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10 Ways to Unwrinkle Your Clothing Without an Iron

No time to iron? Don't panic. These tips will have you smoothed out in no time.

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wrinkled shirt
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No iron? No problem

We’ve all experienced that horrible feeling of dressing for an important engagement only to discover that the shirt we were planning to wear to that job interview, big meeting, or dressy event is full of wrinkles. Inevitably, there’s no time to heat up the iron. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, a shirt will not unwrinkle as you wear it. But there’s no reason to panic! We’re going to show you how to get wrinkles out of clothes without an iron.

Some of these methods may surprise you, and some will come in especially handy when you’re traveling. Because even if you’ve perfected how to do laundry and how to iron—and even if you know when to use a steamer vs. iron and what the best steam irons are—sometimes you need to know how to iron without an iron. So let’s get to it.

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Hand grabbing unwrinkled clothes from dryer
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Unwrinkle clothes in the dryer

Curious how to get wrinkles out of clothes without spending your whole morning tending to each garment? Toss ’em in the dryer. First, check your garments’ labels for the laundry symbols to determine whether you can safely machine dry them. If you can, spritz the items with water and toss them in with a damp item or two (like damp socks). You can even throw a couple of ice cubes into the dryer. When they melt, they give off steam that’ll help your garments ditch their wrinkles. Spin for about 15 minutes on medium.

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Red hairdryer on a black wooden table
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Use a hair dryer to get wrinkles out of clothes

Lay the wrinkled item on a flat surface and blast hot air with your hair dryer. Keep the dryer a couple of inches above the fabric, and cover the front and back of the garment. Like magic, the wrinkles will disappear before your eyes. You can spritz or flick a few drops of water on the item before blowing it dry to help soften it. For more laundry hacks, check out these creative uses for dryer sheets.

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shower head in steamy bathroom
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Steam away wrinkles in the shower

You know how to hand-wash clothes when you’re away from home. Now learn how to unwrinkle a shirt when you’re traveling. Hang the wrinkled item in the bathroom and turn on the shower, using the hottest water. Shut the door to create a sauna effect. Check back in about 10 minutes but understand it may take up to 20 minutes to completely remove the wrinkles. If you’re hanging the garment on the shower rod, be sure the showerhead is facing away from it to avoid getting your clothing item wet.

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hair straightener
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Use a hair straightener to unwrinkle clothing

The best dryer sheets can help you avoid wrinkles. But that’s not always enough—especially if you’ve stuffed your clothes in a suitcase. A flat iron works really well on stubborn wrinkles, especially for hard-to-iron areas like collars, cuffs, and sleeves. Just make sure your device isn’t rusty, stained with hair products, or holding loose hairs. And be careful of the heat setting and the pressure you use. You don’t want to damage your clothing or burn yourself.

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wringing out damp towel
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Release wrinkles with a damp towel

This is such a simple method, but it totally works. On a flat surface, place a damp towel over the wrinkled clothing. Use your hands to press down and smooth out deep creases. Hang the item to air dry. Prior to leaving for your event, check yourself for stray hairs and lint balls—and remove pilling on clothes before you walk out the door.

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Crease Release from The laundress
Via Thelaundress.com

Use a wrinkle-release spray

Keep a bottle of professional wrinkle-release spray in your laundry room for quick fixes. Downy Wrinkle Releaser, an Amazon’s Choice best-seller, comes in a crisp linen scent to make garments smell like they were freshly pressed. Wondering how to get wrinkles out of clothes while you’re on the go? The Laundress Crease Release is the answer. It’s TSA friendly (read: small) and won’t weigh down your luggage. The Laundress also makes one of the best laundry detergents.

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spray bottle of vinegar
© eleonora galli/Getty Images

Try spray vinegar

You can actually make your own DIY wrinkle-release spray using white vinegar. It’s a cheap, gentle, and chemical-free alternative. Mist the wrinkled garment with a mix of one part vinegar and three parts water, then let it air dry. Vinegar in laundry is a great way to deodorize and clean clothes.

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Tea Kettle with Steam
Bill Oxford/Getty Images

Steam out wrinkles with a tea kettle

Don’t have a steamer on hand? Learn how to get wrinkles out of clothes with nothing but a teapot. Boil water in a tea kettle, then hold your clothing item about a foot away from the steam. Voilà! Wrinkles are gone. Next, find out how to get a smell out of clothes.

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Water Boiling in a pan to be used as an iron
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Make an iron out of a pot

Boil water in a metal pot. Once it reaches a rolling boil, toss the water. You’re going to use the bottom of the pot as an iron to smooth out the wrinkles in your garment. Make sure the bottom of the pot is clean, though, and be careful because it’s going to be hot. Next time you do a load of laundry, toss some dryer balls to speed up the process.

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mattress with clothes under it unwrinkling
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Tuck it under a mattress

Here’s how to get wrinkles out of clothes with nothing but your mattress. Lay your garment on a flat surface, smooth out the wrinkles, and then roll it like a burrito. Slide your fabric burrito under the mattress and wait 15 to 30 minutes. Remove it and—surprise!—no more wrinkles. Here’s another surprise: You can unshrink clothes. For real.

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Lois Alter Mark
Lois Alter Mark is an award-winning travel, lifestyle, shopping and entertainment writer for Reader's Digest, Forbes and USA Today 10Best. Her work has taken her to all seven continents and introduced her to new people, food and—her latest obsession—pickleball! An avid cruiser, she loves introducing readers to the joys of travel.