6 ways to iron your clothes without an iron

No iron? No problem.

How to iron your clothes without an iron Credit: Getty Images / David Montgomery

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There's nothing more embarrassing than arriving at work in a wrinkled shirt or dress. We've all been there. I know I have.

Maybe you're on a business trip, and your carry-on was not kind to your blazer. Or the iron in your hotel room is broken, or you’re afraid of it because you don't know how to iron. (Hey! No judging.) Or maybe you’re at home, but you don’t actually own an iron and need a DIY solution.

Every now and then, we all need a quick wrinkle release before heading out the door. Of course garment steamers are on the list, but there are other options. Here are six easy ways to smooth out any wrinkle, large or small.

1. Use a flat iron

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Before you style your hair, heat up the flat iron, and use it to flatten the wrinkles out of your shirt. It's especially effective on the collar, cuffs, and placket (the part with the buttonholes.)

Honestly, I’m in love with my flat iron, especially since I discovered that it’s good for more than styling my frizzy red hair. That cotton blouse I wore to the office yesterday? The collar and cuffs got the flat iron treatment before I left the house. One tidbit I picked up from Glamour— use a damp cloth to wipe off any product before heating up the flat iron.

2. Use a hairdryer

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Your hair dryer can blow the wrinkles out of your clothes. A shot of cold air will set the smooth look when you're done.

Here's another beauty tool that will blow wrinkles out of clothes—a hair dryer. Yes, you can give your clothes as good a blowout as you give your hair. The Hair Romance site has details on how to iron clothes with your hairdryer. It works pretty well. When I pulled my knit dress out of the closet this morning, it had those dents wire hangers can leave in the shoulders. All I had to do was drape it over the shower curtain rod, (or lay it out flat), and aim the stream of air at the shoulder area from about two inches away.

3. Spray wrinkles away

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Don't like to iron? Use a spray to remove wrinkles.

For those of us who don’t discover our wrinkled clothing until we get where we're going, Downy offers its Wrinkle Releaser spray, and there are several other brands available. All you need to do is spritz the problem areas with the wrinkle spray, and let them dry. The current version of the spray gets rid of static and odors along with wrinkles. If you travel a lot, it’s a good idea to keep a travel-size bottle of Wrinkle Release spray in your suitcase.

But if you don’t have a bottle of Wrinkle Releaser handy, a clean spray bottle filled with water is another way to smooth out wrinkles. Lifehacker says to mist the wrinkled areas, being careful not to get the fabric too wet. Then, hang up the garments and let them air dry. Wrinkle removal doesn't get much simpler, but it’s not your best bet if you’re in a hurry, unless you’re willing to wear damp clothes.

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4. Hang clothes in a steamy shower

Steamy Shower
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Steam from the shower will help remove wrinkles from your clothes.

The shower is your first line of wrinkle attack when you hit the conference hotel. When I travel on business, I don’t even look for the iron unless this trick fails me. If your hotel room lacks an iron, you can ask for one at the front desk, or you can just hang your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom while you shower. The hot steam that engulfs the room helps your clothes release any stubborn wrinkles while it clears your sinuses. If the clothes feel damp afterwards, and they will, let them hang in the closet with the door open, until they dry.

5. Use your dryer to create a little steam

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You can steam the wrinkles out of your clothes in the dryer. Newer dryers often have a steam cycle you can use.

The steam setting on the dryer starts an outfit out right in the morning. It launches a burst of steam, and as it tosses, the dryer quickly removes the wrinkles from the clothes. This works best on small loads, and it doesn’t give clothes that crisp, straight from the cleaners look, but it smooths everything out acceptably.

Ice Cubes
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If your dryer doesn't steam, create your own by tossing ice cubes or a wet sock in with your clothes.

If your dryer doesn’t have a steam cycle, you can still use it as a wrinkle remover. Toss the wrinkled clothes and a couple of ice cubes into the dryer, and run it on high heat for a few minutes. The ice melts, turning into steam, which then releases the wrinkles from your clothes.

If you don’t have any ice in your freezer, Reader’s Digest claims that throwing a wet sock in the dryer with the clothes works just as well. I’d make sure to match the color of the sock to the color of the clothes, to prevent any lint or color transfer.

6. Get a good clothes steamer

A clothes steamer is the most efficient way to unwrinkle and freshen clothes. I love my steamer because it’s easier to use than any iron, works on all kinds of clothing, and heats up very quickly. Avoid burns—keep your hands out of the steam.

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Yes, it's pricey, but if you had the Miele FashionMaster, ironing your clothes could actually be fun. Since you might not want to make the investment, try alternative wrinkle removers.

All of these methods help get clothes wrinkle-free in a pinch, but there’s nothing like freshly ironed clothes to inspire confidence. I once fell in unrequited love with the Miele FashionMaster, a $2000 ironing system I tested here at Reviewed. That was the only time in my life I actually enjoyed ironing.

Since there was no chance I’d actually get to take it home, I use the alternatives, and they work pretty well. Still, when you're adulting, you need to own an iron and an ironing board. And for best results, you actually have to use them.

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