Is It Better to Iron Clothes Wet or Dry?

I’m all for short cuts, and this is one ironing hack that will save you LOTS of time. Believe it or not, there is an ideal washing, drying, and ironing process, but it’s not always possible because of time demands and unpredictable weather. Despite this, we’re exploring this perfect world scenario which includes less time spent ironing using a little trick.

Is it better to iron clothes wet or dry? Ironing clothes wet is better than ironing them dry. Dry clothing makes it much more difficult to remove wrinkles when ironing, whereas damp fabric is easier to reshape and requires less heat and time to attain a perfectly ironed finish.

Timing is a key component. It’s difficult to tell when clothing will be ‘almost dry’ without using a clothes dryer, but it’s not a precise science so there’s room to move.

How Wet is Wet and Dry is Dry?

Ironing Wet Clothing

Clothing should not be dripping wet. If garments have just come out of the washing machine, they should have gone through a spin cycle to remove most of the water.

Ironing will help wet clothes dry faster, but not completely. Wrinkle can be ironed out in record time but then the ironing is complete, the garment will need to be left to air dry.

Damp or Slightly Wet Clothing

This is the ideal sweet spot! Damp clothing has just enough moisture left in the fabric to allow the heat from the iron to reshape and smooth out creases. The heat from the iron also causes the remaining moisture in the garment to evaporate and it is left almost perfectly dry and ready to be packed away.

This stage is the most time-efficient as clothing does not need to dry further or be remoistened to get the perfect finish.

Dry Clothing

This is an obvious one. When there is no moisture in the fabric and it feels crisp, it’s considered dry. Dry clothing should ideally be remoistened. A hotter iron and more passes with the iron are needed to get effective results. We have included a few tips below if you’re unsure how to get a more effective iron for dry fabrics.

If you have a large amount of ironing to do every week, there is an even better way to handle an overwhelming ironing load… wet or dry! Check out our review of the best steam generator irons. This machine is ironing on a different level, the steam is pressurized so penetrates fabrics at an impressive rate and you don’t have to repeatedly fill the water tank. Game changer!

The Benefit of Ironing Damp Clothing

Ironing Damp Clothes Helps Them Dry Faster

We all want to get the laundry done as quickly and painlessly as possible. The heat from the iron will help dry the garment so it will be ready to pack away or wear sooner.

Excellent for Apartment Living

If you don’t have an outside drying area or a clothes dryer, you won’t want clothes drying all over the apartment. Especially in winter, it takes clothes longer to dry and you don’t want them taking too long to drying and developing that faint mildew smell.

Ironing Damp Fabric Remove Wrinkles Quicker

Wrinkles just melt away when ironing damp fabrics as the crease has not set in the drying process. As a result, you’ll spend a lot less time at the ironing board.

Ironing Preparation for Wet and Dry Garments

There are several pre-ironing practices that can cut down on the time spent steaming away creases and they also mean your clothing is less exposed to elements that could cause them to age prematurely.

These simple steps will reduce the amount of time you need to spend working out stubborn wrinkles with the steam iron. There are even ways you can make your clothes neat without ironing at all.

  1. Before you even start ironing, shake out the garment to help straighten out any bunching from the wash and spin cycle.
  2. If you have a dryer, select a short tumble-dry cycle. Place your freshly machine washed clothing in the machine and when they are partly dried, hang the garments on hangers. The dryer should be used sparingly to prolong the life of your clothing…and the environment. (Did you know that the clothes dryers are the second-highest energy-consuming appliance after the refrigerator?)
  3. If you line dry your clothing, smooth them out as much as possible to remove any major creases.
  4. Prepare to steam iron your clothing as soon as they come out the dryer or off the line. If they are tossed into the laundry basket while warm, they will cool and crease in their crumpled position.

How Do You Moisten Already Dry Clothing?

Over-dried your clothing? If you’ve forgotten the laundry in the dryer longer than expected or clothes on the washing line have been baking in the sun too long, don’t fret, the problem can quickly be fixed.

Before ironing, you can moisten the clothing slightly, here’s how.

  • Spray creases areas with a spray bottle.
  • Use the spray feature on the front of your steam iron to dampen the material ahead of the ironing stroke.
  • Moisten an ironing cloth and use it as a barrier over the dried fabric. The moisture in the cloth will transfer into the fabric and relax the wrinkles.
  • Hang the garment in a steamy bathroom where the shower or bath has just been run before ironing

Using a steam iron will also help moisten the fabric and remove wrinkles in record time.

Could Dry Ironing be Better?

As a loyal and devout “Team Steam” supporter, my belief is that dry ironing is a more old fashioned way to do a job that the modern steam ironing has mastered. Not only has the steam iron replaced the traditional iron, but it outperforms it in speed and effectiveness.

Some would argue that a dry iron is the only way to go to achieve a crisp fresh looking shirt and I’d agree that a dry pressed collar is hard to beat. In this case, why not use the best of both worlds. Modern steam irons not only steam iron, but they also dry iron. So if you prefer to use a dry iron on cuffs and collars, then do so, and for the bulk of the shirt, you can power it with wrinkle vaporizing steam.

In Conclusion

Even if you are ironing with the latest and greatest iron on the market, you don’t need to spend unnecessary time behind the ironing board. Laundry is a simple process that feels overwhelming if you don’t know a few shortcuts.

We have superior technology on our side, something our parents didn’t have and these modern conveniences help make the mundane less painful. The more time we save on these basic tasks, the more time we have to spend doing the things we love.