7 Great Alternatives to Ironing Boards for Ironing Clothes

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Iron on ironing board

My favorite household chore, if one can spin such tasks into a positive, is ironing.  I find it relaxing and gratifying.  I love turning wrinkled clothing into smooth, crisp apparel.  I also dislike wearing wrinkled clothing that should be crisp and smooth.

My wife and I are a good match in this respect, because she doesn’t like ironing.  Ironically, I despise doing laundry.  She doesn’t mind.  And so she does laundry and I iron.

While we have a full-size ironing board (you can also buy small ironing boards), sometimes you find yourself without one or perhaps yours breaks.  Or maybe you don’t like using an ironing board.  In these instances, you need use something else.

I’ve been there and done that and so I put together a really good list of alternatives to ironing boards

1. Clothes Steamer

White fabric steamer with a compact and portable design used as an alternative to an iron and ironing boardSource:  Home Depot

Pros

  • The steamer never actually touches the clothes, which will greatly decrease the chance of accidentally burning them. This makes a steamer ideal for jersey, silk, polyester, and satin.
  • Some articles of clothing are very difficult to iron but can easily be steamed. This includes items that have a lot of pleats and ruffles as well as suit jackets.
  • In general, it’s much faster to use a steamer than it is to use an iron.
  • The hot steam from the steamer will relax the clothing fibers without making them too hot.
  • Most steamers are very small and portable. Since they don’t take up a lot of space, they can be taken on vacation with no problem.
  • It can easily be used on drapes and curtains as well.
  • Work much faster than traditional irons, allowing owners to use them and then get out of the door in time for work.
  • It is great at pressing heavy fabric that has been stored for a long time and can easily remove any of the wrinkles.

Cons

  • It’s impossible to press creases into fabric to get a nice crisp line. No matter how hard you try, your clothes will never have the crisp appearance that you can get with an iron.
  • Certain colors can run when the steam is applied to them so it’s important to always test your clothes before using.
  • Steamers don’t do a great job pressing seams in clothes.
  • Oversteaming is possible and can ruin a garment, especially a jacket.

2. Kitchen Table

Smooth, wooden dining table with four seats which can be used as a place to iron clothing.Source: Hayneedle

Pros

  • Most people have a kitchen table and as long as the surface is protected with a thick towel, then there is very little risk of accidentally damaging it while ironing.
  • Because you don’t have to set up an ironing board, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you have enough space to iron your clothes.
  • The firm surface makes it easy to press against the table and get nice crisp lines in the clothing.
  • Kitchen tables are at just the right height to make it very easy to iron. Instead of crouching down or bending over, the kitchen table is comfortable for most adults to use without a lot of hassle.
  • Instead of having to find storage for an ironing board or dragging it out when you need something pressed you can easily use the table for a quick fix.

Cons

  • Most people have items on their kitchen tables most of the time and it can be a hassle to move them.
  • This is not convenient if you need to iron while the rest of your family is enjoying a meal.
  • Leaving the iron in once place for a long time can scorch a mark on the surface of the table.

3. Ironing Blanket

Rectangular ironing blanket with a surface made up of 100% cotton.Source: Home Depot

Pros

  • Slimmer than bulky ironing boards, this pad is perfect for travel and allows you to turn any surface into an ironing board.
  • When the ironing area is 100% cotton, you won’t have to worry about color transfer or other issues.
  • A non-skid bottom will keep the pad in place, no matter what surface you use to iron. This is great because you can easily turn even the slippery hood of a vehicle into an ironing board when you are really in a pinch.
  • Rolls up into a small bundle that doesn’t take up a lot of room. Not only is this great for storing the pad but it also makes it very easy to take it with you while on vacation. Gone are the days of worrying about whether or not the hotel room will have an ironing board available.
  • This helps prevent heat transfer to the surface that you are ironing on. That means that there is less of a chance of scorching the surface.
  • These blankets are great for wrapping around the iron when storing it to prevent any damage from occurring.
  • Available in many sizes so users can make sure that they buy one that will best fit their needs.

