How to Avoid Ironing

How to Avoid Ironing | CorporetteCan you look professional — without ironing your clothes every day?  Reader K is particularly curious about how to avoid ironing t-shirts:

Not sure if you or the commentators have any tips or tricks to keep folded shirts from creasing. Certain kind of fold? Only stacking two high? Certain detergent that is less susceptible to creasing? I know this sounds like a silly question, but I hate ironing my cotton t shirts (under cardigans, blazers, etc) first thing in the morning! Thanks.

Wow. I have to say, I’m impressed — much of my laundry routine is based around the fact that I will do almost anything to avoid pulling out the iron. I hang-dry my washable pants so the waists drag them down, straightening them. I buy non-iron blouses and hang-dry those after 15 minutes or — ha ha — I wear sweaters and other things don’t require ironing. But part of this may be because I’ve always lived in NYC, and it’s a pain to get the ironing board and iron set up in the inevitable small space that is an NYC apartment.

I’m curious to hear what the commenters say, but here are some thoughts:

  • Hang your t-shirts on hangers. I always used to do this with the shirts I wore to work, although I fold the ones I work out in.
  • Roll your t-shirts. If you don’t have the space to hang your t-shirts, roll them instead of folding them. I do this when traveling, but recently saw (on Pinterest, of course) someone who had saved a ton of space by rolling all of her t-shirts.
  • Fold them the way they do in the store. At least this way, if you’re wearing a cardigan the vertical “fold” lines will be hidden beneath the cardigan or blazer.
  • Have less shirts. This is just a hunch, but I’m guessing that freshly-folded clothes will need much less ironing than ones that have been sitting folded for months, or ones that are crammed into an overflowing drawer. When I switch seasons in my closet, I’ve often found it easier to remove wrinkles by just throwing stuff in the wash again (rather than ironing).

Readers, how much do you iron? Do you have any tips to avoid ironing t-shirts or other items?

Comments

  1. applesandcheddar :

    I don’t even own an iron, and I definitely don’t wear wrinkly clothes. I hand my clothes up immediately after they come out of the dryer. The only clothes that gets folded are pajamas, sweaters, athletic clothes, and undergarments – everything else gets hung up where it cannot wrinkle.

    Also, there’s always Downey Wrikler Releaser :)

    • I use Downy Wrinkle Releaser religiously.

      • Lady Harriet :

        I’m allergic to the perfumes in Downy Wrinkle Releaser, but I found the filling a small spray bottle with water works just as well! I put the garment on a hanger, spray the whole thing, then kind of smack it around to smooth out the wrinkles. I try to do this the night before I wear something (I’m rarely coherent enough to pick out an outfit in the morning) and since I’m not soaking the clothes they’re dry by the time I get up. It doesn’t work as well as ironing, but it’s so much less work that I don’t mind. Also, it’s much, much cheaper than the Downy spray, which makes my miserly little heart very happy.

    • Downy Wrinkle Releaser should definitely be part of this answer. It’s particular useful for items like t-shirts and sweaters. I use it almost every day.

  2. I bought a $40 clothes steamer on Amazon. It is ah-may-zing. I recently put my ironing board out on the curb because it hadn’t been used in so long. It is easier to pull out and plug in than ironing and takes no time at all. I wouldn’t recommend it for crisp button-down shirts, but it works great on knits and other wear-to-work stuff. It also keeps my clothes feeling fresh between dry cleanings.

    Other than that – I often throw t-shirts in the dryer for a few minutes to de-wrinkle, though that seems overly wasteful…

    • long term lurker :

      ditto. I use the steamer in the bathroom hanging the clothes on hangers on the shower rod, and store the steamer in the bin with my hair dryer. I use it on suits, everything, and my husband uses it on dress shirts that he has had the dry cleaner launder and starch but then has done something like thrown them on the floor. I don’t think a steamer would work if we actually laundered the dress shirts at home and needed to remove hard core wrinkles, but the steamer works for my basic purposes. I’m pretty good about hanging up suits etc after wearing them.

    • Double ditto. Bought a big steamer a few years ago and it has changed my life. My clothes look newer longer, I never look rumpled, and I save TONS on dry cleaning bills. In a tiny apartment a travel steamer might be a better choice, but I love mine. I have a travel one too that I bring with me everywhere, and I don’t know what I did before it.
      Doesn’t work well on anything with stretch or with button downs, but on wool, knits, suits, and sweaters, it’s a dream.

