How to Iron Without an Ironing Board — A Guide

An ironing board is a valuable ironing tool that is designed to make the process of ironing clothes easier, faster, and more effective and enjoyable by providing a suitable surface to lay your clothes while ironing. This is why many people swear by it and use it often.

But what do you do in a situation where you have to iron without an ironing board?

It could be that your board is broken and hasn’t been taken for repairs yet, or maybe you do not have enough space to store one, or you don’t have much need for it anyway, hence you don’t own any.

It might also be that you just can’t afford one right now or perhaps, you’re on a trip and need to press some clothes but there is no ironing board around that you can use.

Whatever your reason might be, we can tell confidently tell you this: “no ironing board, no worries!”. Just rest assured that by the end of this article, you will be able to get your ironing done quite effectively without an ironing board.

How? Keep reading.

Ironing Without An Ironing Board

What are the ways you can iron without an ironing board?

You can iron without an ironing board by:

1. Using a flat surface.

2. Using an ironing blanket.

3. Using a cloth steamer.

1. Use A Flat Surface

Before the invention of ironing boards (big kudos to the inventor, Sarah Boone) people still got their clothes nicely pressed, and while the situation might not be ideal, and the outcome might not be exactly the same as with an ironing board, the job got done.

What can you use instead of an ironing board?

You can simply use a flat and firm, heat resistant surface like a wooden, metal or tiled tabletop, floor, kitchen or bathroom counter, or even your bed to iron. You can also use a wooden plank (large enough) to iron by placing it in between two chairs.

Now, whichever you use, you want to make sure that the surface is clean, dry, smooth, and flat, as dirty and wet surfaces can stain your clothes, while uneven ones will only introduce more wrinkles into your clothes and make the ironing process extra difficult. If ironing on your bed, remove the duvet first, as the padding makes for an uneven surface.

How can you prevent your iron from damaging your ironing surface?

You should never iron directly on the surface, but instead, place 1 or 2 layers of heat resistant material like wool or linen before ironing. You can also use a thick towel or blanket. This will provide a cushioning effect, similar to the padding of an ironing board while protecting both the ironing surface and your cloth and allowing heat to pass through.

Avoid surfaces covered with plastic or carpeted surfaces because they can melt due to the heat from the iron. If you have no other choice, however, pile on as many layers of heat resistant clothes as possible to serve as a buffer between the surface and the iron.

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Once sorted, lay your cloth on top and iron as you would on an ironing board. Most importantly, always take great care when ironing to avoid scorching your clothes or injuring yourself.

That said, we advise that you only use the floor to iron when there’s no other option, especially if you have mobility issues. The floor would require you to kneel or crouch low, which can take a toll on your joints and muscles. Go for a countertop or a table that is high enough instead.

2. Use An Ironing Blanket

Not only is an ironing blanket super useful, but it is also versatile and easy to move around. In fact, you can invest in one that you can carry about on trips or use for a quick touch up on your clothes at home, for days when you can’t be bothered to set up your ironing board (if you have one).

An ironing blanket is well padded and can convert almost any surface into an ironing board, even your bed. Some people even drape the blanket over the dryer or washing machine top for use anytime.

Ironing blankets are readily available in local stores or online sites like, and you can opt for one that comes with magnetic lining, which will stick to the surface and won’t slip off or shift around while you’re ironing. And once done, you simply roll up or fold into a drawer or your travel luggage.

YQMAJIM Ironing Blanket Ironing Mat,Upgraded Thick Portable Travel Ironing Pad,Isolate Heat Pad Cover for Washer,Dryer,Table Top,Countertop,Ironing Board for Small Space-19 x 33 inch

3. Use A Cloth Steamer

With a clothes steamer, you can melt wrinkles out of garments quickly and easily without needing an ironing board or even a pressing iron.

Moreso, a clothes steamer (handheld) is relatively easier to take along on trips and/or store anywhere than an iron. It also lessens the risk of scorching your clothes and is suitable for fabrics like polyester, silk, satin, and other heat-sensitive materials.

How can you use a cloth steamer to remove wrinkles from your clothes?

Just hang up your wrinkled cloth, fill the steamer reservoir with water, and plug into a power source to heat up. Once ready, direct the steam at your cloth to melt the creases away. Allow to dry and you are all set to don your cloth.

Note that using a steamer will only deliver a wrinkle-free garment, and not necessarily a crisp one, so a pressing iron is still your best bet if you’re going for the sharply pressed, starched and crisp look for your shirts, or well-placed side creases for your pants.

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 4. Use a Hair Straightener

There are times when you need just a quick fix to straighten out small cloth areas and edges like hems, collars, cuffs, etc. If you own a hair straightener, you already have a good tool in your hands for this.

How can you use your hair straightener to remove wrinkles from your clothes?

You can lay the cloth on your bed or a clean table or even straighten from a hanger. Heat up the straightener, close over the wrinkled area and slide gently across.

Ensure that you wipe off all hair product residue on the straightener first to avoid staining your cloth.

