When most people want freshly-pressed clothes, they reach for an iron. Yes, an iron is the main tool to remove wrinkles from clothes, but just as important is what’s underneath – the ironing board. What if an ironing board is not available, but that all-important job interview is coming up and wrinkle-free clothes are simply a must?
Not to worry, here are two ways to get that crisp, freshly-pressed look!
1. Find a substitute for an ironing board
First, find a suitable surface. A flat and hard surface will be needed. The idea is to substitute the ironing board with an equivalent surface. For example:
– Floors: Most homes have suitable flooring. Hardwood or ceramic are good materials, as they don’t easily get damaged and are resistant to heat. However, to protect the floor, it would be best to place a towel or thick cloth down and make sure the surface is clean.
– Tables: Most tables, such as dining tables, have a solid top that can substitute for ironing boards. Again, make sure to protect the surface with a towel or cloth. Many people would find tables more convenient than floors for ironing.
– Beds: It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but beds can definitely be used as an ironing surface. Beds are rather soft, however, and clothes ironed on them are unlikely to be as crisp and wrinkle-free as if a floor or table were used. But it is an easy option, and a towel to protect the bedding is usually not required (there are already sheets or a blanket, after all). Also, the surface is not likely to be damaged by heat. Just make sure that the hot iron isn’t left in the bed, as it could end up getting burnt!
– Washing machines: Some people use the tops of their washing machines to iron. This is ingenious in some ways. From washing to ironing laundry, all the activity can be done in a small and tightly-confined space. Again, be sure to line the top with a towel or thick cloth. It must be said that the machine’s metal surface tends to get hotter much faster than a wooden table or ceramic floor. This can be positive (faster ironing) but also negative (hot to the touch). Safety would be a prime concern.
Second, choose the right kind of covering. The covering lies in-between the ironing surface and the clothes, making it an important material. Here are some options to consider:
– Ironing blanket: People who don’t have an ironing board often use an ironing blanket as a substitute. These are protective pads designed specifically for the task of ironing. Just lay it down on any hard surface, and start ironing. They can be folded or rolled up, for easy storage and portability.
– Magnetic ironing mat: Similar to ironing blankets, mats can be used on any surface. The advantage of the magnetic ones is that they hold fast to any metal surface, such as a washing machine. This makes ironing more convenient and fuss-free.
– Towels: The most “low-tech” solution, but also the most common and versatile. Almost everyone has towels, and almost any towel (or several) can be used for ironing. The best towels are white, to eliminate the risk of the hot iron accidentally transferring the towel’s color onto the clothes.
Third, do not forget about the iron rest. The hot iron has to be placed someplace safe, while clothes are adjusted and so on. There are many solutions available. One is a kitchen potholder, which by design retains heat so it can safely contain the hot iron. Another is an oven mitt – just put it down flat on the table and rest the iron on it (preferably standing up) whenever required.
2. Find a substitute for ironing
Rather than replace the board, this set of workarounds is about finding an alternative to the task of ironing itself. Many people have tried to tackle this problem, and found the following ways to solve it.
– Clothes Steamer: These are dedicated appliances, which replace the need for ironing. Frankly, they won’t produce the same tightly-pressed, crisp feel on a shirt, but they are convenient and fast to use, perfect for those in a rush. The range of steamers available online or in retail stores is truly staggering, so there is no shortage of choice.
– Hair Iron: These implements for straightening hair, can also be used for straightening clothes. Some hair irons have controls to set the temperature, which helps with clothes – just turn it to the highest possible. Some people use these to replace normal irons entirely; others use it as a supplement to sort out challenging areas such as shirt collars or complicated cuffs or ruffles.
– Clothes Dryer: These don’t just dry clothes, they also work out the wrinkles. The important thing is to ensure there is some dampness when starting the drying cycle, by either spraying the clothes with a bit of water or putting in a wet item to dry along with the rest of the clothes. Then, be sure to take the clothes out immediately once they are dry. Leaving the clothes in the dryer for too long will cause the wrinkles to return.
– The Old Shower Trick: The moisture and steam from a hot shower can work wonders in a wrinkled garment. Just hang the clothes in the bathroom and take a long, hot shower with the doors and windows of the bathroom completely shut. The same steam that mists up the bathroom mirror will be smoothing out the clothes.
– Anti-Wrinkle Spray: These are not for wrinkles in people’s faces, but for their clothes. The spray is specially manufactured to relax clothes fibers, stretching out wrinkles and getting rid of creases. Just spray it on, pull on the clothes to make it nice and tight, and hang it up to dry completely.