Cons

  • It can’t be used on softer surfaces such as a bed as it will not give enough resistance to press down and get out creases and wrinkles.
  • While ironing blankets and pads are handy, they are just one more thing that homeowners have to find a place for in their homes.
  • Smaller pads make it difficult to iron larger pieces of clothing and without practice users may find that they get more wrinkles trying to maneuver the clothing than they are able to get out.
  • Although it does a great job keeping heat and steam from damaging most surfaces, some, such as fine wood furniture, can still be damaged even when using the mat correctly.

4. Hard Floor

Tile floor which can be used to iron clothing in a pinch as an alternative to an ironing boardSource: Home Depot

Pros

  • As long as you can clear a small spot on the floor, you will have enough space to iron.
  • Both hardwood floors and ceramic tile flooring can be used to iron on.
  • Most people have towels on hand that they can easily toss on the floor to protect the hard surface. This makes it easy to iron very small items as well as very large ones. The only limit to how large of a piece of fabric you can iron is the space that you are able to clear.

Cons

  • If the floor is not clean, then your clothing or curtains will become dirty from being ironed on the floor.
  • Stains from the floor can sometimes bleed through to the cloth that is being ironed.
  • Having the iron on the floor can be risky as some children don’t know to stay away from it. It’s imperative to be very diligent in keeping small children away from the hot iron so that they won’t be burned.
  • The floor may remain warm for a short period of time after the iron has been turned off. This is especially true for ceramic floors so people need to exercise care.
  • It can be very difficult to get on and off of the floor to iron. Depending on someone’s age and flexibility, this can be painful and make ironing on the floor completely impossible.
  • Ironing on hardwood floors can be risky as it is relatively easy to accidentally damage the floor. It’s important to keep the iron moving and use enough padding or there is a risk of having to replace or refinish part of the floor.

5. Bed

Photo of a bed with sheets removed to iron clothing when you don't have an ironing boardSource:  Wayfair

Pros

  • Being able to iron directly on the bed means that homeowners don’t have to worry about getting out an ironing board and finding the space to set it up.
  • It’s very convenient to be able to pull clothing out of the closet and iron it in the same room without having to walk to the laundry room.
  • Because there isn’t any wood where homeowners will be ironing, there isn’t any worry or concern about scorching the wood.

Cons

  • While convenient, even the firmest mattress won’t offer the support and resistance that you need to really be able to press out wrinkles and creases.
  • It’s very easy to accidentally leave the iron in one location for too long and scorch the bedding. This is worse than accidentally scorching the cover of an ironing board as bedding is much more expensive to replace.
  • If the bed is low to the ground, then it can be uncomfortable to stand bent over for the length of time that it takes to iron garments.
  • Ironing while someone is still sleeping is dangerous and can result in them getting burned.
  • On larger items that need to be pressed in sections, it’s common for ironing on the bed to create more wrinkles in areas that you have already pressed, doubling the work that you have to do to get a smooth garment.

6. Washing Machine

White, topload washing machine with a quick wash function.Source: Home Depot

Pros

  • Located right in the laundry room, ironing on the washing machine is very quick and effective.
  • The washing machine is at the right height for ironing, making it very easy on the back.
  • While you can iron on the washing machine without a towel for protection, if you work quickly, you can use the metal of the machine to your advantage. This will help you quickly iron any garment without wrinkles.

Cons

  • The metal of the machine conducts heat and can burn someone. This means that the person ironing needs to work very quickly to ensure that they don’t hurt themselves during ironing.
  • The hot washing machine will hold heat for a while, making it important to keep children away from it.

7. Flat Iron

Mini flat iron with printed red roses which can be used to smooth and crease apparelSource: Hayneedle

Pros

  • Many women already own a flat iron and it can be used to quickly get out small wrinkles in clothing.
  • Perfect for problem areas such as cuffs, collars, and around buttons.
  • Lower settings are perfect even on more delicate fabric.
  • It does not require any sort of surface, making it the most portable choice.

Cons

  • It can ruin garments if the flat iron still has hair products on it so it needs to be perfectly cleaned before ever touching clothing.
  • It is not great for ironing large areas of fabric as it is so small.

Click here for a great list of flat irons.





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