THE BLOG

Ironing Is an Unnecessary Evil

04/20/2014 11:58 EDT | Updated 06/20/2014 05:59 EDT
Alamy

I admit it. I hate ironing. I don't find anything calming, or therapeutic, or satisfying about it. I actually go out of my way to buy clothes that don't need to be ironed. Seriously, polyester is a wonder fabric. It can feel like silk or rayon, but still be thrown in the dryer. Am I lazy? Perhaps, but I actually think I'm just part of a new breed. The previous generation faced the world with a sharp crease and wrinkle-free clothes. My generation faces the world with less patience and more innovative ways to achieve a polished look.

A group of my friends were talking about those who iron versus those who don't. (After a long day at work, conversation can sometimes take an odd turn.) One of the group admitted that she irons everything from her underwear to her socks. T-shirts? Check. Sheets? Check. My first thought was that only hotels should ever have to press sheets. You're just going to lie in the bed later, so you'll have perfectly crisp linen for maybe 12 hours tops. And as for ironing underwear and socks? They go under other things. Why would you ever worry about the bottom layer when people only see the top? My parents both enjoyed ironing, my mother-in-law loves to relax by ironing, and yet I find it a tedious act of overindulgence without much payoff.

Now I know I'm not alone in my quest to limit my iron use. The way I see it, irons are still useful, but for things other than ironing. Dripped candle wax on your carpet? Place a paper towel over the wax and iron on top. Need to amuse the kids on a rainy day? Wrap a cheese sandwich in a paper towel and iron them a grilled cheese. They're entertained AND you have lunch! Use the iron to flatten homework assignments that have gotten wet, or use it as a doorstop. So it's not a completely frivolous appliance.

But if you're like me and set on NOT ironing, there are a couple of ways to enjoy wrinkle-free clothing.

Boil Up a Neat Outfit

Everyone will claim that they have steamed their clothes by leaving them in the bathroom while they have a hot shower, but I speak from experience when I say that is a flat out lie. I have taken an hour long steam shower and some of those creases are not going to come out without some help. Short of owning a clothing steamer, which you could purchase, you can get similar effects by using an electric kettle. Hang your shirt or dress or skirt on a door handle or towel rack and boil a kettle of water directly underneath it. Most kettles have a shut off mechanism when the water boils but there are cheaper models that only turn off if you unplug them. Use one of those if possible.

Use a Curling Iron, But Not a Flat Iron

Ladies, this tip is more for you, but gentlemen, if your female friend has a curling iron, feel free to borrow it. This works best if you have light creases in a shirt or dress. Heat up the curling iron as usual, put the clothing on a hanger and pull the bottom of the item towards you. Then all you have to do is slowly put the curling iron into the item of clothing, let the fabric sit directly on the hot curling iron, and pull the iron slowly towards you. Be warned if you try to do this while the item is on you. I know it's tempting when you're already dressed and getting ready to go out, but you do run the risk of burning your stomach. I've done it before, so just use caution. And never use a flat iron. Clamping the iron around the fabric would burn it. Again, been there, done that.

Buy Only Clothes That Can Go In The Dryer

I grew up without a dryer, so when I went to university, it was like stepping into a new reality. A dryer was created for parents whose kids insist on wearing the exact same hockey pajamas every single night, and for people who hate ironing. I'm lucky to work in a casual work environment so I can wear jeans to work everyday. (And please don't tell me jeans are meant to be ironed. It's denim. That's like saying you're supposed to iron burlap.) Any shirt or outfit that you're going to wear, chances are you will be putting a sweater or jacket on over it because the air conditioning in your office is freezing, or it's one of 10 months in Canada that requires a piece of outerwear. Regardless, anything, and I mean anything you have to wear where you are not standing absolutely stationary for longer than 15 minutes, will end up wrinkled and creased shortly after you put it on. So why put that kind of pressure on yourself?

For the record, even if the label says wrinkle-free, it rarely really is. And if you need a crease in your pants or pleats sharpened up on a skirt, then you're on your own. Or you can make acquaintances with your friendly local dry cleaner. They can also help you get that stain out of your shirt. No amount of ironing can do that.