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8 Ways to Get Wrinkles Out of Your Clothes Without an Iron

Someone does laundry, someone is spraying a bottle of wrinkle release spray, and someone is steaming a shirt

Ever traveled for an important work meeting or special event, only to unpack the outfit you plan to wear and find it’s a wrinkled mess? Unfortunately, not all hotels or bed and breakfasts make irons available in their guest rooms. That doesn’t mean you can’t get those pesky wrinkles out, though.

Whether you’re attending a conference or meeting, or going on a job interview, you want to look your best, which doesn’t include wrinkled clothing. Ironing is, of course, the go-to solution. However, for those times when you don’t have an iron handy, or you just don’t feel like dragging out the board, there are some alternative ways to de-wrinkle your clothing.

Ironing Is Still King

The Mueller Professional Grade Steam Iron.

To be clear, there’s no de-wrinkling solution that tops using an actual iron. Your mom was right: You really do need one. Sure, it takes a few minutes to heat up and you probably have to set up an ironing board for the best results, but nothing looks better than a freshly pressed shirt or pair of slacks.

While the solutions below are certainly helpful in a pinch, none of them will achieve perfect results. An iron is also safer to use, especially on delicate fabrics, because it is specifically designed to be used on clothing. The combination of heat and steam from this appliance plus its unique shape will help you achieve the most professional-looking results.

This iron is a solid option to keep in your linen closet. It’s compact, features 1,500 watts of power, heats to its maximum temperature in less than a minute, and has a retractable cord.

That being said, there are times, such as when you’re traveling, that you might not have access to an iron. If you find yourself faced with this dilemma, let our handy list be your guide!

Throw Your Clothes in the Dryer

Someone pulls a shirt out of a laundry basket and a pile of wool laundry balls

Arguably, the easiest way to get wrinkles out of your clothes is to throw them in the dryer. The hot air and rotating movement of a dryer can be enough to coax wrinkles out of many clothes on their own. You can also toss in a couple of ice cubes or a wet washcloth to create steam in the dryer, which can help even more.

Be sure to throw these wool dryer balls in the dryer with your clothes. They naturally reduce wrinkles, static, and lint on clothing while it tumbles through the dryer. They’re also reusable for up to four years, making them more eco-friendly than disposable dryer sheets.

Use a Hair Straightener

Someone holds a gold hair straightener in their hand
HSI Professional

A hair straightener can work as a mini iron when you’re traveling and end up in a hotel or rental without an iron, dryer, or alternative way to get those creases out. It takes much longer to remove wrinkles than a regular iron and is trickier to use, but it’ll get the job done (eventually).

Any straightener will work, but if you’re on the market for a new one, this one from FURIDEN is our top pick for your hair (and it’ll work on your clothes, too, if necessary). It has a wide temperature range, which means it won’t singe your hair and can also work on many different fabrics without damaging them.

Before using a flat iron on your clothing, you’ll want it to be clean so it won’t leave any stains or product residue on your clothing. While it’s unplugged and completely cool, clean the plates with a damp cloth. Allow it to completely dry before plugging it back in and allowing it to heat up.

It’s also safest to start at the lowest heat setting when ironing a piece of clothing for the first time. You might need to run it over the wrinkled area several times for it to be effective. You might also have some trouble navigating odd angles, such as the underarm areas, but just be patient—you can get all those pesky wrinkles out with a bit of effort.

Use a Wrinkle-Release Spray

Three bottles of Downy wrinkle release spray and someone sprays a large bottle of it

Commercial wrinkle-release sprays work by dampening and softening fabric to remove wrinkles in just a few minutes. Just spray this on the wrinkled area, smooth out the fabric, and let it dry. These travel-sized bottles are perfect for traveling and come in a set of three so you can keep one at home and one at the office.

You can also make your own DIY wrinkle release spray by combining one cup of water with one teaspoon of fabric softener. Pour the contents into a spray bottle and shake until fully combined. Then, use it like you would with the commercial spray.

These sprays probably won’t get out deep-set wrinkles, but they’ll help improve the overall look of disheveled items you find in the laundry. They’re also ideal for bringing on trips when you don’t know if you’ll have access to an iron, hair dryer, or regular dryer. Plus, they make your clothes smell amazing when you’re finished.

