If you're short for time, skip de-wrinkling a shirt hem you are tucking in.

How to De-Wrinkle a Shirt

by Grace Riley

Almost every woman has been preparing for a professional or social engagement, only to discover that wrinkles have ravaged her shirt. A clean, crisp appearance communicates you are a competent person, which is an important message to send in any area of life. There are a variety of ways you can remedy a wrinkle crisis or at least improve the situation, regardless of where you are.

If you are pressed for time, focus on the parts of your shirt that will be visible to others. Don’t bother smoothing areas such as the bottom hem of a shirt if you are only going to tuck it into your pants or skirt.

Iron the shirt with a clothes iron, if at all possible. Check the care label for ironing dos and don'ts, as not all materials are safe to iron. If you don't have access to an ironing board, lay a towel on a counter and iron on the covered surface. Try a flat iron if you don’t have a clothes iron available. Wipe the plates of the iron with a damp towel as it preheats to remove any hair products. While a flat iron may function like the next-best thing to a regular iron, it has limits -- its shape will restrict you to only ironing the edges of the garment such as the collar, cuffs and placket.

Turn your shower on to the hottest setting possible. Hang the shirt on a hanger in the bathroom and close the door all the way. Leave the shirt in the bathroom for at least two or three minutes, if you can. After several minutes of steaming, remove the shirt from the bathroom and turn off the shower. The shirt may be slightly damp. Smooth it with your hands and as it air-dries, pull the fabric taut to keep wrinkles from reappearing.

Make a solution with equal parts water and fabric softener, and put it in a clean spray bottle. Hang the shirt on a hanger and place it on a hook or door. Mist the shirt with the solution and sooth the fabric with your hand as you spray. Shape the collar appropriately. Continue to smooth the material with your hands as you allow the shirt to air-dry.

Apply water and heat in any form they are available, as long as the techniques are reasonable. In lieu of fabric softener, mist the shirt with plain water and pull the fabric taut as you dry it with a hairdryer set on high heat. If you don’t have a spray bottle, flick water on the shirt with your fingers. If there isn't a hairdryer available, use a hand-dryer in a restroom or the vent of a heater. If you are in a public or communal place, leave your shirt on and pull the fabric taut away from your body as you attempt to dry it.

Items you will need

  • Shirt
  • Iron
  • Towel
  • Hair flat iron
  • Shower
  • Hanger
  • Spray bottle
  • Fabric softener
  • Water
  • Hairdryer or other heated air source


  • Check the shirt’s care label before applying any liquid to the fabric. If it is labelled “dry clean only,” be very cautious about using liquid - even water - on the material.

About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images