Keeping clothes wrinkle-free while compressing them into their smallest possible form and carting them halfway around the world is no small task. Nevertheless, if we want to visit that fancy restaurant, enjoy that local play, be admitted to that cousin's wedding, drag ourselves to that important business meeting, or mingle with high society in the hopes of meeting a single, wealthy philanthropist (hey, it could happen), wrinkle-free packing is, unfortunately, a challenge that must be surmounted.
If you've become a little too acquainted with Mr Wrinkle on your last few trips, don't worry. Seasoned travellers at the Scrubba wash bag are here to provide their top tips for both preventing clothes from wrinkling in your suitcase and easily removing the creases that do appear, keeping your outfits looking crisp and fresh, from luggage to final location.
Keep Clothes from Wrinkling in Your Luggage
The best way to handle travel clothing is to prevent it from becoming wrinkled in the first place. Keep your outfits looking presentable and avoid wrinkled clothes with these packing tips:
Invest in clothing that is naturally wrinkle-free
A foolproof method for minimising wrinkles in your travel clothing is to choose wrinkle-resistant, synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. If you're not keen to add to your travel wardrobe, you can easily test whether the garments you already own are prone to wrinkles by lightly scrunching them prior to packing. If they crease immediately and if the creases can't be shaken out in a couple of minutes, you should consider alternative outfit options.
Check the fabric
If you prefer to travel with a diverse range of fabrics, the easiest way to keep your clothes from wrinkling in your luggage is to recognise that different materials respond differently to various methods of care. This can make it necessary to adopt a multifaceted packing approach when it comes time for your next trip. A general rule to keep in mind when considering how best to pack your suitcase is that light and heavy fabrics, such as silk and wool, or fabrics that are prone to creasing, benefit the most from folding, while everything in between, such as cotton, generally prefers to be rolled. Rolling clothes for packing carries the added benefit of utilising space more effectively and keeping your case organised and compact, making it a great choice for anyone who wants to learn how to pack light.
Limit the amount of time you spend wearing special outfits
If you only need to keep a couple of classier outfits wrinkle-free for special events, the rest of your luggage likely consists of more casual clothes that are less important and easier to launder. Reserve your special outfits for the occasions you packed them for and wear the more casual, durable clothing that you don’t necessarily mind wrinkling or staining while lounging around your accommodation or exploring the streets.
Use dry cleaner bags
Dry cleaner bags make for a wrinkle-free suitcase by reducing friction. Select the garments you most need to preserve and stick to one item per bag for the best results. Your clothes should arrive in the same state in which you packed them, making it easy to hit the ground running with a new outfit if necessary.
Hang clothes on arrival
As soon as you arrive at your destination, remove your clothes from your suitcase and hang them up to keep them from becoming wrinkled or at least to avoid worsening any existing creases. This is where our Scrubba inflatable hangers can come in really handy! Designed to be inflated and deflated as needed and weighing a mere 33g (~1.16oz), they add virtually no bulk or weight to your pack, yet are capable of reaching an impressive size when fully inflated. This enables them to separate the fabric of clothes more effectively than a standard hanger, minimising fabric creasing and reducing the need to iron.
Remove Wrinkles from Clothes While Travelling
As much as we may strive to avoid wrinkles while packing, sometimes the fates just don't look kindly upon our efforts - or they have a twisted sense of humour! We've all likely experienced the bitter frustration of pulling out a neatly packed shirt only to discover a wrinkled mess that looks like it's been worn skydiving on a hot day and then left to air-dry in a salty sea breeze. While you may be tempted to burn the offending shirt on the spot and dash to the shops for a replacement, don't panic - at least not immediately. These quick and easy de-wrinkling methods should help you to remove the wrinkles without an iron, restoring your clothes to their original, presentable state.
Sometimes it Pays to Dampen Your Style
For a quick de-wrinkling fix, place your clothes on a clean, flat surface, then dampen a towel and use it to to smooth out offending areas by gently pulling them taut. If you have one handy, you can also use a hair dryer to remove wrinkles from clothing. Simply hang the damp clothes or lay them flat, then direct heat from the hair dryer towards the wrinkled areas while using your free hand to smooth and pull the fabric. Just be careful to avoid using a high heat or holding the dryer too close, as this can scorch your clothing.
You Don't Need an Iron to Have a Steamy Affair
No iron, no problem. Depending on your accommodation, you may be able to utilise steam from other tools. One of my favourite iron-less techniques consists of hanging wrinkled clothes in the bathroom so that they’re passively exposed to the de-wrinkling properties of steam from the shower. This is a great idea if you're pressed for time, as it enables you to get ready while the steam works its magic and removes those unsightly wrinkles. For the best results, it's important to hang clothes as close as possible to the shower, to keep all doors closed for a steamier environment, and to smooth the clothes out with your hands afterwards. Alternatively, you could rely on a faithful kettle to help remove wrinkles from your clothes. Wait until it's happily boiling away, hold your shirt close to its billowing steam, then reward your efforts with a nice cup of soothing tea - just be sure not to spill it on your fresh threads!
Bring the Heat
It doesn't take much to create a makeshift iron capable of keeping your clothes wrinkle-free while travelling. For small wrinkles and unsightly shirt collars, the easiest de-wrinkling tool is a flat iron or similar hair styling instrument. For larger areas, try boiling a pot of water on the stove, then remove the water and use the pot's hot base to smooth the fabric. Although these methods can be extremely effective, you need to exercise care to avoid burning either yourself or your clothes and should always work with lower heat where possible.
Release Those Wrinkles
Try investing in a wrinkle-release spray, especially if you travel frequently and struggle to keep your clothes from wrinkling in your luggage. You can also quickly make your own wrinkle-release spray using equal parts water and vinegar. The recipe is so simple and uses such common ingredients that this option is actually one of the easiest iron-less techniques available.
The Bottom Line of Packing a Wrinkle-Free Case
Whether you lack easy access to an iron or are simply trying to save yourself some time, these wrinkle-free packing tips should help you keep clothes from creasing in your luggage on your next trip. Just remember to carefully consult the care label before you try out any of these techniques and don't be afraid to mix and match methods until you find the one that suits you and your favourite fabrics. Perfect for business travellers or anyone who takes a certain amount of pride in their personal image, these tips will help you smooth out your packing strategy and hit the ground running without any wrinkled clothing holding you back!