Steam Your Clothes While You Shower

Clothes hang on a rack that hangs on the back of a door

If you realize your outfit is disheveled before you get ready for the day, use your shower to your advantage. Just hang your clothing on a rack or hook in the bathroom and let the steam from your shower relax those wrinkles.

Once again, this can really come in handy while you’re traveling because every accommodation has a shower. Just hang your clothes on the door handle or towel rack. If you want to use this tip at home, grab an accessory like this organizational rack, which hangs over the door and holds up to 35 pounds of clothing.

This method only works if there’s a lot of steam in your bathroom, so turn off the fan and close the door. It’s also a great time to shave your legs or use that deep conditioner that needs 10 minutes to set. When you get out of the shower, smooth your clothes to help release any remaining wrinkles.

It’s also important to note that this method won’t do much for deep-set wrinkles. It can help loosen minor ones, but larger creases are going to need direct heat from something like a hair straightener. If you’re showering anyway, though, it doesn’t hurt to take your clothes with you.

Use a Portable Steamer

Someone uses a portable steamer on a shirt

Following the same principle as shower steam, a portable steamer is faster and more efficient when it comes to tackling wrinkles. It sends concentrated steam directly into the fabric to release wrinkles quickly. These are particularly handy for anyone who travels a lot for work or pleasure.

This portable steamer heats up in 30 seconds and works for up to 15 minutes of steaming before it needs to be refilled. It even comes with attachments to remove lint and dust from garments. It’s also small enough to fit in any suitcase, so it’s perfect for business trips or vacations.

Be sure to hold your garment taut while you run the steamer across it. Give each area a full minute or two of steam to ensure that all the wrinkles are removed. If you move too quickly, the wrinkles will reform right away and you’ll have to start over.

Tip: Because water builds up in steamers and can cause sputtering when they’re first turned on, let yours run continuously for about a minute before using it on your clothing. This will allow those odd drops of water to fall on the floor instead of on your suit or dress.

Blast Damp Clothes with a Hair Dryer

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium foldable Travel Hair Dryer.
BaByliss Pro

The heat from a hair dryer can also come in handy for getting wrinkles out of your clothes. This is another method that’s great for those who are traveling and find themselves without an iron, as most hotels and rentals will have a hair dryer.

Just spritz the wrinkled areas of your clothes with some water, and then blast it with some heat from the hair dryer while you smooth it out. Because you’re just using water and don’t need to worry about residue on your clothes, you can repeat the process as many times as you need to.

If you don’t wanna depend on your accommodations to supply one, this travel hair dryer is affordable and highly rated. It has two heat and speed options and a foldable handle for compact packing.

When using this method, just be careful not to concentrate the dryer on one spot for too long or it might stretch out the fabric and make it look even worse than before.

Flatten Clothing with a Towel

Two large gray towels rolled up and one hanging over a table

If your clothes are wrinkled but you don’t need them until tomorrow, this trick can help. It works by essentially flattening wrinkles out of existence. Place the item of clothing on a flat surface, like a table or the floor, and then smooth it out completely. Lay a slightly damp towel on top so it completely covers the wrinkled area.

Next, gently roll up the clothing and towel. Do this slowly to ensure that no new creases are created. Once you have them rolled up like a burrito, place the roll under something heavy like a mattress. It sounds funny, but the pressure will gently stretch out the wrinkles in your clothes. After about an hour, unroll your clothes and let them dry.

These oversized towels should work with any item of clothing you’re trying to de-wrinkle.

Turn a Pot Into an Iron

A woman heating a saucepan on a stove.

This one’s a bit of a long shot, but hey, sometimes we’re desperate! If none of the tips above are possible, you can create a makeshift iron with a pot or pan. This can be especially useful if you’re staying in a rental or B&B that has a kitchen area with dishes.

First, wash the bottom of the pan thoroughly so you don’t get any food residue on your clothing. Next, just heat it over low heat for a few minutes, and then glide it directly across the wrinkled fabric just as you would an iron.

You might have to reheat the pan a few times during the process, but it’ll do the trick if none of the methods we mentioned above are available.

No one wants to be stuck wearing wrinkled clothes. You can’t always avoid creases, especially if you’re traveling and have to cram your things into a suitcase. Luckily, these alternatives will get rid of those pesky wrinkles, even when you don’t have access to an iron.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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