Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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Travel Tip: Wrinkle-Free Clothes Without Ironing

If there’s one thing I rarely ever do when traveling, it’s iron my clothes.  I hate ironing.  There are just so many other things I’d rather do than whip out the clunky ironing board and cheap iron from the hotel room closet.  By the way, have you ever noticed the hotel room iron always has water left in it?!  Why can’t housekeeping add draining residual water from the iron to their housekeeping checklists?  This is a travel conundrum I’ll never understand.

Anyway, given that I often travel for work, I can’t look like a slob when I show up the next day  so over the years I’ve managed to figure out some ways to get rid of wrinkles without ironing (because who has time for that?!).  Here’s what’s worked for me:

1) Pack clothes that don’t need ironing – Duh, if you don’t pack things that wrinkle easily, you won’t need to iron.  As a woman, I can get away with some cotton tops or tanks that won’t need ironing but will still be business appropriate if paired with the right skirt or pants.  For the men, lots of places sell wrinkle-free pants and shirts.  I’ve heard they work great.  The more non-wrinkly clothes you pack, the more likely you and the iron will never even have to meet!

2) Steam them in the shower – Hang the clothes in the bathroom, close the door, and take a hot shower.  For really deep wrinkles, dab some water on the wrinkles before you start the shower.  Let the steam from the shower “soften” the wrinkles and you’re good to go!  I’ve gone so far as to leave the clothes “steaming” for the whole rest of the night; I can’t go into the bathroom, but at least I don’t have to iron. 😉

3) Spray wrinkle releaser – I love, love, love wrinkle release sprays!  They work so well.  When you get to the hotel room, take out the wrinkle-prone clothes, spray the wrinkle releaser, and hang to dry.  Not only do the wrinkles disappear like magic, the clothes smell fresh afterwards.  You can make your own wrinkle relaxer spray by combining 1 part fabric softener to 10 parts water in a spray bottle.  If you’d rather buy one, I keep a bottle of wrinkle releaser at home and it’s worked so well, I’ve even spotted Mr. T using it occasionally – which says a lot because he is obsessed with the iron (he even irons his t-shirts and jeans).

4) Pack your clothes in a folder – I just discovered these pack-it foldersa year ago and they are great at keeping all your clothes crisp and wrinkle-free.  It does take longer to pack, however, since you’ll have to fold all the clothes into nice little-department-store-clothing-stacks but the pack-it folders come with a folding board so it’s not that bad!  Plus, it’s definitely quicker to fold and stack than it would be to iron the stack.  This may be the best thing I’ve discovered in my quest to avoid using the iron on the road.

What tips do you have for keeping clothes wrinkle-free when traveling?

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Debbra Brouillette - March 22, 2013 - 6:19 am

Nice tips. I’ve never tried the wrinkle release spray. Think I’ll try it. The Container Store folders look nice, but they are rather expensive. Rolling clothes instead of folding them is a tip I would add to yours. Thanks!

Just Wanderlust - March 23, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Hi Debbra! The wrinkle release sprays are awesome – I got hooked on them many years ago and always make sure I keep a bottle handy at home. Thanks for the tip on rolling clothes, too. 🙂

Mark - March 26, 2013 - 10:10 am

I’ve also never seen the wrinkle spray wow!! 🙂

I find the packing cubes to be quite bulky for ‘packing light’. They’re great for when I’m checking my luggage, but if I want a carry on, they take up too much space. How would you carry a wrinkle spray though if you are carrying on? hmmm..

Suits can be folded without wrinkle (google the video) 🙂
Rolling definitely helps

Or travel more, get hotel status and most places gives you free pressings of 2-3 pieces when you check in, which is plenty for the dress shirt/pants! 🙂

Just Wanderlust - March 26, 2013 - 8:23 pm

Mark – I’m not a fan of packing cubes, either. I think the concept is cool, but I don’t think they save space and I’ve found it’s much easier for me just to throw all my pants, shirts, or outfits into grocery bags and pack the bags in the luggage (added bonus: I’m recycling the bags!). Anyway, as for the wrinkle-release spray… get the travel sized ones (I just saw them at Target last weekend) or make your own and put them into mini spray bottles and you’re good to go! If the clothes are really wrinkly, I sometimes just spray the clothes before I pack them, too. Thanks for your tip – I will have to look at the video you hint at… and of course, travel status = travel perks! 😉

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