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Top hacks for less ironing

Few of us sprint to the ironing board though it does make clothes look better. Use these hacks for great results with little effort, and maybe remove ironing from your life completely.


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Clothes on the hanger after being ironed

When you’ve got 10 minutes:

  1. Hang clothes in the bathroom, close the window and take a shower to give the outfit a light steaming.

  2. Tackle light wrinkles with hair straighteners on a low to medium setting.

  3. Spray clothes with a little water and gently blow-dry wrinkles.

Few people enjoy ironing, and these tricks can reduce the time you need to spend dealing with wrinkles and creases.

Put wrinkled shirts and jeans in the drier on high heat for 15 minutes with a handful of ice cubes and let the melting ice steam the creases away. Only do this with clothes you would normally tumble dry.

Prevent wrinkles to reduce ironing:

  • Use fabric conditioner in the wash as this will smooth out clothing fibres.

  • Remove clothes from the washing machine while damp and hang immediately. This is especially effective for shirts. Fasten the top button and peg the shoulders in place to shape the garment.

  • Shake out creases and untwist clothes before putting them in the dryer.

  • Choose the dryer setting designed to minimise wrinkles, preferably with an extended cycle for reducing creases.

  • Remove dry clothes quickly from the dryer as settled garments crease.

Ironing tricks that don’t involve ironing:

  • Spritz clothes gently with water and hang in a warm place so wrinkles can drop out.

  • Put wrinkled clothes in the drier on a high setting with some ice. Tumble for 15 minutes and the steaming effect will reduce wrinkles. If you don’t have ice, try a damp washcloth for a similar effect with a few garments. Use a damp towel for larger loads.

  • Steam light wrinkles using the kettle. Hold clothes 20-30cm away from the kettle steam, but be careful as steam can burn.

  • Hang clothes in the bathroom. Close the window and have a hot shower so the steam can reduce wrinkles.

  • Spray wrinkled clothing with water and use a hair dryer to gently remove wrinkles.

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Ironing faster when you really have to

When there’s no avoiding it, here’s how to make ironing easier:

  • Treat clothes with an easy ironing spray to glide through wrinkles with less effort.

  • Iron clothes inside out to avoid marks and that just-ironed sheen. But always check the care label on the garment first.

  • For hardy wrinkled fabrics such as cotton and linen, cover the ironing board with tin foil, shiny side facing up. This can double the returns on your ironing efforts by tackling wrinkles from two directions at once.

  • Make dewrinkle spray with a half and half mix of white vinegar and water. Add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance, and spray clothes before ironing.

  • For small, hard-to-access areas, use hair straighteners, but don’t let them get too hot.

  • If you scorch a fabric, wipe the mark with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar.

  • Lay clothes along the length of the ironing board and use straight, long strokes.

  • Make sure the ironing board is at a comfortable height.

  • When a garment has lots of fiddly bits, such as cuffs, start with those first.

  • Hang ironed items up straight away.

  • Make sure the iron is clean – see our tips on how to clean an iron.

Delicate garments

Silk, lace or cashmere can demand special treatment and may need hand washing. Streamline the process by:

  • Reducing drying time and giving small garments a quick whirl in a salad spinner.

  • Putting clothes on hangers so the creases drop out.

  • Smoothing out delicates or wool jumpers that must be dried flat, arranging and gently shaping them on a towel or a flat mesh rack.

  • Gently stroking wrinkles in really delicate fabrics with an ice cube wrapped in a wash cloth, then using the iron at its lowest heat setting.

Originally published