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How to keep your clothes wrinkle-free, according to experts

Wrinkles won't stand a chance against these expert tips and tricks.
Two women sitting on steps outdoors
Two women sitting on steps outdoorsVivian Le/ TODAY

We have plenty of tricks up our sleeves for preventing and treating facial wrinkles, but when it comes to wrinkles in our clothing, they’ve kind of become an inevitable fashion nuisance that we expect and begrudgingly accept. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Keeping your clothes wrinkle-free is a lot easier when you know how to fend off the clothing conundrum, so we consulted a mix of laundry, textile and organizing pros to find out what causes them and how to prevent them. We’re also sharing some handy products to help get you started!

Wrinkle-prone fabrics | Wrinkle-resistant fabrics | Common laundry mistakes | Common organization mistakes | How to prevent wrinkled clothes | Products to prevent wrinkled clothes | Wrinkle-free clothing picks | Meet the experts

What clothing fabrics are naturally prone to wrinkles?

We all have at least a few pieces of clothing that seem to wrinkle no matter how much we take care of them, and that’s simply because some fabrics are naturally more prone to wrinkles than others.

“Typically, garments that have a thinner fabric are more likely to wrinkle both in general and during the washing process, especially if using a heavy washing cycle. They are prone to creasing, as lines from folding can hold their shape and remain visible,” textile expert Frej Lewenhaupt told us.

Often, these materials are natural (versus synthetic) and they succumb to wrinkling during the laundry process. Here’s a quick cheat sheet of some materials that are most likely to wrinkle:

  • Silk
  • Satin
  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Cupro
  • Viscose

What clothing fabrics tend to stay wrinkle-free during the washing process?

According to Wayne Edelman, CEO of Meurice Garment Care and CLEAN by Meuriceathleisure items such as sweatpants, leggings, sweatshirts and clothing containing synthetic materials typically remain wrinkle-free.

Here’s a quick list of materials Lewenhaupt also recommends if you’re hoping to avoid wrinkles:

  • Polyester
  • Polyamide
  • Modal
  • Lyocell
  • Tencel
  • Nylon
  • Elastane

“Knitted garments made from wool, cashmere and merino are also more wrinkle-resistant when washing, but I recommend hand-washing or steaming rather than using the washing machine for these kinds of fabrics,” Lewenhaupt mentions.

What are some common laundry mistakes people make that cause wrinkles?

When you’re washing multiple garments made of varying materials, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to laundry. But there are a few common laundry mistakes you can avoid if you want to prevent wrinkles. Here are a few biggies:

  • Overloading the washing machine: “When loading a washing machine, you want to have enough clothes to prevent them from moving around too much, but also be careful to not overfill the machine,” Lewenhaupt says.
  • Not paying attention to the water temperature and spinning cycle: “Washing in too hot a temperature, over-spinning during extraction (especially with newer machines that have high extract G-forces) and leaving clothes in the washer once the cycle is finished will increase wrinkling,” Edelman notes.

What are some common organizing/clothing storage mistakes people make that cause wrinkles?

What you do to your clothes after they’re washed and dried can also influence whether or not they have wrinkles. According to professional organizer Mindy Godding, there are five main organizing and storage mistakes to avoid when it comes to keeping your garments crease-free:

  • Disjointed laundry routines: “[Avoid] storing clean, unfolded garments in the laundry basket or allowing freshly dried clothes to sit in the dryer for an extended amount of time. As the fabric cools, wrinkles will set. We usually see this happening when we’ve forgotten the laundry cycle or don’t have enough time to completely put clean clothes away.”
  • Tightly packed clothing storage: “When closets and dressers are overstuffed, hung and folded clothes are compressed tightly, making the fabrics more likely to wrinkle."
  • Poor quality hangers: “Plastic and wire clothing hangers allow garments to slide down. The lack of friction and severe rounded ends can cause shoulder ‘puckers’ as the garment is pulled down by gravity."
  • High stacks: “As more folded clothes are stacked on top of each other, the clothing on the bottom becomes crushed, causing creases to set into the fabric."
  • “The Chair: “It seems like everyone has that chair or bench in their bedroom that collects a pile of clothes that are not-quite-dirty, yet not-quite-clean. The longer clothing remains piled, the more wrinkled it will become."

How to prevent wrinkled clothes

Sick of wrinkles wrecking your look? Here are a few expert-approved ways to stop them before they even start:

  • Consider air drying: “Airing your garments outside will help unwanted odors disappear and can also remove some wrinkles on your clothes. This will also refresh your garments so you can wash them less frequently, allowing them to keep their shape and color much longer,” Lewenhaupt says.
  • Try steaming: “Steaming is a quick and easy way to keep your clothes fresh, smooth and wrinkle-free. Steaming not only smooths creases, but also removes unwanted odors and bacteria thanks to the hot steam,” Lewenhaupt adds.
  • Do a routine clothing edit: “I recommend going through your closets and dressers at least twice a year to evict items you have not worn or to switch out seasons. When you pare down to the essentials that you wear frequently and love, it’s much easier to care for your garments. Give clothing items space to breathe!” Godding notes.
  • Get creative with your closet organization: “Use closet rod doublers to increase the inches of closet rod for hanging,” Godding suggests. “Use shelf dividers to keep stacks from falling over or becoming crushed.”

Products to help prevent wrinkles

Whitmor Dryer Balls

Godding suggests tossing some textured dryer balls in with your laundry to fend off wrinkles during the drying process. These are ultra popular with Amazon shoppers and have over 6,600 verified five-star ratings. The reusable balls can also prevent static cling and soften laundry.

