How to iron clothes without an iron – clever alternatives to smooth creases

Smooth crinkled summer dresses, shirts and more clothes without an iron and put your best looking foot forward – always

A walk-in closet area with clothes rails, drawers and shoe rack
(Image credit: Ikea)

Stepping out in a wrinkled shirt or dress is not a cute look but if you haven't been able to invest in the best steam iron, are waiting for a replacement or if you are simply out of town and stuck, do not worry, there are a few failsafe ways to iron clothes without an iron. 

You might not get super crisp lines, but you will get smooth(er) garments than you had in the first place by calling on the a few day-today beauty items and large appliances...

What you basically need to try and do is create heat and steam to near replicate what an iron would do usually, this is what we would advise:

1. Use your flat iron

Anyone who has found themselves in a dorm room, with a crinkled t-shirt, and somewhere to go will vouch for this method. Simply turn on your best flat iron, selecting a temperature to suit the material you are 'ironing' and carefully smooth over your piece.

Safety notice: Always switch your hair straighteners off when you're not using them and don't touch the hot plates.

2. Use your hair dryer

Nic Shacklock at highly recommends this method as do a couple of the RealHomes team. 'A quick way to get out a few wrinkles is to hold a hair dryer a few inches away from your clothes and blast them with warm air. But be careful, holding the hair dryer too close could damage your clothes and the hairdryer if there is insufficient airflow. It can also be pretty dangerous.' Says Shacklock.

walk in closet with hanging space, lighting strips

(Image credit: Caballero)

3. Use shower steam

For both steam and warmth, hang clothes up on your shower rail, but far away from the water source of course, and bathe as usual. The hot steam will help smooth out creases, especially on thin fabrics like viscose and polyester.

4. Call on your washer dryer

Lindsey Davis, Editor in Chief, Homes Ecommerce advises that 'If you have a dryer throw them in with a quick spray of water to decrease, then finish hems and cuffs with straighteners.'

5. Create a homemade wrinkle release spray 

This is a great addition to any of the above methods. You can of course buy a pre-made wrinkle spray but you could also save a few bucks and time if you already have these ingredients in your laundry room. 

Shacklock says 'The best and safest way to get rid of creases in clothes without an iron is a wrinkle release spray and you can actually make your own with a few bits you’ll already have laying around the house. You could even add a subtle essential oil to your mix to give it a nice scent.'

You will need:

1. White vinegar – we bulk buy this from Amazon

2. 5-7ml fabric softener

3. 230ml water

4. A spray bottle – these glass ones are more eco-friendly

5. Essential oil(s) – if using, lavender and camomile or lemon balm make nice choices


1. Fill up a spray bottle with around 230ml of water and another 230ml of vinegar.

2. Then pour in the fabric softener, 5-7ml should do the trick.

3. Add your essential oil if using.

4. Spray liberally over garment and finish with straighteners/shower steam/hair dryer or another preferred method where possible.

'This is a great solution for travelling or even if you simply just don’t have time to iron. I always recommend testing this on a spare piece of fabric or an old tshirt just to make sure it doesn’t damage or discolour your clothes.' Adds Shacklock.

6. Invest in a steamer

If you actually just want to avoid using an iron at all costs, investing in the best clothes steamer will give you great crinkle-free results. Modern models are simple and efficient to use. 

How to avoid creased clothing in the first place

Davis says 'I always get washing out the machine the second it is done and hang shirts/blouses on a coat hanger to dry which seems to work.'

Though this is not easily done if you're on the road, so if you are living out of a suitcase, try rolling your clothes when packing, taking them out and hanging them up as soon as you arrive in your destination for less stress.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Former Deputy Editor

I'm Cam, the former deputy editor of Real Homes who worked on the site from 2020 to 2023. As a renter myself, sharing a home with two friends (and my cat) in London, I know all too well the challenges that this can pose when it comes to creating your perfect setup. As someone who has always loved everything interior design-related, I cannot rest until a home feels right and I am really passionate about helping others get there too, no matter what their living situation, style, or budget may be. It’s not always the easiest to figure out, but the journey is fun and the results are so worth it.

After interior design, travel, art, and photography are my next big passions. When I’m not writing or editing homes content, I’m usually tapping into other creative outlets, exploring galleries in London or further afield, taking photos, scribbling, or drawing!