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How to Iron Without an Ironing Board

How to Iron Without an Ironing Board

Wearing wrinkled clothes makes you look disheveled and unkempt and gives a bad first impression, especially when attending official events and meetings. But this does not have to be the case as long as you have access to an iron. You can still iron your clothes if you have an iron even with no ironing board.

Sure, not having an ironing board can complicate things, but not having access to an ironing board is not a good reason for wearing a wrinkled outfit. Keep reading to learn how to iron clothes without an ironing board.

How do you unwrinkle clothes without an ironing board?

Below are some alternative surfaces you can use to iron without an ironing board;

On the Table

A sturdy table at a comfortable height can make a perfect ironing board, as it is like ironing on the floor. You don’t have to worry about not having space to set up an ironing board; it is very easy to iron on.

Lay a blanket, cloth protector, or towel on the table to create a non-slip surface and start ironing. This will also help to absorb any extra moisture from the iron. You can use a kitchen towel or washcloth to place your iron on.

However, avoid ironing on a glass table because the heat from the iron can break the glass. Wooden tables are also not the best surfaces to iron on. However, if you don’t have any other option, ensure the wooden table is well-protected before ironing it. Using a natural fiber blanket or folded towel can help to prevent any heat or steam damage.

Using a layer of plastic sheeting under the towel or blanket is the best makeshift ironing board because it will prevent the wood from absorbing moisture, which can damage the surface. You should also be careful when using a table made of veneered wood or one that has a thick varnish, as these may show marks if the temperature is very hot.

On the Floor

Any floor, whether wood, stone, tiled, or carpeted, makes a great surface for ironing as long as it is clean, flat, and protected from the heat of the iron. It is the typical choice of anyone trying to iron without a board.

Lay down a thick towel, a blanket, or a cloth protector. Place the garment on it and iron it. Take care that the hot iron doesn’t touch the flooring directly because the heat and steam from the iron can damage the floor.

However, the drawback of using the floor to iron on is that if the floor is dirty, your clothes can become dirty, and the stains from the floor can get onto your clothes. The floor, especially tiled or ceramic floors, can remain warm even after turning off the iron, so you must be very careful.

Even if you think your tiles are heat proof, be careful not to crack them with too much heat.

Additionally, getting on or off the floor and bending down to iron can be painful, especially if you are older, not flexible, or suffer back problems.

Note: if you have kids, keep them away from the hot iron, as it is easily accessible.

On the Washing Machine or Dryer

The top of your washing machine or dryer is one of the quick, convenient, and effective ironing board alternatives. It is the right height for ironing and is easy on your back.

All you have to do is lay a thick towel on the surface to protect it and get to work. You can also purchase a magnetic ironing mat designed for the top of your washing machine or dryer.

The magnet holds the mat in place and prevents it from slipping, making this an affordable, convenient, and permanent ironing solution. If you have washer and dryer pedestal alternatives, this can be nice as they elevate the ironing surface to a workable height.

On the Countertop

If you don’t have an ironing board, your bathroom or kitchen countertop can be great for ironing surfaces. These can handle heat; however, avoid putting heat onto the counter directly and use a towel or bed cover to absorb the heat.

While vinyl and laminate countertops are quite durable and moisture and heat-resistant, the steam iron’s heat and moisture can cause the counter edges to lift by causing the glue to soften. This same problem goes for all types of laminate flooring if you choose to iron on that surface.

To prevent this, you can use a thick towel that can protect the countertop from heat and steam. Countertops made of granite, marble, and stone are heat resistant and make great surfaces for ironing.

Note: use a towel or blanket on the countertop when ironing to protect this ironing board substitute from heat damage.

On the Bed

Can you iron on a bed? Yes.Using your bed is convenient because you don’t need extra space to set up your ironing board. If you want to do some quick ironing or a quick touch-up, you can iron on your bed. Also, you can pull your clothes out from the cupboard and start ironing without carrying them to and from the laundry room.

However, you must ensure that your types of mattresses are protected from heat and steam from the iron. Iron on top of a towel, blanket, or bed covers on your mattress to protect it before you start ironing. However, you must be careful when ironing on your bed and not leave the iron on your bed and stand it up properly, or the heat from the iron can scorch your mattress, which can be quite expensive to replace.

Also, using your bed for ironing your clothes, however, firm your mattress is, won’t provide the resistance and support required to press out the wrinkles and get sharp creases. And if your bed is very low, it may be quite uncomfortable to bend down for a long time and iron all your garments. But still, if you don’t linger, any bed makes great ironing board alternatives.

Using an Ironing Blanket

An ironing blanket or an ironing mat is a creative, space-saving ironing board alternative. Especially if you’re tight on space or want to iron anywhere, be it while you’re traveling, RVing, camping, sewing class, etc., you can lay it on any surface and turn it into an ironing board.

Ironing blankets are lightweight, heat resistant, and help protect your surface from heat or moisture damage. They can turn any surface into a makeshift ironing board. Easy to set up, the ironing blanket can be used with steam and dry irons, and the non-slip base prevents it from slipping.

And after you’re done ironing, you can roll up the ironing blanket into a small bundle and store it in your closet. The blanket is available in different sizes, and you can pick one that works best for you. The drawbacks of using an ironing blanket are that you can’t use it on soft surfaces like your bed because it won’t provide sufficient resistance to eliminate wrinkles and creases.

Also, smaller ironing blankets make it quite difficult to iron larger clothes, such as curtains, bedcovers, etc., because maneuvering the clothes on the mat can be difficult. Still, ironing mats make any surface into great ironing board alternative.

