I do not want to be a wrinkly mess
March 20, 2006 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Help me iron!

Some of my cotton clothes have weird creases in them that do not want to come out when I iron them. I've steamed them and parked the iron on its hottest setting on them for a very long time, but nothing changes. The regular wrinkles come out fine. Is this something that has happened when I wash them and can't be fixed or is there some sort of secret domestic trick mom never taught me?
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
parking the iron for a very long time in the hottest setting would have burned about any clothing material I know (although the correct setting for cotton IS quite hot)

Did you try wetting the crease (not just steam, actually pouring some water on it) and then ironing to heat-dry it? (beware, this isn't very healthy for the fabric, but, then, neither is burning it with a parked iron)

Do you dry your clothes in a drier or hang them? hanging them as close to their right form as possible, while they are still humid (just after centrifugation on the washer) makes them almost wrinkless (good enough for t-shirts if you're lazy).

Oh, yeah... cotton goes from soft t-shirts to thick pants, so, what exactly is the kind of clothes we're talking about?
posted by qvantamon at 11:38 AM on March 20, 2006

Always start with damp clothes (for cotton anyway). Either prematurely out of the drier, or sprayed with a spray bottle. It makes a world of difference.
posted by OmieWise at 11:39 AM on March 20, 2006

I spray stubborn wrinkles with Downey Wrinkle-Release, wait a few minutes, then apply the iron. Doing this to the inside and the outside of the wrinkle will get most anything out.
posted by junkbox at 11:40 AM on March 20, 2006

Best answer: Put a solution of 1/4 *white* vinegar and 3/4 water into a spray bottle. Swipe the iron (set on cotton) across the stubborn crease to warm the fabric, then spray the crease with the vinegar/water. Iron as usual. If that doesn't work, use more vinegar, up to about 3:1. (A couple of sewists I know use cheap vodka in a spray bottle for really stubborn wrinkles...the alcohol helps relax the fibers.)

If that doesn't work, take the clothes to a reputable laundry and ask them what they suggest. They may be able to get the wrinkles out with their high pressure steam iron. Then again, they may not. It's possible that you've heat-set the wrinkles, and they may never come out.

In the future, don't leave clothes that need to be pressed in the dryer until they're bone dry. You want to take them out before they're completely dry, because the dryer heat can set wrinkles. Don't try to iron dry cotton-- use a spray bottle to get the fabric damp before you try to iron it. (Same goes for linen, btw.)

It's also possible that your iron doesn't get hot enough to press cotton. How old is it?

(note: you don't want to use cider vinegar for this because it may stain the fabric.)
posted by jlkr at 11:52 AM on March 20, 2006

i had some shirts like this once. i just took them to the cleaners. cost me a dollar and the creases came out fine.

of course now i just wear cotton/poly blend and the shirts come out of the dryer just fine, no ironin needed!
posted by kneelconqueso at 11:56 AM on March 20, 2006

For particularly stubborn creases I've always thoroughly soaked the crease (pour water on it, rub it in with your fingers).

But as others have said, the trick to avoiding the problem in the first place is to do your ironing while the clothes are still slightly damp.
posted by tkolar at 11:58 AM on March 20, 2006

Response by poster: Damp clothes and vinegar seem to be working. Thanks to all of you!
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies at 12:53 PM on March 20, 2006

A word of warning: I used to do this to set creases into perma-press materials on homemade clothes (they were in style then, don't ask) and the vinegar got into the pad and rusted the ironing board, which eventually caused rust stains on the clothing. I'd recommend doing vinegar on a towel on the counter, not over the board.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:42 AM on March 21, 2006

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