Removing Wrinkles Without Ironing

Now, what if you can’t access a pressing iron in the first place, let alone use an ironing board? Well, we’ve got some tricks that can help you de-wrinkle your clothes without touching an iron.

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These tricks include the dryer trick, spraying your clothes with water or a de-wrinkling spray, rolling up the cloth, steaming in the bath, etc.

Interested in learning more about these tricks? Get detailed steps on how to do them in our article on how to have wrinkle-free clothes without ironing.  If you also do dress shirts a lot then you may want to read this detailed article on how to wash dress shirts without ironing.

Video: 5 Ways To De-wrinkle Clothes Without An Iron

Check out this video to learn 5 tricks on how to remove creases from your clothes without ironing.

For more ironing tips, check these articles:


While an ironing board is an important ironing tool, you can still manage to get by without using one if such situations arise. One way to do this is by ironing on a flat and even surface, such as on the floor, on a table, counter, washing machine, bed, and the likes.

Ensure that the surface is clean, dry, and well covered with heat resistant cloth or thick towel before you set about ironing.

If you want a more compact and versatile option, then you can make use of an ironing blanket or mat.

There are also lots of creative ways you can get wrinkles out of clothes without ironing at all. They include spraying with water, steaming, etc.

Meanwhile, if you eventually decide to get an ironing board for yourself, you can check out our detailed guide on how to buy a good ironing board or go the DIY route by making an ironing board yourself.

How to Iron Without an Ironing Board — Related FAQs

Do you really need an ironing board?

You do not really need an ironing board. You can use any flat surface that is firm. The firmer the surface you use, the sharper the creases on your garments will be.

You can use a table, a dryer, a kitchen counter, or a smooth floor to iron instead of an ironing board.

Remember to use an ironing pad or a thick towel to cover the board whenever you want to use the surface. This will prevent your cloth from being stained by the ironing surface. It will also prevent the heat from the iron from damaging the ironing surface.

Can you use cardboard as an ironing board?

You can use cardboard as an ironing board, but you have to do the following:

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1.    Cut out the cardboard to the size of the ironing board you want.

2.    You can glue an old towel or foam over it to function as padding.

3.    To avoid the cardboard from getting soggy due to the moisture from your steam iron, wrap it with an aluminum foil.

4.    Cover the padded cardboard with heat-resistant cotton fabric.

5.    Hold the cover fabric in place using a drawstring or staples.

How do I choose an ironing board?

To choose an ironing board, consider the following features:

1.    It should be sturdy and lightweight. You should be able to lift it comfortably without stress or help.

2.    The stand should have a 4-point contact with the floor and wide enough for proper stability.

3.    The ironing board cover should be made of cotton and can be washed easily.

4.    The ironing pad should be thick enough to provide cushioning and should be able to absorb steam during ironing.

5.    You can consider ironing with a Teflon or silicone cover. They are easier to clean and maintain than the cotton ironing board covers. They are also smoother and are resistant to heat and stains.

Are wooden ironing boards good?

Wooden ironing boards are as strong, durable, and useful as the steel ironing boards. However, here are some facts you should know about wooden ironing boards:

1.    They are usually heavier than the metal ironing boards and are more stable. They hardly wobble after frequent use, unlike the metal boards.

2.    Over time, a wooden ironing board will absorb a lot of moisture from the wet ironing and become soggy. However, this can be prevented if the wood is covered by a moisture-resistant material.

3.    Wooden ironing boards do not reflect heat to the garment being ironed. This makes ironing easier on the steel ironing board than on the wooden ironing boards.

Is ironing bad for clothes?

Ironing is not bad for clothes. The reason people see ironing in a bad light is because of the improper use of the iron. If the correct temperature for your cloth is set, minimal or no damage will be done to it.

Over time, ironing can actually destroy some delicate fabrics like polyester and silk. But for natural fabrics like cotton and linen, ironing does not cause much damage.

To reduce this damage done to clothes by ironing, you can use a cloth steamer to remove wrinkles from your clothes.

Other ways you remove wrinkles from clothes without an iron is by hanging them in the bathroom while having a warm bath or by spraying water and drying with a hairdryer.

Why do ironing boards have holes?

Ironing boards have holes in them that serve as vents. They are designed to allow the steam and excess heat generated by ironing to escape.

However, these vent holes can form impressions on the garment being ironed. To prevent this, adequate padding should be provided between the ironing board and the cloth.

For proper padding, you can use a cotton quilt, a large towel, or wool fabric. Place a piece of protective cotton fabric over the padding to avoid direct contact with the padding material.

Do you need a special ironing board for a steam generator iron?

You can use a steam iron on any type of ironing board. But there are some ironing boards that are designed for steam irons.

The special features of ironing boards for steam irons are:

1.    Wider board surface for more stability.

2.    Sturdy iron rest to bear the weight of the steam iron.

3.    Non-slip stands to bear the weight of the iron and folded clothes.

4.    Adjustable height that allows you to use it at your convenient height.

5.    Child lock that will prevent the board from collapsing under the weight of the steam iron.

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