We've all had the problem, you need that one dress shirt you own, but it is full of creases because you stuffed it all the way in the back of your closet. No way i am going to iron them, it takes way too much time and effort!

I am looking for a way to get creases out of mostly dress shirts, without actually ironing it.

  • 2
    If I'm wearing the shirt under a jacket or sweater I only iron the part of the shirt you will be able to see, such as the collar, cuffs, and front. That cuts the ironing down a lot. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 1:05
  • Take a spray bottle and your shirt on a hanger. Mist your shirt lightly with the spray bottle. Let it hang till dry. Basically wrinkle free. The heavier the wrinkle, the more water it will take. If you need to hurry the process, use a towel to soak up some of the water.
    – Entbark
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 20:12
  • what about using a really powerful steam generator / iron? Does anyone have a really good iron and can say few words? Is there much difference between these? Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 14:30

11 Answers 11


How much time do you have? I can save you a lot of effort...

  • Take your shirt and thoroughly wet it in the sink/tub.
  • Wring/squeeze all the water out of it that you can.
  • Toss it in the dryer with a (clean, dry) towel or two.
  • Dry for 10-20 minutes, depending on material.
  • Put your shirt on.

Just throwing it in the dryer works somewhat, but wetting it down works better. Unfortunately, this makes it take a while to dry. Adding a couple towels to the load will help draw the moisture out faster. I think that's due to having more dry surface area to wick water into, along with helping the tumble action (a single shirt doesn't tumble as well). Whether that's the reason or not, it significantly speeds up drying time for (very) small loads.

I've done this a few times. With lightweight dress shirts, it's very quick. For heavier winter-weight shirts, it may take a little longer, but it's much easier than ironing. This especially helps if you're running late and need to shower or do other things, since you can do those while it's drying.

This obviously won't put nice ironing creases into your shirt, but it will get rid of unwanted wrinkles.

  • 2
    with the extra energy wastage and water use it sounds environmentally irresponsible to me
    – wim
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 6:29
  • 1
    @Alex Right, that's more akin to Jason's answer. I haven't ever tried it that way, so answered with what I know.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 12:43
  • 1
    @wim: if anything, using energy to remove wrinkles sounds environmentally irresponsible any way it's done. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 13:17
  • 2
    @Geobits the iron actually take less then 1 minute to warm up, and another 5 minutes (if you are slow) for the ironing...
    – algiogia
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 13:35
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby My shirts aren't wrinkled straight out of the dryer. As the OP said, "it is full of creases because you stuffed it all the way in the back of your closet." You can say it makes no sense if you want, but I've done it on several occasions.
    – TIO Begs
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 12:49

Since everyone rely on having a dryer (which I don't have) I'll suggest a different solution.

You can carefully fold the shirt and sit on it, your body temperature will do the rest. You have to wait a while though... I used to do this before going out: we met at my place, dine and then leave. While dining the shirt was on the chair I was sitting on. It will not remove completely the wrinkles but helps a lot.
You can improve using something flat (but still needs to transfer heat) to put over the shirt to avoid to wrinkle the shirt yourself.

Pro Tip: try not to fart.


Take a damp (clean) towel and put it in the dryer with the wrinkled shirt and dry it on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. The moisture and heat will relax the fibers in the shirt and take out the majority of the wrinkles. The towel will prevent the shirt from getting too hot and burning.

After you take the shirt out, put it on immediately, or hang it up to prevent it from wrinkling again.


If you wash the shirt and hang it up on a proper hanger immediately after it comes out of the washing machine, make sure it is hung in a warm environment (airing cupboard) and once it is dried it will be relatively crease free so long as you hung it up straight and properly without anything touching it!

Also, if you tumble dry your shirts, attempt to iron it immediately after getting it out (if it is still slightly wet then even better) as this will make the creases much easier to get out and you won't have to work as hard for the desired result.

Other than that I can't really think of any way to 'iron' it quickly after leaving it in the back of a closet for ages... I suppose you could obtain a large flat sheet of metal / wood (preferably two) and then lay the shirt out very flat on the floor (one of the sheets) and place the other sheet on top of it and walk over it, heating up the sheet as well may increase your success here but you'll probably end up having to wash it again anyway!


Take it to the cleaner. They can do an "Iron-only" service where they don't wash it, just iron it. It's cheap and fast and good.

  • 7
    Is "pay someone else to do it" really a hack? "What is the easiest way to get rid of spilled glitter? Answer: Hire a maid." See what I mean? This doesn't seem like an answer in the context of this site. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 0:48
  • 2
    Yes, "pay someone else to do it" is a hack, primarily because for most people money is a finite quantity. I've both hired a maid and paid a cleaner to iron my shirts and can attest to their effectiveness. On the other hand, ironing is easy and doesn't take any time at all for a single shirt. The real hack here is "learn to operate an iron."
    – par
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 19:18

I'm always a little reluctant to goo with a dedicated product as a lifehack, but in this case, my normal concern there doesn't seem to apply.*

You really, really should try Downy Wrinkle Releaser.

enter image description here

I've had your exact situation forever, and for any shity that doesn't actually need to have visible pressed creases, it's roughly as effective and much faster than most other methods.

