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Wrinkled, rumpled clothes are not a cute look, unless it's an intentional look, I guess, but that's not what we're here to talk about today. We're here to talk about what to do with clothes that are wrinkled when you would like them to look pressed — or, at least, not weirdly creased. In service of not appearing weirdly creased, here are 10 ways to deal with wrinkled clothes.
Get a Steamer
Handheld or standing steamers are both great options and good investments for people who truly hate ironing. Plus, they can do things — like deodorizing a stale-smelling jacket or cleaning a mattress — that irons can't do. Using a steamer is as easy as heating the thing up, hanging the wrinkled item on a sturdy hanger, and steaming away. After steaming, let the garment dangle on the hanger for 10 or so minutes to allow the wrinkles to ease out, post-steaming.
Use the Old Shower Trick
This is an oldie but not necessarily a goodie — steaming clothes in the bathroom while the shower runs to create steam, works… but not that well. In a pinch, though, it's an option worth employing, especially if you remember this tip: You can make shower steaming more effective by laying the clothes you've just steamed on a flat surface and smoothing the fabric out firmly with your hands.
De-Wrinkle in The Dryer ...
Speaking of steam, you can create a steam cycle of sorts by tossing a wrinkled garment into the dryer along with something damp, like a hand towel. A 5 to 10-minute spin in the dryer will create steam out of the damp item that will eliminate wrinkles in whatever else is in there with it.
… Or Dry Smarter to Prevent Wrinkles in the First Place
Here are a few things about loading a dryer that can help prevent a load of clothes from coming out wrinkled: First, don’t overstuff the machine. Your clothes need room to tumble about! After clothes have come out of the washing machine, they tend to be twisted from the torque of the final spin cycle; shaking them out before they go in the dryer will help to cut back on wrinkling. It will also speed up the drying time, which is a nice bonus. The setting you use is also important — permanent press is a medium-heat drying cycle with a cool-down period at the end that helps to release wrinkles, so that's a good one to use.
Fold or Hang Clothes Straight Out of the Dryer ...
I know you're not going to like this one, but I'm honor-bound to tell you that folding clothes immediately after removing them from the dryer is crucial to preventing wrinkling. Similarly, hanging clothes like dress shirts straight out of the dryer will help keep them looking crisp and cut way back on the amount of steaming or ironing they'll need.
…Or Skip the Dryer Entirely and Hang Wet Clothes to Air Dry
This is particularly true for dress shirts, which do well when they're hung to dry after being machine washed, rather than run through the dryer. If you're a person who regularly irons her shirts, this is an especially good practice — ironing the shirts when they're just out of the wash and still quite damp will result in a really nicely pressed look.
Spritz Wrinkles Away With Water
It's insane how well this works: Fill a spray bottle with water, spritz the wrinkled garment, and either hang or lay it flat and smooth it out using your hands. As the water dries, the wrinkles will disappear.
Use a De-Wrinkling Spray, or Make Your Own
I have a friend who swears by Downy Wrinkle Releaser when she travels — while it's a good option even if you're not on the road, it really is especially convenient to throw in a suitcase or carry-on. If you have liquid fabric softener in the house, you can make your own wrinkle releaser by combining 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle.
Up Your Ironing Game
Some people really dig ironing. Most people do not. But the more you do it, the better you'll get at it, and the less hideous a chore it will be. Here are some tips to help you on your way: The first is to use YouTube. It's hard to explain ironing techniques in writing, but YouTube is full up on videos of ironing demonstrations, and they're actually super helpful in terms of understanding how best to maneuver a wrinkled garment and iron around an ironing board.
There are some techniques that lend themselves to the written word, the little things that can make a big difference. Use a towel, placed between the board and the garment being ironed, to protect buttons. On the other side of things, placing a press cloth between the iron and the wrinkled fabric can help to prevent scorching, as well as the development of shiny spots that can sometimes be caused by a hot iron. You can buy a press cloth or you can use something like a white cotton t-shirt, which will work just fine as a press cloth.
Use Starch or Sizing for Longer-Lasting Results
If you're going to go the ironing route, the use of starch or sizing can help to make it easier and also make the effects last longer. Sizing is kind of like "starch lite" and is best used on fabrics that are ironed at a lower temperature, while starch will create a stiffer feel that will last longer. And if you're going to go to all the trouble of ironing your clothes, I think we can all agree that extending the results of your hard work is a thing we can get behind!