How to Iron without an Ironing Board – Easy Guide & Tips

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Ironing boards have always been a bit of a love-hate relationship.

While they help tremendously when it comes to keeping your laundry tidy and wrinkle-free, they can be a bother to store.

They are often difficult to operate with the creaky folding legs and the rickety final stand.

To make things worse, ironing boards can also be exorbitantly priced, quoting obvious features like “working height” or “cord holders” as exclusives.

You may find yourself in a situation where you simply don’t have the place to store an ironing board, or the means to invest in one.

This makes keeping your clothes smooth and well-maintained quite the hassle.

Fortunately, the exact opposite is true. You do not need any kind of board to iron your clothes. Your house is full of surfaces that will work just fine.

Read on to learn more about how to iron without an ironing board, so that you can have that crisp wardrobe without the bother of lugging along an ironing board.

how to iron without an ironing board

How to Keep Your Clothes from Needing an Ironing

If you don’t have an ironing board or just dislike ironing in general, there are several tricks you can practice to make sure your clothes don’t wrinkle. This prevents the need to iron in the first place.

For one, hang your clothes instead of folding them. Heavier fabrics like denim aren’t as much of a problem.

Light T-shirts or blouses wrinkle far easier if they’re folded after the wash.

Another thing is to make sure your closet is not overstuffed.

If you dump your clothes into your closet right after you’ve ironed them, the friction can cause transient wrinkles to set deeper in your clothes.

Keeping your hangers at least two inches apart allows for sufficient breathing space to prevent this. You will need a relatively decluttered closet to make this happen.

Lastly, try to avoid wire hangers — especially for heavier articles of clothing.

Most wire hangers are thin and don’t present a lot of surface area for your clothes’ fabric to rest again. Because the wiring is so narrow, the weight of your clothes can pull against your clothes and can cause them to crease or be unevenly stretched.

How to Iron Without an Ironing Board

Now if you’ve accidentally forgotten some of the above tips and have somehow managed to wrinkle your clothes, you have no but choice to iron them.

However, if you don’t have easy access to an ironing board, neat presentable clothes might seem like a mountain climb away.

Fortunately for you, your house is full of surfaces that make perfect substitutes for an ironing board. All you need to notice them is some fresh perspective.

When it comes to actually ironing, make sure there is a covering layer between your clothes and the surface of your choice.

An old blanket or towel may do in most cases, but if your iron heats up too much, then you might need to take more precautions.

A great avenue is to invest in an ironing blanket or an ironing mat – these make almost any flat surface a safe option for ironing. They are also relatively cheap.

These are particularly important if you’re ironing on your bed — if you leave your iron face down for too long and there isn’t a protective layer between your iron and your sheets, you might have to start on a eulogy in mourning of your ruined linens.

Here are some surfaces to turn to when figuring out how to iron without an ironing board:

Ironing on Dining Table

Your solid wood dining table makes for the perfect step-in ironing board, and you didn’t even know about it.

Most ironing boards stand 30 inches high, which also happens to be the height of the average dining table.

Aside from this, they also provide a wide surface area to spread your clothes over. This gives you more control over your ironing and results in a better press.

In fact, after a couple of uses, you might even find that you prefer your dining table over your ironing board.


Another very suitable surface in the same kitchen vicinity is in fact your kitchen countertop.

Now, because there is very little standardization in countertop height, the mileage may vary.

Whether or not the countertop in your home is a good alternative entirely depends on how accessible you find it.

If your counter reaches just below your waist, then chances are you can use it to iron your laundry.

The only setback, however, is if you’ve recently used your kitchen for its original purpose of cooking and haven’t gotten to wiping your counter down thoroughly.

So, if you plan on using your countertop to iron, then make it a point to run a quick disinfecting wipe across its surface.


Another very easy-to-access surface for your ironing adventures is right where you spend almost all your sleeping hours: your bed.

The suitability of your bed as a make-shift ironing board, of course, depends on your mattress.

If you have a particularly soft, sit-and-sink mattress, then obviously this alternative might not be something you can avail.

A neat way of checking to see if your bed can support your ironing is by simply facing your iron-facedown on your mattress.

If your iron sinks less than an inch into the bedding, you have a working alternative to your missing ironing board.

It is much safer to use an ironing blanket when ironing on your bed.

Washing Machine

Your washing machine is actually a fantastic stand-in for your ironing board.

The best time to iron your clothes is when they’re fresh out of the dryer. This way you get the folds to sit exactly how you want ’em.

Coincidentally enough, most of your dryers are sat right beside your washing machines.

Not only is this a very convenient substitute for your ironing board, but it also allows for a very efficient way of getting your laundry ironed, especially if done in a pair.

If one person gets the clothes out and groups them while the other irons, you’ll be done with your chore faster than you can say “ironing board.”

Hard Floor

Now, if none of the other surfaces in your house are suitable, you can always turn to your floor for support, pun intended.

Irons have been around far longer than ironing boards. Your floor, however, has been around even longer.

While you can technically iron on your floor even if it is carpeted, this option is far better suited for those who have hardwood or tiled floors.

Make Your Own Board

However, if none of the above surfaces really do it for you, and ironing mats/ironing blankets are not what you are looking for, you could always try your hand at making your own ironing board.

It is far easier than you’d think.

Simply take a plank of wood or a thick stack of cardboard that’s approximately 3 ft by 2 ft, and wrap it with foam or batting.

You might have to staple them in at the bottom to ensure that they’re secure.

Cover the padded board in a second layer of canvas, linen, or any other heat-resistant fabric; staple in this layer as well.

Once you’re satisfied with your board’s overall sturdiness, you’re good to go.

Any remotely stable surface in your house can now qualify as the stand of an ironing board.

What Can You Use Instead of an Iron?

Even if you do know how to iron without an ironing board, the same cannot be said about the clothing iron.

You couldn’t possibly de-wrinkle a piece of fabric, without the iron. Or could you?

While you can’t technically iron your clothes without the (ahem) iron, you don’t need one to keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

Of course, you do have the option of leaving the wrinkles as they are and stepping out in crinkly clothes, but surely being presentable isn’t too much effort?

Right off the bat, your flat iron at home is a fantastic make-do iron.

What’s better is that it lets you iron both sides of your clothes simultaneously, making the whole process nearly twice as fast.

Alternatively, you could also try steaming for your clothes to be free of wrinkles. There is of course the straightforward route of using a clothes steamer.

But if you want to get a bit more creative with what you have at home, you’ll find that you have no need for one.

For instance, if you throw your wrinkled clothes into the dryer alongside a damp towel, what you’re essentially doing is setting your cycle to steam. At the end of the cycle, you can retrieve smoothened clothes and a perfectly dry towel.

Another even faster option is to hang your clothes in your bathroom while you shower.

The steam generated from your shower reduces any major wrinkling. While your clothes aren’t perfectly smooth at the end of your shower, they wouldn’t exactly fall under “wrinkly” either.

And if even that is too slow for you, you could always turn to wrinkle release spray.

The spray essentially uncoils the fibers of your clothes, so by the time you’re ready, your clothes will have de-wrinkled themselves.

Takeaway – Crisp Wrinkle-Free Wardrobe, Ironing Board or Not

At the end of the day, your wardrobe doesn’t need any kind of board to be presentable.

Now that you know how to iron without an ironing board, you needn’t worry any longer about how you can possibly maintain your outfits for all those important occasions of your life.

Be it an interview or a party, any time you need professionally smoothened out clothes, you will never be limited by the presence or absence of a mere ironing board.

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