You literally just spray it on wrinkled clothes, (or a creased area,) flatten the damp part with your hands, and the wrinkles come out.

So it's much faster than:

  • Heating up and possibly filling an iron, etc.
  • Dampening clothes and using the dryer (which is still better if you have a bunch of slightly wrinkled items).
  • Steaming (machine or shower)

And you can travel with it for hotel use, etc.


  • It has a pretty strong floral smell. I don't mind it, and it gets milder after a bit, but the initial scent is hard to miss.
  • I wouldn't use it on anything really delicate, like silk, but most other possible solutions have issues there too.
  • It's not quite as effective on wool as it is on cotton, but I still find it better for sweaters than ironing most of the time

*_ Normally, when there's a dedicated product for a task, it's not a great lifehacks answer, but that's usually a function of it being the one everyone knows, but is either not not available to the OP, or not appropriate for some specific reason. That doesn't appear to be the case here, and no one has mentioned it, and I've found it MUCH easier than the traditional methods for the case described.


Unfortunately I can`t comment on an answer. I have 2 working tips. Hang the shirt on a wire hanger in your steamy bathroom, after you took a shower/bath. The moist air together with gravitation will eliminate a lot of wringles.

The secon tip was one of my gfs grandfather. He used this method for his suit back when he was young. Place the shirt carefully as you want it under your fitted sheet (best the ones you can hook over your mattress) and sleep on it. Its like the method Narmer posted in his answer but you get an more heat/contact than just sitting on it. Perhaps place a second sheet or some other cloth over it, if you have concernes for the hygiene :)


One option is to use a steamer. It won't get your shirt as perfect as ironing, but if your shirt has a few wrinkles in it, then steaming it a bit before you put it on will help a lot. There is a certain technique to using a steamer - it involves kind of brushing the shirt downward as you steam the shirt. If your shirt is ironed well enough, you can wear it once or twice, steam the wrinkles away, wear it again, steam, and maybe wear it again before you should probably wash it anyway.


Some folks have suggested hanging it while you take a shower, or throwing it in the dryer. The best this will accomplish is to trade big creases for small creases. It's also time consuming. And they generally won't do any good for really deep creases. If you need to wear a dress shirt to look nice, I think you'll still fall short of your goal this way. Plus, dryers can be hard on clothes. They'll shrink more, increase brittleness, cause more abrasion leading to holes and piling, and just generally shorten the life of the clothing. You'll have to buy dress shirts a bit more often than you would've otherwise. A steamer can help, but then you might as well just iron, as you'll probably use its steam function when you do. And an iron will let you make creases where you might want them, such as down the sleeve, or to help the collar stay down.

If you're not going to iron, there are really only two options. Either cover the shirt with a sweater, so only the collar and maybe cuffs are showing, as one commenter suggested. Or, let your shirts hang freely without getting crunched by all the other clothes. Over time, gravity will pull those wrinkles out. It will take a long time, but if you don't wear the shirts very often to begin with, that shouldn't matter.

  1. time - 8 - 12 hours
  2. thick hanger - preferably plastic coat hanger, or multiple plastic shirt hangers, do not use wire hanger [rust stains]
  3. shower rod
  4. spray bottle - of water - will use approx 1 cup
  5. put shirt on hanger, fasten all buttons
  6. put hanger on shower rod
  7. soak shirt top to bottom, front, back, sides, sleeves, using sprayer, the larger the creases then use more water, and the longer it takes to dry. Smooth any large creases out of shirt while wet.
  8. leave shirt to air dry
  9. water drips out of shirt, so hang over large container or water resistant floor, i.e. bathroom
  10. as the water drips out, gravity [weight of water] pulls the wrinkles out of the shirt
  11. can only use this on machine washable shirts, as others don't react well to water, or will stretch from weight of the water

I'm generally a big proponent of dryroning™, especially for slacks. I don't like to wash (let alone dry-clean) things over and over that just aren't dirty. But in many cases like this I think you will find that breaking out the iron and spot ironing those wrinkles is actually much faster and more effective than the alternatives. Always be wary of solutions that are more trouble than the original problem.

But here's the official dryroning approach: 1) with a spray bottle, spray a little water on the more stubborn creases 2) throw a pretty wet hand towel into the dryer with your shirt. Add a dryer sheet to freshen up that shirt you've apparently abandoned in your closet for months. 3) Set the dryer to a low setting and tumble til dry. Remove promptly.

Pro tip: "it is full of creases because you stuffed it all the way in the back of your closet" Don't do that and you won't have this problem in the first place. Prevention is the best cure. :)

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