How to Press Your Shirts WITHOUT an Iron

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May 16, 2012 | Noah Garfinkel

When I was growing up, my mom was exceedingly mom-like. She cooked, she cleaned, she over-protected. But not once did I see her iron any clothes. I, therefore, grew up with no positive ironing role models and have been muddling through adulthood with no idea what any of you people are doing when it comes to rubbing what looks like a future spaceship coffee pot over your wrinkled clothes.

I ironed exactly one time in my life while in a panic at a hotel room, but it took 30 minutes and when I was done my shirt looked about the same as it did when I started, and it smelled burnt. I currently still own no iron, so if I find myself in a wrinkle emergency, I am left with do-it-yourself ironing solutions I find on the internet. Here’s how a few of those worked out.

Utter Disaster

My first attempt to find a do-it-yourself shirt pressing method was an utter disaster.

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Thank you, internet. Real helpful. But upon some more efficient Googling, I was able to find a few decent suggestions.

Clothes Dryer Methods

Most non-iron shirt pressing solutions you find on the internet include using a dryer. If you’ve got a wrinkled shirt and you throw it in the dryer for a couple of minutes, it’s going to get out some of the wrinkles. You’ve probably figured this out on your own already. If you happen to have a shirt that is wrinkled and smells like cigarette smoke, you can just throw a dryer sheet in there along with the shirt, to help the ashtray odor. I will say, though, you feel a little bit like a derelict wearing a shirt that you “cleaned” using a dryer sheet.

Throw in a Wet Sock?

One site I found suggested throwing a wet sock in the dryer with your wrinkled shirt to help produce steam and facilitate the un-wrinkling process. I’m going to just go ahead and guess this helps. I did not actually try this one out because I live in a zero frills (maybe negative-3 frills) New York apartment with no washing machine or dryer in the building (installing them and maintaining them would involve employing a New York electrical contractor for like two minutes, but as I said this place is really no frills). I wasn’t willing to go to the laundromat down the street carrying only one shirt and a single wet sock.

Steam Your Shirt

Non-dryer shirt pressing solutions consisted mainly of using steam from your shower. Following the advice of another website, I took one very wrinkled shirt and hung it on my shower curtain rod.

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I then turned the shower all the way to hot, shut the door and let the steam go for 15 minutes. When I came back, I was genuinely surprised at how many wrinkles had come out.

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It took no effort whatsoever, and it worked really well. I didn’t see much reason to continue testing other methods seeing as that one had worked so well using only my existing bathroom plumbing, but I decided to try one more.

This method called for spraying a wrinkled shirt with water from a spray bottled and then blow drying it.

Here’s the shirt before the spraying.

And here it is 45 seconds later after spraying and brief moment of blow drying.

It worked even better than the 15 minute steaming method and took far less time. I high fived myself and congratulated the shirt.

A Real Revelation

Since I moved into an apartment with no washer/dryer in the building, I have mostly just been wearing wrinkled shirts and dealing with it. I had no idea it was so easy to de-wrinkle a shirt with just water and a blow dryer. Internet DIY suggestions rarely work out well (except the ones found on Networx, of course), but the no-iron ironing methods were a real revelation. Everyone should do this: men, women, people who don’t like being identified by gender -- literally everyone. Even if you’ve got an iron, this just seems so much easier.

Updated December 28, 2017.

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