On a homemade ironing board

Making a homemade iron board is not only easy and convenient, but it is also cheaper than buying one. You can even make a foldable ironing board you can carry when traveling.

Items needed

  • A wooden board such as plywood (big enough to iron on)
  • Cushioning
  • Heat resistant fabric
  • A large stapler
  • Wood glue

Glue the cushioning onto the plywood. Then place the fabric over the cushioning and staple it on the back of the board. For a foldable one, you may need to go the extra mile and use hinges to connect to smaller boards. That will form a larger DIY ironing board when unfolded.

What if you do not have an iron?

There are some other ways you can unwrinkle clothes without an iron. If you do not have access to an iron, you can also use the alternatives below;

Using a Clothes Steamer

A steamer is very easy to use and faster too. And, since it is very small, compact, and portable, it won’t take up a lot of space, and you can carry it around wherever you want, even on your travels.

Ironing with a clothes steamer is simple. All you need to do is hang the clothes on a hanger and run the steamer over the garments to remove the wrinkles. Since the steamer doesn’t touch the clothes, it reduces the chance of burning them accidentally, making it perfect for delicate materials like satin, silk, polyester, jersey, etc.

It also makes it easy to iron clothes with ruffles or pleats, suit jackets, curtains, and pillows, and the steam helps to kill the allergens and bacteria in the fabrics. It also helps to remove any unpleasant odors from the garments.

However, the drawbacks of a clothes steamer are that you can’t press the creases to get a crisp line, and some colors may run when the steam touches them. So, it’s important to test the clothes before steam ironing them. Also, over-steaming may ruin the garment.

Note: A good tea kettle is an excellent alternative if you don’t own a steamer.

All you need to do is:

  • Boil some water.
  • Bring the kettle about one foot away from your clothes.
  • Make sure your clothing item is hung straight on a hanger.
  • Start steaming.

Using a Flat Iron

This extremely lightweight, portable option doesn’t need any surface. Instead, you can use your flat iron to remove small wrinkles and creases from your clothing quickly. This can be especially handy for smaller areas such as collars, cuffs, and around the buttons.

However, it is unsuitable for large clothes due to its small surface area.

Note: use a lower setting for delicate garments. Clean the iron, as hair products can ruin your clothes.  

Using a Hair Dryer

The heat from the hair dryer can cause wrinkles to release from the clothing. A little stretching and tugging can help but be careful not to introduce any extra wrinkles.

  • Hang your clothes on a hanger.
  • Use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen the fabric.
  • Use a hairdryer on low heat to blow hot air onto the fabric.
  • Move the hairdryer around until the wrinkles disappear.

Note: Don’t hold the dryer too close to the clothes; fan it back and forth. Otherwise, you risk scalding the clothes, especially delicate or white shirts.

Using a Kitchen Pot or a Pan

To use your pan to iron your clothes, you need a pot or a pan with smooth bottom. Then follow the steps below;

  • Boil water in your pot/pan.
  • Empty the pot/pan.
  • Use its bottom to smoothen out your wrinkled clothes.

By Hanging the Clothes in the Bathroom

The high temperature and the steam from the shower will help smooth out your clothes wrinkles. Hang the garments on a hanger in your bathroom before you shower.

Using the Dryer

If you want to remove the wrinkles from your clothes without using the iron and ironing board, you can put the garments into your dryer with a damp white towel and turn on the dryer for around 10 to 15 minutes.

The steam will help to get all the wrinkles out. Next, remove the clothes from the dryer and hang them on a hanger immediately without folding them. This is my favorite ironing board substitute, and why I didn’t own a board for decades.

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Using Wrinkle Remover Spray

Wrinkle remover spray will remove wrinkles from any garment. Spray the wrinkle remover onto the wet garment according to the instructions on the can and allow it to dry for around 10 to 15 minutes, and the wrinkles are all gone.

Tips and tricks for guaranteed success

Factors to consider when ironing without an ironing board;

Surface type

  • A flat, hard, non-plastic surface is best for ironing. Most tiled kitchen or bathroom counters are perfect because of their user-friendly height.
  • Other good options include a desk, dining table, or the top of your clothes dryer.
  • If you’re ironing large items – like curtains or a tablecloth – you may want to use a freshly cleaned wood floor.
  • The beds aren’t ideal for ironing. They’re too cushiony for pressing out wrinkles, ultimately creating more work for you.
  • Always avoid ironing on plastic surfaces. These can be damaged by heat and steam.

Surface protection

  • Use a white cotton towel to create a soft, absorbent layer for your ironing surface. You can also use folded sheets.
  • Be sure to choose cotton since cotton threads can endure high-temperature iron settings.
  • Go for white, dye-free cotton to eliminate the risk of color transfer.
  • Keep an oven mitt or silicone trivet on the side. So you have somewhere to rest your iron.
  • For extra protection, use an ironing mat to iron clothes without an ironing board.
  • Look for an ironing pad with a heat-resistant coating to protect surfaces and a non-slip backing that won’t slide around as you work.
  • You use cardboard as a makeshift ironing board alternative. And to protect your counters and floors.
  • Heat-resistant parchment paper is an effective and inexpensive alternative to an ironing mat. Parchment paper protects the ironing surface, protects your clothing from the iron’s heat, and prevents color transfer.
  • You can also use a pressing cloth. A thin heat-resistant fabric is generally used to protect clothing from heat damage. Use it to cover the ironing surface, just like parchment paper.
  • Damp towels or clothes are also an excellent option. The steam created by the iron’s heat affecting the towel’s moisture will help remove all wrinkles and creases from the clothing.
  • You can also use a magnetic ironing mat. It is ideal for ironing on a metal surface, like your washer and dryer.