Nobody likes to iron. Well, I know one person who likes to iron: my dad; he finds it relaxing. Other than my father, I think we'd all be very happy to rid our lives of ironing. I was at a Super Bowl party this weekend and I started telling a friend my secret to an iron-free life, when all of a sudden, I realized a group of people had turned their focus off the commercials to hang on my every word. I thought everyone knew this trick! But apparently not, and today I'm sharing the secret.
First off, a warning: don't insult me by calling me a 1950's housewife. I kind of am one, but don't look down on me, okay? I do a lot of things besides housework, but I also do a lot of laundry—all my family's laundry. My husband wears casual button downs and polos for work, his job involves public speaking, and his shirts are never ironed. Got your attention? Onto the secret.
Disclaimer: The secret doesn't apply to men's and women's dress shirts (the kind that go with suits & ties). Their fabric is unforgiving and they're intended to be very crisp looking, which will never happen without an iron. The only way around ironing those is to buy non-iron shirts (remarkable technology that's now so mainstream even Costco sells them) or take them to the dry cleaner.
The Life-Changing Secret to an Iron-Free Life
1. WASH. Wash your clothes as usual.
2. TRANSFER. As you transfer each item to the dryer, open it up and gently shake it out. For collared shirts and button downs, shape the collar as best you can and run your fingers down the button panel to make sure it is as flat as possible, then place in dryer. You want your wrinkle-prone clothes to be as free and uncrumpled as possible; visualize warm dryer air flowing through the sleeves and legs.
3. DRY, but not all the way. Dry your clothes on low heat. Stick around, it's crucial that your wrinkle-prone clothing doesn't dry all the way, and that you remove the items promptly, while warm. You want them to be mostly dry, but when you touch them, you can tell there is still a very slight bit of moisture in the fabric. For button downs, collared shirts, and especially wrinkle-prone clothing, dry even less time.
4. HAND PRESS IMMEDIATELY. Tend to your most wrinkle-prone clothing first, giving each item individual attention. You must do this right away and quickly, while the clothing is warm; don't let it sit in the drum and then re-warm it (cheaters never prosper, it won't work and you'll end up having to iron). Take a piece of clothing, gently shake it out, lay it on a flat surface (such as an ironing board, a couch, or a bed), and use your hands to quickly "iron" it: run your hands over it and smooth out all wrinkles. For collared shirts, shape the collar and put on a hanger with enough air space to finish drying.
Et, voilà! A pile of hand-pressed, de-wrinkled clothes that don't need an iron. Unfortunately, I tend to let the pile mount to the ceiling until every single piece of clothing in my household needs to be folded—but at least they don't need to be ironed!
And this, my friends, is The Secret. This technique eliminates ironing for nearly all clothing. Khaki pants will still need an iron to get them looking crisp, but just a quick, easy press. I hope this tip makes your life a bit smoother—go ahead and put that iron on the shelf!