yes, like the flat iron you use to straighten hair (a la one of my favorite scenes from The Hills in 2008 when Lauren Conrad used her straightener to iron her pencil skirt).
This works when you’re in a pinch and don’t have access to an iron and ironing board. It also works if you simply don’t have time to set up your iron and ironing board and have a small wrinkled spot to iron out. Just make sure you’re working with clean straightening plates – you can clean them using the same method used to clean a curling iron.
Don’t own a straightener? A blow dryer can also work as a traditional iron alternative. Sprinkle the wrinkled area of your clothing with some water (bonus points if you have a spray bottle handy).
Now direct the hot air from your hair dryer to the wrinkled fabric as you use your other hand to gently pull the fabric taught. Repeat as necessary until wrinkles start to relax.
If you have the foresight to relax wrinkles from your outfit before you take a shower, then you’re in luck. Find a hook or door handle to hang your clothing from inside of your bathroom as you take a hot shower.
The steam from your shower will help to relax any wrinkles from the clothing. For best results, use your hands to pull the fabric straight and help relax the fabric after you exit the shower while the bathroom is still steamy.
This is an old, popular trick – because it works!
Wrinkle Release Spray
Yet another alternative to a traditional iron is a bottle of wrinkle release spray. All you have to do is spray directly on your clothes then use your hands to help release any wrinkles from the fabric.
You can purchase a bottle of wrinkle release spray (I listed a few popular options here), or make your own mixing 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part distilled (or filtered) water in a clean spray bottle.
More Ironing Tips
If you have time to iron your clothes properly (as in with a traditional iron and ironing board), make sure to set yourself up for success by considering these general ironing tips.
Use a Quality Ironing Board or Ironing Surface
If you want a crisp finished product, then you’re going to want to make sure you’re working on a clean, even surface. Tears in ironing board fabric covers or uneven surfaces can actually cause wrinkles in the clothes you are trying to iron!
Invest in a good quality traditional ironing board, a space-saving miniature ironing board, or even an ironing mat that can be laid out on a clean table or on top of your dryer in lieu of a traditional board.
Start with a Clean Iron
Just like you want to be sure you’re working on a clean ironing board, you also want to make sure you’re using a clean iron! The last thing you want is a rusted iron staining your beloved work shirt or dress.
Keep your iron clean by wiping the ironing plate down regularly with a cleaning product. Make your own by mixing 1 part distilled white vinegar and 1 part distilled water in a spray bottle. Unplug your iron and allow it to cool completely. Spray the cleaning mixture on a cleaning cloth then use it to wipe your ironing plate clean.
Use a Spray Bottle, Not Your Iron
If you like to use the spray or mist setting on your iron as you press your clothes, consider trying a separate spray bottle instead. Fill a spray bottle with distilled water, then spray it directly on your clothes before ironing.
This is a good idea for folks who do not iron frequently. If you fill your iron with water, then let the water sit inside of your iron for a long period of time it can mold or even rust over time! Not to mention, using unfiltered water in an iron can cause mineral buildup on the surface of your ironing plate. My recommendation is to keep your iron dry and fill a spray bottle with water instead.