      • How does a steamer not work for you on button-downs? I bought a Conair steamer (one that sits on the floor) from Target 2 years ago, and I have never Ironed since. I don’t starch my shirts, and I don’t wear white ones, so maybe that’s it? I think my shirts look just like they would ironed, I just pull the bottom seam while I run the steamer handle over the fabric, buttons and all, and voila!

    • I’m a steamer convert – get the big one that sits on the floor. Mine is Reliable brand. I rarely iron anymore.

  3. I’m confused. I never iron T-shirts and I *do* own an iron and use it frequently. My T-shirts don’t seem to get particularly creased from sitting in my drawer. Am I missing something here?

  4. I only fold things once (with a line straight down the middle of the shirt, north to south, so the sleeves are lined up on top of each other) and lay them in drawers that way. One vertical crease is a lot less noticable than two vertical and one horizontal, in my opinion. Obviously this requires a little extra space, or fewer clothes per drawer so they can still be accessed without causing a cascade, but it works for me and my laundry roatation.

    Also, cardigans pretty much live draped over the backs of chairs for me (2 on my work chair, 2 on a home chair, probably 2 dirty or in storage at any given moment). No folding, no wrinkles, no hanger marks.

  5. Instead of ironing, I throw my clothes in the dryer for 10 minutes before wearing. It works for everything – t-shirts, sweaters, dress pants, Brooks Bros. non-iron shirts. If something is really bad, throw it in with a wet towel.

  6. Hamster Fan :

    Don’t laugh, please, but I need advice on Halloween costume shopping. I want to dress up as a hip hop hamster from the Kia Soul commercials. Like I said, don’t laugh. Any ideas, anyone, in how to create this look?

    • I’m just gonna say that I am laughing, but it’s an “I fully support this idea” kind of laugh.

      • Hamster Fan :

        Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence! There is a hamster hood available online which I may break down and buy. Is $50 too much to invest in my amusement for an evening?

        • I think I spent about 35-50 on a halloween costume my 3L year for the halloween party in law school. Go for it, have a great time!! I think it’d be a hit.

    • that is the best Halloween costume idea ever. no ideas on how to pull it off, as I’m chronically costume-challenged, but go on with your bad self.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      I agree, great idea. I am guessing you don’t want to wear a hamster-head mask? And are you thinking the commerical where they dance with baggy clothes on, as opposed to the one where they’re just driving naked? You could get a tan hoodie and hot glue faux fur (from the fabric store) onto it, as well as making the ears (you would have to wear the hood on your head). Then paint your face like a hamster. Then, put another hoodie on top (red I think?) and stuff it with quilt batting or pillow stuffing (also fabric shop). Same story with oversized pants/sweatpants. Finally, big untied worker boots.

      • 2/3 attorney :

        Clearly I posted this before I saw your hamster hood option – chalk it up to Tuesday afternoon boredom.

      • Hamster Fan :

        Right on, the rap video hamsters in the robot commercial. Though you all should check out the latest hamster/ballet dancer collaboration. I might dress as the dancer and have my boyfriend be the hamster, but worried that takes “obscure humor” a step too far.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I LOVE THAT COMMERCIAL. I may have to borrow your costume idea. Can you make a cardboard car to wear around your waist?

      • ahhhhhh you all just got that “hamster dance” song from 15 years ago stuck in my head. dik-a-dee-dat-doo-da-doo-doooo, dik-a-dee-dat-dee-dat-deeeeeeee

  7. 2/3 attorney :

    Random product endorsement:

    I got this sweater from Nordie’s about a week ago, and I have already worn it 4 times (don’t judge). It’s super soft and cozy and not sheer and drapes beautifully and… sigh, lovely. In case anyone is in the market for a long drapey cardigan, here you go. And, it’s only $42.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/mod-lusive-ruched-sleeve-long-cardigan-nordstrom-exclusive/3275036?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=DARK+MAUVE&resultback=451

    • Ooh, I like! It actually reminds me a lot of one of my favorite all-time pieces of clothing, a cotton cardi from Old Navy. Hm. Perhaps that one will still be around when my beloved cardigan needs replacing! Although gotta say, I’ve had it for at least four years now, and it’s still going strong.

