Growing up, every time my Nana came to visit, she would spend what seemed like hours ironing the giant heap of clothes our family had in a bin. I guess ironing all the clothes we didn’t get around to made her feel useful. She said she liked it, but maybe she was lying.
I do a lot of ironing for my job. All those seams need to be ironed after they’re sewn. That’s probably why I do my best to avoid any and all ironing beyond that! Plus, my semi industrial iron takes a while to heat up so it’s gotta really feel worth it (spoiler alert: it rarely does.)
So how do you keep the ironing to a minimum? I’ve got you!
- Don’t leave clothes in a hamper for long.
Learn from my mom’s mistakes The longer clothes are scrunched up in a heap, the more wrinkly they’ll get. If possible, don’t put your clean, easily wrinkled clothes in a hamper at all. Hang them on a drying rack or from a hanger to dry and transfer directly to your closet.
- Don’t over-wash your clothes. I wrote another article about clothing care a while back with more info on this, but here’s the main point: clothing should not be washed after every wear unless you’ve spilled coffee on it, had a child puke on it or run a marathon and gotten it all stinky. Washing your clothing actually degrades it slightly every time.
When it comes to wrinkles, your clothes get much more wrinkled from washing than it does from anything else. Instead of washing something that looks and smells clean, try this trick: spritz high tension areas like bunged out knees or elbows with a little water and hang to dry. This saves me from over-washing all the time and it really works! To ease even more wrinkles out, try a wrinkle release spray or make your own with 1 cup of water plus 1 tsp of liquid fabric softener. Another tip I give my custom bridal clients is to hang their dress near the shower while they have a hot shower. The steam helps smooth things out surprisingly well!
- Embrace the wrinkles! Ok, I know you can’t always embrace the wrinkles. Some clothes really do look frumpy and terrible when they’re wrinkled. That’s why you need to know your fabrics and if you’re someone who can’t handle the slightest crease, there are some fabrics you should avoid. Check this article I wrote to learn more about the properties of different fabrics, but as a general rule of thumb, most man-made fibres are harder to crease. Polyester is great for this. On the other hand, many natural fibres are very wrinkly. Linen has the worst rep for this, but rayon (and fabrics that come from rayon like Tencel) wrinkle quite easily too, as can cotton. Blending polyester into those fibres can help them be less wrinkly.
Personally, I love natural fibres and don’t mind a few light creases. Instead of avoiding them altogether, I spritz them with water to ease out the big folds. I never iron linen perfectly flat. That just emphasizes every little crease that will 100% show up the second you bend down to pick up your kid’s toy or sit in your car. Better to accept that linen will always have small creases throughout and move on.
Nobody cares if your clothes aren’t perfectly starched. Trust me. But if you can’t handle it, avoid these:
Sometimes you just can't help it. When you really need to iron, here are some tips:
You can YouTube ironing techniques if you really want to get into it, but here are some basic tips for people who don’t love ironing:
- never iron on the right side of fabric. You can damage the fabric and cause a sheen that may not come out. Just don’t.
- For delicate fabric or if you don’t trust your iron, try placing a piece of thin cotton like a pillow case between the fabric and your iron. Be aware of colour transfer though. Always use a white or off-white pillow case you wouldn’t cry over if the iron steam transferred some colour from your hot pink blouse
- Pick up some ham! No, not the kind you eat. Ironing hams are great for curved bits like shoulders or hips.
- Sometimes you can get away with a quick press only to certain areas. I find the hems of skirts, dresses and pants often get creased so give those some attention. You might find those two minutes are all you need to make your clothes look good.
If you really can’t handle wrinkles or ironing of any kind, here are my favourite low wrinkle pieces to help you avoid ironing and keep you looking fab: