great ironing board alternatives

6 Perfect Ironing Board Alternatives

If you have an iron but don’t have an ironing board (or don’t have room for one), you don’t need to put up with wrinkled clothes. You can substitute other household surfaces as ironing board alternatives to get the job done.

With extra care, you can use household counters, tables, the bed, or even the floor as a makeshift ironing board for ironing your clothes. There are even ways to get rid of nasty wrinkles without an iron too.

Find out how you can keep your clothes looking good and wrinkle-free without with our expert list of ironing board alternatives.

Makeshift Ironing Board Alternatives

1. Ironing Blanket or Ironing Pad

ironing clothes on ironing mat

Ironing blankets are designed to be used on a flat surface so they’re a perfect ironing board alternative. They are heat resistant, lightweight and quick, and easy to store.

Some ironing blankets or ironing pads even have magnets on the back, so they won’t slip, which is ideal if you use the washer or dryer as an ironing board.

For the best results, an ironing blanket should be used whenever you iron your clothes on another household surface. But you can still iron your clothes even if you don’t have an ironing blanket or ironing pad by using a thick towel or blanket to protect the surface.

2. Top of Washer or Dryer

Using the top of your washer or dryer as an ironing board alternative is easy if you have a magnetic ironing blanket. Just place the blanket on the top and iron as you would on an ironing board. The magnets keep the ironing blanket in place, so you never need to worry about slipping.

The top of the washer or dryer is convenient because they are generally at a convenient height for ironing and do not cause back strain or pain like using the floor or bed as an ironing surface.

If you have a small laundry room, or your washer and dryer are in a small nook where there isn’t enough room to use an ironing board conveniently, the top of your washer or dryer is a great substitute as well.

3. Kitchen or Bathroom Counters

Countertops can serve as a convenient, makeshift alternative to an ironing board. Because they are solid and rigid, they work well for ironing or pressing clothes when you need a sharp seam. However, you do need to take extra precautions to protect their surface, as the heat and steam from your iron can damage the countertop.

Fold a large towel or blanket and cover the area you intend to use for ironing. Leave room for setting the iron down, too. If space is limited, use a folded dish towel or pot holder to sit the iron on.

4. Kitchen Table

kitchen table as ironing board alternative

The kitchen table is also ironing board substitute because it’s at a comfortable height. But, like your countertop, the surface can be damaged from heat and steam, too. It is vital to cover the table with a thick towel or blanket before using it as an ironing board.

5. The Floor

If you find yourself away from home with no countertops available and need to touch up your clothes with a hot iron, the floor is always an alternative ironing board option. This applies to wood, tile, or carpet, but the floor needs protection, too.

Use a thick towel or blanket as a protective pad before trying to iron clothes on the floor.

6. Your Bed

You can use the bed as an ironing surface for a quick touchup. Because it is soft and not rigid like the floor or counters, the bed isn’t a good choice if you need to iron a sharp crease or have wrinkled collars and rolled edges.

The bed works best for smoothing out wrinkles in casual wear, like tees and sweats. Cover the bed with a folded towel or blanket to avoid damaging the mattress or delicate bedspreads.

Do You Really Need an Ironing Board?

An ironing board makes ironing more manageable, but it isn’t essential. You can iron your clothes on any solid surface, like a countertop or table, as long as you protect it with a thick towel or blanket.

How to Iron a Shirt Without an Ironing Board

  1. Cover a solid, flat surface, like a table or countertop, with a thick towel or blanket to protect it. The bed or a carpeted floor may not be solid enough to press collars, cuffs, and hems.
  2. Place the shirt on top of the towel and iron it on the appropriate setting for the shirt.
  3. Position the collar near the edge of the ironing surface and press it gently to make a crisp seam.
  4. Repeat the procedure with pockets, cuffs, and hems.
  5. Finish by ironing the shirt panels to remove the wrinkles.

How to Iron a Dress Without an Ironing Board

  1. Choose a solid flat surface, such as a table, countertop, or the top of the washer or dryer. A bed or carpeted floor needs to be more solid to make crisp seams or to iron around buttonholes or other decorative features.
  2. Cover the ironing surface with a thick towel or blanket. A white or light-colored towel is preferred to prevent color from bleeding from the steam.
  3. Begin by ironing the collar, yoke, hems, and pockets.
  4. Finish by ironing the body of the dress. This works for ironing a skirt as well.

