How to Iron Without an Ironing Board

iron next to a white towel

The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 

If you have an iron, but no ironing board, read on for a few tips on how to iron your clothes without an ironing board. And, if you're stuck without an iron, here's how to avoid some wrinkles and creases.

How to Iron Without an Ironing Board

A firm, flat surface is key to successful ironing. You can use a wooden or tile floor, a table, a kitchen or bathroom counter. A carpeted floor or bed can work well if you are not looking for sharp creases—for those you need a firmer surface. Whatever you choose, you must cover the surface to protect it from the heat and steam from the iron. Never iron directly on a wooden or stone surface, carpet or bedding.

The ideal covering is an ironing blanket like the one from Brabantia. Ironing blankets are typically made of silicone-coated cotton which is heat and scorch-resistant. Many are backed in non-slip foam so that ironing is a breeze. The blankets can be folded and stored away easily.

Even if you have an ironing board, there are times you don't want to set it up for just a quick touch up of a collar, curled hem edge, or when working on a craft project. Keep an ironing blanket in the laundry room and use the top of the clothes dryer as an ironing surface. The ironing blanket protects the surface of the dryer, the metal surface is firm and the height is just right for easy ironing.

person ironing over a white towel
The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 

If you don't have an ironing blanket, a very thick cotton towel, preferably white, can be used. If your towels are not thick, stack two or three thinner towels to create a base. You will want to use white or off-white towels to prevent any color transfer between the towel and the garment you are ironing, especially if you are using steam.

Now that you have the ironing surface covered, you still need to pay attention to your iron. When you're ironing, the iron must be set down as you move from one area of the garment to another. If the ironing blanket or towel is not large enough to accommodate the iron when you need to set it down, use a kitchen potholder or oven mitt as an iron rest. Always set the iron upright on its base and never leave it with the flat surface down.

remove wrinkles without ironing board
The Spruce / Alison Czinkota


You can also use a clean hair straightener to iron the collar, cuffs, hem, and placket of a garment.

What If I Don't Have an Ironing Board or an Iron?

We can't promise you a crisp, freshly starched look to your clothes without the use of an iron, but there are ways to reduce wrinkles on clothes without an iron or ironing board.

Start by removing clothes from the dryer while they are slightly damp. Immediately hang them up to air dry. By smoothing the seams and fabrics while they are hanging, gravity will pull out some of the wrinkles. If the clothes should be folded, do that as soon as they are dry. Even gently placing them in a laundry basket and leaving them for several days will result in wrinkles.

Try not to cram clothes together in closets and dresser drawers. When clothes are crammed tightly together, the weight "irons" in the wrinkles. Get rid of unworn garments or look for creative storage space under beds or on top of cabinets to store extra or out-of-season items.

Invest in a small clothes steamer. Steamers can range from commercial-grade models to home use size to travel steamers. You'll find they can remove wrinkles and freshen a garment in minutes.

person using a steamer to get out wrinkles
The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija 

If clothes are wrinkled after storing them or when traveling, you can also steam many wrinkles out by running a hot shower, hanging the item in the bathroom, and letting the steam do the work. Another method is wetting a white, woven cotton towel, wringing out excess water, and tossing the towel and the wrinkled item in the dryer and tumbling for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat. After removing the garment, immediately hang it to let wrinkles fall out. 

You can also use one of the many wrinkle removers on the market. Just a quick spray of Downy Wrinkle Releaser or Crease Release by The Laundress and you could be out the door! Allow the garment to dry after spraying before you put it on to wear. If the garment is damp and you sit down, you'll have permanent wrinkles.