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How to iron without an iron

From a hair dryer to the £249 Bosch FreshUp, we reveal how to freshen up your clothes if you don't have a steam iron

How to iron without an iron

We’ve all been there: you fetch your favourite outfit from the wardrobe, only to find it covered in creases.

If you have a steam iron, smoothing them shouldn’t be a problem. But if you don’t own an iron, or you’re stuck somewhere without one, what should you do?

Fortunately, there are other ways to get rid of wrinkles and freshen up your clothes. And while not all crease-busting hacks work – some cover your clothes in sticky stains, or leave you smelling like a fish and chip shop – some are definitely worth a try. This includes the Bosch FreshUp: a £249 gadget that claims to freshen up your clothes in seconds.

Read on to find out whether it’s as effective as other ironing alternatives, and if you’re in a hurry to fix your clothes check out the video below for the quickest ways to get rid of creases without an iron.


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Video: How to get rid of creases without an iron

Four alternatives to ironing

Steamy shower

Here are four tried-and-tested alternatives to ironing:

1. Steam your clothes in the shower

Close your bathroom window and run the shower as hot as possible. Hang your creased clothes on the front of the shower door, or in a place where they will get damp but not wet.

While the clothes are still damp, use your hands to smooth them out. Although this won’t get rid of deeper creases, it should be enough to fix most wrinkles.

2. Use a hair dryer

Dampen your clothes with a spray bottle – if you don’t have one, use your fingertips to flick water over the fabric. You want your garments to be wetted, not soaked.

Dial up the heat on your hair dryer and take aim at the creases. It’s best to use the nozzle if your hair dryer has one, as you can concentrate the hot air on the problem areas.

3. Use a crease release spray

It might sound too good to be true, but crease release sprays claim to get rid of wrinkles without any fuss. Most cost less than £3 per bottle.

Follow the packet instructions. Some consumers have warned that crease release sprays leave a slippery mess on carpets, so lay your clothes on a towel before spraying them, or take them outside, to avoid creating a hazard and ruining your floors.

4. Use the vertical steam function

While this isn’t an iron-free hack, the vertical steam function that comes with most irons is handy if you’re in a hurry – and means you don’t need an ironing board.

Fill the water tank as usual and then initiate the vertical steam mode. This allows you to tackle creases while your clothes are still in the wardrobe – just take care not to burn yourself.


Get more great crease-busting advice with our 10 ironing tips to get clothes looking their best.


Ironing hacks you should never try

Saucepan on hob

While it’s possible to get rid of creases without an iron, not all improvised irons work. In fact, some hacks could make wrinkles worse – and leave your clothes permanently damaged.

These are three ironing hacks you should avoid:

Using hair straighteners

Never use hair straighteners to tackle creases. Hair straighteners aren’t designed for use on fabrics, which means they might melt cotton fibres or burn through more delicate materials.

You also risk transferring sticky deposits from hair products to your clothes.

Smoothing your clothes with a saucepan

Some people suggest filling a saucepan with boiling water and using it to smooth creases like an iron. However, we’d recommend against this as you risk scalding yourself.

Plus, unless your pans are spotless underneath (and let’s be honest, whose are?) there’s a good chance you’ll stain your clothes with rust and dried-on grime.

Spraying vinegar on creases

If you ask the internet, vinegar is the answer to everything. But unless you want to smell like battered cod, there’s no good reason to spray vinegar on your clothes.

In fact, it’s more likely to damage fabrics than freshen them.


Find out what else you really shouldn’t clean with vinegar.


Bosch FreshUp: our first look review

Bosch FreshUp

If your clothes are minging as well as crumpled, the Bosch FreshUp is a £249 handheld gadget that claims to refresh garments in seconds.

As it doesn’t heat up, you can use it on the clothes you’re wearing. However, the lack of heat also means it struggles to shift creases – instead, it’s main strength is getting rid of odours.

How does it work?

It’s about the size of a glasses case, with a colour-changing exterior: white means it’s ready for action, purple means it’s in use, flashing purple means the fabric is too wet (the FreshUp is intended for use on dry fabrics) and red means something has gone wrong.

Rather than replacing the smell within clothes with a more overpowering pleasant scent, the FreshUp uses activated plasma particles to neutralise odour molecules. This means clothes don’t have that freshly laundered feel, although you’re free to re-apply your preferred scent if you have a spray bottle to hand.

We tried it on ponging pants, sweaty shirts and pungent pyjamas – it worked on all of them. 

It’s worth noting that the FreshUp can’t be used on leather or while clothes are still on the hanger; because you have to press firmly on the fabric, you can only use it while wearing the clothes or atop a firm surface, such as an ironing board.

Another gripe is that you can’t replace the battery yourself. This makes it unnecessarily complicated to change the battery should the run-time deteriorate or if the charging slows.

Should I buy it?

If you’re looking for a gadget to replace your iron, this isn’t it.

But that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless: we can imagine it would be helpful if you’re travelling light and don’t have access to a washing machine, or if you want to cut down on your washing machine use for environmental reasons.

However, at £250, you’ll have to decide whether that’s enough reason to buy it.


How to iron a shirt (plus 10 other tips to get your clothes looking their best)


Our latest steam iron reviews

Woman ironing fabric with steam iron

As always, prevention is better than cure. So avoid being caught out by getting yourself a good-quality steam iron. Check out our latest reviews to see which models we recommend:


See our full list of steam iron reviews.


Prices correct as of 18 October 2021.

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