Ironing 101: How to Keep Your Wardrobe Crisp

Ironing 101: How to Keep Your Wardrobe Crisp

Nothing puts a damper on laundry day like wrinkles. So, while, yes, ironing may seem the most mundane of household chores, it’s actually essential to keeping your clothes polished and professional. But just as one size does not fit all, not all ironing tricks are made equal. And different garments require different tactics to keep them appearing pressed and perfect. So, whether you’re preparing for a critical interview or prepping to get ready for a special occasion, or simply aiming to look sharp, knowing how to iron your clothes properly is crucial. With that in mind, read on for the ironing techniques and tips you need to know to ensure your outfits — from blouses to pants to shirts — look their absolute best. 

How to Iron 101

From minding different fabrics to choosing the right ironing board, here are the expert ironing tips you should know to help you step up your ironing game — keeping your wardrobe looking crisp and fresh in any season.

Choose a Quality Iron

You’ll be hard-pressed to succeed without that essential purchase: the iron, itself. To identify a good iron, look for one with adjustable heat settings, a steam function, a non-stick soleplate and rave reviews. A high-quality iron will make the process smoother and more efficient, helping you achieve top-notch results with less effort and time.

Use Distilled Water

If your iron has a steam function, we always recommend using distilled water. Tap water can contain minerals that may build up inside the iron and press stains on your clothes. But when you use distilled water, you’ll be able to prevent build up and help your iron operate smoothly.

Prep Your Clothes

Before you learn how to iron your clothes properly, make sure they are freshly laundered and free of any stains that the iron could set in. Why not switch from regular detergents to SaltyLama laundry detergent sheets?  Not only are these plant-based sheets free of toxins, they come pre-measured, which means you never have to think about how much detergent to put in with your clothes again. For a regular load of laundry, rip a strip (two strips to a sheet) and place it either in the drum or detergent drawer. For a larger load, toss in an entire sheet. And if you want to simplify your laundry routine, skip the store and lines by subscribing. You’ll save money and never run out of detergent again. You can cancel, pause, or skip an order on your subscription whenever you like.

Once your clothes are clean, iron them while they are still slightly damp. This will help you smooth out any wrinkles more effectively. If your garments are dry, no worries — you can lightly spray them with water using a spray bottle.

Iron in the Right Order

Did you know there’s a correct order to ironing to get the best results? Start with the collar, then move on to the sleeves, cuffs, and finally, the body of the garment. For pants, begin with the pockets and waistband, then move to the legs starting from the top and working your way down to the hem.

Use a Padded Ironing Board

Don’t stop with just selecting the perfect iron — make sure you pick up the right ironing board as well. A padded ironing board provides a smooth, even surface that makes ironing a lot easier. If your board isn’t padded, you can add a towel or buy a specially-designed ironing pad to place over it.

Mind the Fabric Type

Different fabrics require different ironing techniques and temperatures. Luckily, many irons come with adjustable settings depending on the type of material you’re working with. But when in doubt, check the care label on your clothes for the best results.

Here’s a quick reference in ironing certain materials:

Cotton and Linen: High heat with steam

Wool: Medium heat with steam (use a pressing cloth)

Silk: Low heat without steam (iron inside out)

Synthetic Fabrics (such as polyester and nylon): Low heat without steam

Use the Steam Function Wisely

Steam can be your bestie when it comes to removing stubborn wrinkles in your clothes. So, feel free to use the steam function to relax the fabric fibers and iron faster. However, be careful when using steam on delicate fabrics like silk, as too much can damage the material.

Keep It Moving

If you don’t want to scorch your garment, keep the ironing moving. Never leave it on the same spot for more than a few seconds. Instead, keep the iron moving in smooth, continuous strokes to avoid burning or damaging your clothes. If you do end up leaving an ironing mark on one of garments, check out these ironing tips to remove it.

Hang or Fold Immediately

Once you’ve finished ironing and you’re satisfied with your work, you’ll want to hang or fold your clothes to prevent new wrinkles. Use hangers for shirts and dresses, and neatly fold pants and other items to keep them looking crisp while in your dresser.

Take Care of Your Iron

Don’t forget to keep your iron clean. You can do this by taking a damp cloth to the soleplate — the metal part of your iron — to remove any residue. If you haven’t been using distilled water, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for descaling and cleaning the steam vents.

Bonus Tip: Ironing Alternatives

If you’re short on time or just not a fan of ironing, consider using a garment steamer. Steamers are great for quick touch-ups and are gentler on delicate fabrics. They’re also portable, making them a convenient option for travel. If you’re without an iron or a garment steamer, sometimes hanging your clothes in the bathroom while you have a hot, steamy shower going can help work out wrinkles in a pinch.


Mastering these essential tips on how to iron will amplify your wardrobe, helping you look crisp and slick. So, step up your ironing game and enjoy the benefits of a smooth, well-maintained wardrobe!

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