    • I’ve been eyeing that one myself, so glad to hear that you love it. I’m hesitating only because so many of the reviews make it sound like the actual colors are quite different than how they appear in the pictures. What color did you get?

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I like it too! I especially like the price and multiple color options. The “Belladonna’ color looks great on the photo, but the swatch looks to fushia.

    • long term lurker :

      How is the sizing? I vary between an 8-10 and am usually a 10 on top and order mediums, but the sizing for this says Medium is a size 8 and Large is a size 10. I am thinking of ordering the Large, love the colors, but worry it might be too big.

      • I bought nearly the same thing last at nordstrom, and I wear it all the time. My coworker had the same one I do and recently bought this modlusive one. She says the sizing is the same. Since it doesn’t chose in front, you could probably wear either. I typically wear large or extra large, and with classiques brands from nordstrom, I wear a size 14/xl on top. I have very broad shoulders, so I got the xl. And it fits fine. I’m not swimming in it. if you have narrow shoulders, maybe get medium, otherwise go with large.

        It’s dry clean only but I’ve had mine for almost a year and not had oit washed yet. Petty sure my coworker hasn’t either.

    • I ordered one! Thanks for the rec.

    • Alas, it’s dry clean only. :(

  8. What is this thing, “ironing,” that you speak of?

    • e_pontellier :

      +1. My husband has actually made me take off a shirt so that *he* can iron it, because he is so offended by the wrinkles.

    • It’s interesting that so many people feel this way. I’m the opposite– can’t fathom not doing it. If you have a decent iron and are used to it, it takes 2 minutes. And I don’t feel like there’s any substitute for it. I dont like the feel of non-iron shirts and don’t have a dryer in my unit. Monday shrug

      • I am unbelievably ironing-challenged. I went to boarding school and we had to have at least two pressed and creased uniform shirts in our closets at weekly room inspection and could be sent back up to iron in the morning if our shirts weren’t creased. I could. not. do. it. I would wear the uniform turtlenecks well into the spring just to avoid wearing something that needed to be ironed. Once, on my fifth or so attempt to crease the shirt properly, the hall mother just gave up and said, “well, it’s not remotely even, but at least it’s a crease.”

        I have not improved at all in the 20 years since.

        • I have this issue as well. While I don’t think I’ve tried as often as you have, Bluejay, I’m definitely ironing challenged.

          Luckily for me, I don’t wear button-down shirts due to my bust-waist-hip ratio, so that cuts most of my ironing needs.

      • I have an iron and I know how to use it, but I am super paranoid about burning myself. This fear extends to other hot items, including: curling irons and other heated styling tools, light bulbs that need changing, and pots and pans while cooking.

      • I’m with you. This is mystifying to me. I would probably do it less if I had substantially more closet space so my clothes wouldn’t touch each other as much, so my ironing board probably does go hand in hand with my tiny-by-national-standards apartment. But even in a perfect closet world, I just like the way things look when they’re properly pressed. It takes only a couple of minutes and I can do it while watching tv in the morning or at night. I am honestly struggling to figure out what’s so hard or dreadful about it.

    • Word. People can just deal with my shabby monster chic.

  9. ladies, i need a gut check. does this bag look cheapie?:
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nb-handbags-buckle-trim-satchel/3349544?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Cognac&resultback=1410
    i really like the shape and strap options. any recommendations for higher-end options?

  10. I bought a Jiffy floor steamer about 5 years ago for around $125 off Amazon and have not ironed since. It makes all of my suits and business casual clothes stay fresher for longer so fewer trips to the cleaners. Great for cotton tops, too. I could not live without this thing.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      Hah. When I read floor steamer, I pictured you steaming your clothes with a Shark, like for steaming your floors.

  11. And I love the hamster costume idea – my husband wants to be one of the hamsters for Halloween, too!!

  12. Diana Barry :

    FEWER shirts, Kat, FEWER. Sorry for the Ellen caps!

    My t-shirts don’t really get wrinkled. I usually hang dry the ones I wear to work (modal, mostly) and then fold them, and I’ve never had a wrinkling problem – other than when they’re in boxes, folded, for about a year while I’m pregnant/postpartum.

    • I heart you, Diana Barry! Fewer / less is one of my (many) pet peeves. I’m so happy that I was not the only one who had this reaction when reading Kat’s post!