How Can I Iron in a Hotel Room Without an Iron?

If you find yourself in a hotel room without an iron, steam is an excellent alternative for removing wrinkles from your clothes. Turn on the shower and let the hot water run until the bathroom is steamy.

Hang your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom and let the steam dissolve the wrinkles.

How to Remove Wrinkles Without an Iron

Steam Out Wrinkles:

steaming instead of ironing

As an alternative to ironing, steam works wonders on lightly wrinkled clothes and doesn’t require any fussing from you. Take advantage of the miraculous power of steam to de-wrinkle your clothes and eliminate the need for ironing.

  • Hang clothes in the bathroom – Hanging lightly wrinkled clothes in the bathroom after a hot shower can dissolve wrinkles and leave your clothes looking fresh. If you are steaming several items, be sure to allow plenty of room between items to allow the steam to circulate and moisten the clothes to relax the wrinkles.
  • Use a steamer – Handheld steamers come in a variety of sizes and styles and can be an effective way to remove wrinkles from your clothes. Use care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging your clothes from the steam. The goal is to allow hot steam to penetrate the fabric as it wafts over your clothes. Avoid applying the steam directly to delicate fabrics.

Use the Dryer:

  • Hang clothes immediately – Tossing your clothes in a laundry basket when they come out of the dryer causes wrinkles to form. Neglecting them for even a few minutes will often set the wrinkles. To avoid wrinkled clothes, hang your clothes immediately when the dryer stops.
  • Use the de-wrinkle cycle – Some dryers have a de-wrinkle feature. If you are lucky enough to have a dryer with a de-wrinkle cycle, by all means, use it to remove wrinkles. If you don’t have a de-wrinkle cycle, all is not lost. You can still use your dryer to remove wrinkles from your clothes.
  • Dry them with a damp towel – Moisten a clean, white towel and toss it in the dryer with the clothes you want to de-wrinkle. Set the dryer to low heat and run for 10 to 15 minutes. The damp towel’s moisture and gentle heat will help release wrinkles.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I Use a Towel as an Ironing Board?

You can use a towel as an ironing board if you put it on a flat, solid surface like a countertop or table. Choose a white or light-colored towel to prevent colors from bleeding from the heat and steam.

Can I Use Cardboard as an Ironing Board?

Heavy corrugated cardboard can be used under the towel when ironing on a soft surface, like a bed or a carpeted floor. This provides more rigidity and makes ironing seams, cuffs, and hems easier.

Can I Iron on Wood?

Ironing on wooden surfaces does pose some risk to the wood, but it can be done as long as you protect the wood with a double layer of thick towels or a heavy blanket. Use the coolest setting that adequately irons the fabric.

Can I Iron on a Carpet?

You can iron on a carpeted floor to remove wrinkles from casual or active wear clothing, but it isn’t easy to press sharp seams or iron hems and cuffs as the carpeted floor as it is soft and doesn’t provide the support a table or countertop does.

Always use a folded towel or blanket when ironing on the carpet to prevent damage to the carpet.

Can I Iron on a Bed?

Like carpeting, the bed is a soft surface and can be used to smooth out lightly wrinkled clothes like tee shirts and casual wear, but it isn’t well-suited for pressing seams, hems, and cuffs. Use a folded towel or blanket to protect the bed coverings and mattress when ironing.

Final Thoughts on Ironing Board Alternatives

An iron and an ironing board may be the traditional way to remove wrinkles from your clothes, but there are always alternatives — from finding another surface to iron on to letting steam do the work of removing the wrinkles. Using an alternative also save you the trouble of having to close your ironing board and put it away.

Ironing Tutorials:

Ken Lyons
Ken Lyons is one of the founding members of Cleaner Digs. He is also the senior editor and contributing author. Ken has owned and operated two cleaning companies in the past: one commercial and one that serviced residential customers. He writes for Clean Digs to share his professional expertise on cleaning and organization. He's been a fastidious cleaning nut and writing about it for more than a decade.