How to dry your clothes so they’ll never need an iron

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Nobody has an extra half hour every week to spend doing something as boring and fiddly as ironing, but most of our daily work clothes are ones that probably need a good iron. Here’s how you can dry your clothes so that you never need to iron them.

Step 1: Hang them right or use the dryer

How to dry your clothes so they’ll never need an ironIf you’re air drying on a washing line, hang things up as soon as the washing machine cycle ends. If you need a reminder to tell you when it’s done, set an alarm for yourself on your phone.

Your clothes will be all bunched up after you’ve just washed them, so shake the clothes out first and get them back into the shape you want to wear them in. This applies even to things like socks and undies. Hang them while they’re still bunched up and you’ll find only the outside will dry, while inside the damp knot fills with smelly mould.

Turn everything inside out so that the colours don’t fade in our harsh southern continent sunshine. (If you want your whites to whiten even more, though, just leave them out there until the sun is about to go down!)

Use pegs and hang your clothes “upside down” from the bottom hem. Don’t just fold your clothes over the line, or gravity will create its own wrinkles all over your clothes. When you fold something over the line, the sun has more layers to get through in order to dry the item, if it can get through at all. This gives mould more time to grow before the sun kills it.

Don’t hang too many things on top of each other. This can get difficult if you have a small clothes airer, but if it has different layers of lines, you should be fine. Hang your thinner fabrics that dry faster (things like lingerie) on the bottom lines so that the heavy fabrics can hog the sun on the top lines and get dry properly.

Bring everything in before the sun goes down. As soon as it starts getting dark and cool, your clothes will go from lovely and dry to getting damp all over again, and that’s not what you want.

Step 2: Hang them right in the closet

Hang things up as soon as they are dry. Whether you’re using a clothes dryer or air drying, you want the dry item to go straight into storage, before any wrinkles have time to form.

Fold sweaters on a shelf instead instead of hanging them. When you hang sweaters, gravity preys on the heaviness of their material and make them sag out of shape.

When hanging blouses or work shirts, use wooden hangers or padded hangers that are slightly curved like your shoulders are, so the top retains its shape. Never use wire hangers. They are too stiff and will cause lines to form out of shape in thin fabrics around the neck yoke and the shoulders.

Turn down the collar of the shirt as it should be, or it will set funny. Button the top button and the second-top button if you want the whole shirt to hang straight and stay wrinkle-free.

Place your coat hangers an inch or two apart if you can, so that the clothes have room to breathe. Otherwise, they’ll be rubbing up against each other as you’re getting things in and out, causing wrinkles and creases.

Step 3: Quick fixes to remove wrinkles without an iron

Had a snafu of coat hangers in the closet and just about to run off to work? Here’s a few ways to remove wrinkles in a hurry without an iron:

  1. Hang your wrinkled clothing on the shower rod while you’re taking a shower. Put it on the far side of the shower curtain at the other end of the tub, so it doesn’t get wet.
  2. Slightly dampen the wrinkled area, then use a hairdryer on its lowest setting all over the area for 2 minutes. Or dampen it and hang it outside in the sun for 30 minutes.
  3. Dampen the wrinkled clothing and stick it in the dryer for 15 minutes.
  4. Put the wrinkled clothing on a clean, flat surface like a table. Dampen a towel and put it on top of the clothing. Press down on the towel and smooth out the wrinkled area carefully.
  5. Put the kettle on, and hold the wrinkles about 20 cm over the steamy spout. (Bonus: You get a cup of tea for the road!)

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