    • Equity's Darling :

      It’s true, I remember a grammar girl podcast about fewer v. less.

  13. While I would love to bring out my iron and ironing board more, when living in a small space, it’s just not possible. If something needs to be “ironed”after washing, I put it in the dryer and then pull it out 10 min later and hang to dry. I also hang most of my stuff for work, which avoids the crease mark lines down the middle.

  14. See, I never could get a steamer to work right. I’d rather just pull out the ironing board. I love the steam feature on my dryer. Tossing a damp (lint-free) washcloth or hand towel in the dryer with a few wrinkled items works pretty well too as does the Downy spray. Also amazing, DH is very accomplished at ironing.

  15. My SO and I are looking at flights to travel cross-country for the holidays. Does anyone have any holiday travel tips to share? The Bing travel predictor says to wait, but the prices have been steadily increasing since we started looking a few weeks ago. Is it typically accurate around the holiday season?

    • Based on my experience, if you are wanting to travel over the holiday season, book as far in advance as possible. Prices are only going to go up, except for the rare seat on the rare plane that needs to be filled up and goes on sale a couple of days before the travel date. But if you wait for that, you and your SO are probably not going to be able to make any actual plans, and may not end up travelling together or even on the same dates. Best to book now.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Try searching for fares earlier in the week, book pretty far in advance, and look at nearby airports. Sometimes an airport that is a few hours out of the way will have cheaper fares and can ultimately be cheaper even after factoring in the gas or train ticket to get to the other airport.

      Kayak searches fares for a ton of airlines, but it doesn’t search Southwest or some of the other discount airlines like Allegiant. You’ll have to go to those company websites directly to search.

      Good luck! I managed to get cross-country tickets for Christmas this year for about $400 less than I paid last year, but I booked them over a month ago.

    • My past experience suggests that your instincts are right. If you are definitely going to travel and have a set destination and dates, book ahead for the holidays. Waiting works well if you have flexibility, but if not I would book now.

  16. I’m actually thinking about looking into replacing some of my shelves with hanger-space for tops. A plus would also be that it would be easier to find them. (My closet is sort of like Narnia – things get so far in, that I swear they’re in another universe, to be found again by a poor soul at some point.)

  17. Lady Harriet :

    I just wanted to share some good news today. After a terrible year of unemployment, underemployment, and devastating personal problems, I was offered a job at my alma mater a few months ago working as a research assistant for several of my old professors. (I’m an ’11 grad.) I finally was able to leave my hated hometown and go back to the minuscule town out in the Florida swamp where I went to school. My job now is pretty good, although I’m funded by grant money, which means the pay is sometimes kind of uncertain. I do have the world’s most fantastic boss, though.

    Yesterday, I got a call from a business in town here that is completely in line with what I want to do career-wise (statistics and data analysis.) A friend of mine had recommended me to them and they want to hire me to do consulting! It’s not very many hours right now or very sophisticated work, but it’s my foot in the door. Most importantly, it makes my somewhat-pathetic resume look a lot better. For both job and personal reasons I’m hoping to move to southern California next year, and in previous iterations of my job search I really realized how helpful it is to already have a good job when you’re looking for one, especially long-distance. Also, after 90+ job applications earlier this year with only a couple of interviews (all for one job) to show from it, it’s been pretty nice to have both my jobs right now come from people seeking me out.

    So, does anyone else have good news to share today?

    • Yay for you! Go buy a lottery ticket.

    • Swamp? Is that the orange and blue swamp, by any chance?

      • Lady Harriet :

        Haha, no. My school is literally in the SW Florida swamp. We do have actual gators on campus, though! Right now the bears are more of a problem, since they keep getting into the garbage. The school I work at is very new (for a college) and has <1,000 students. Less than 10 years ago the campus was tomato and sod fields. (Some clever googling will probably tell you which school it is from that.) I grew up in a regular college town (Madison, WI) and moving here for school and afterwards was a huge change.

      • I had the same reaction. Go Gators! :)

  18. Love this! I HATE ironing, and avoid it at all costs!

  19. brooch lover :

    No need to iron ever — hang your dress or suit etc in the bathroom while you shower. takes about 15 minutes of hot water running to get rid of wrinkles.

  20. This may be a no-brainer – but I can recommend using generous amounts of softener. Yes, it’s not great to have that many chemicals on your skin, but your clothes will be less wrinkly.

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