Smart Sheep Store Wool Dryer Balls

With over 51,000 verified five-star ratings backing them up, this bestseller comes well recommended and can last for up to 1,000 laundry loads, according to the brand. Lewenhaupt is a fan of using wool dryer balls and explains that they “help your laundry dry more evenly and prevent wrinkling.”

Brightroom Flocked Hangers

Sick of finding your garments on the floor of your closet? These non-slip hangers are made of a soft velvet material that keeps clothing in place and can be used for tops, bottoms and dresses alike. They’re available in three neutral hues (black, gray and white) and are ultra thin, meaning you can pack a whole bunch of them in a tight space.

Clothes Drying Rack

Lewenhaupt suggests air drying clothes whenever possible and said it’s a “gentler method that will make them last longer.” This bestseller has over 3,000 verified five-star ratings and collapses easily when not in use. It can be used to dry clothing, blankets and more and can even hold up to 200 pounds of weight, according to the brand.

PurSteam Professional Grade Steam Iron

“I recommend a product that is both a steamer and iron in one so you can achieve a pressed or more natural look,” Lewenhaupt tells us.

This two-in-one bestseller has over 24,000 verified five-star ratings and several handy features, including easy thermostat control, an automatic three-way shut-off system for safety and an anti-drip feature.

neatfreak! Steel Closet Rod

When clothing is hung too tightly together, it can bunch up and result in wrinkles. That’s why Godding is such a big fan of closet rod doublers since they increase the amount of hanging space you have. This one expands from 24 to 42 inches in length and creates a two-tiered system to help you maximize the space you do have. Brilliant, right?

Brightroom Zipper Fabric Storage Cubes

Much like a hanging clothing rack, storage cubes are perfect if you’re looking to stow away clothing for a few seasons. This set of two fabric storage cubes has built-in handles and top and front zippers, plus a clear front window. You can even stack them to maximize space.

Hmdivor Clear Acrylis Shelf Dividers

Even with the best of intentions, our careful folding can all come crashing down like a set of dominoes if we brush up against a pile the wrong way. But plastic shelf dividers help keep folded items locked in place and fend off wrinkles. This popular set is made of a clear acrylic material and is available in sets of six, eight and 10 pieces. If you end up liking them, they’re also perfect for organizing towels, shoes, purses and more!

Honey Can-Do Storage Closet

Working with a limited amount of closet space? Godding loves to store off-season clothing in a secondary space to free up room. This handy storage closet is perfect for winter coats or items you rarely wear and comes with a breathable fabric cover to keep dust at bay.

Wrinkle-resistant clothing to shop

Wrinkle-Free Button Down Shirt

When all else fails, you can always opt for clothing that’s intentionally made of wrinkle-free fabric, like this popular blouse that has over 1,500 five-star ratings on Amazon. It’s available in long and short sleeve varieties, a total of 15 colors and sizes XS-XXL.

Lee Wrinkle-Free Relaxed Fit Straight Leg

Over 8,000 Amazon shoppers have bestowed a five-star rating on these wrinkle-free pants and it’s easy to see why. The mid-rise, relaxed fit pants have a stretchy waist and slim pockets and they’re also available in seven colors. On top of that, they’re perfect for work and leisure, making them an affordable find you won’t want to miss out on.

L.L. Bean Wrinkle-Free Bayside Pants

These slightly fitted pants are made of a wrinkle-free fabric and also put a premium on comfort thanks to hidden elastic panels in the waist. The affordable find is available in regular and petite sizes ranging from 4-20 and four neutral colors that go with everything.

Lands' End Wrinkle-Free No Iron Sleeveless Shirt

Looking for your perfect sleeveless button-down top? Consider your quest complete. This one is made of a wrinkle-resistant, American-grown cotton material that’s farmed in a sustainable manner. The soft, machine-washable top is also available in three prints and a classic white hue.

Untuckit Wrinkle-Free Stretch Cotton Shirt

Crisp blouses are a versatile must-have, but they can quickly turn into a wrinkled mess. Luckily, this one is made of a wrinkle-resistant material that’ll keep you looking neat with no effort. It’s available in five colors and has two features we love: a stretchy cotton fabric and buttons that prevent pesky gaps.

Ann Taylor High-Waist Seamed Pencil Skirt

Thanks to its wrinkle-resistant material, you won’t have to worry about looking disheveled when you’re rocking this sleek pencil skirt. The stretchy skirt comes in sizes 00-18 and is available in regular, tall and petite sizes. We could see ourselves sporting it with a bright top and heels in the summer and a white blouse and booties in the cooler weather.

Chico's No Iron Linen Button Back Tunic

Sometimes, wrinkle-resistant styles lack creativity so when we find something with unique details like this back button tunic, we’re always thrilled. Available in two shades of blue, the no-iron linen top has relaxed three quarter-length sleeves, a breezy fit and would look equally fabulous tucked into shorts or worn over jeans.

Malta Travel Shirt Dress UPF 50+

Let’s be honest, none of us really have time to iron our clothes in the morning. If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to worry about wrinkles, this wrinkle-resistant fabric will be a godsend. The lightweight, breathable UPF 50+ material fends off harsh UV rays and wicks away moisture. It even has hidden side pockets to prevent pickpocketing.

Spanx Carefree Crepe Pleated Short

Wrinkles are often inevitable while traveling, especially since we’re all guilty of squishing our clothing together to make everything fit in a tiny suitcase. That’s where something like these pretty pleated shorts come in handy. They’re made of a lightweight crepe fabric and boast a satin interior that won’t cling to skin. The pull-on bottoms are also available in a plethora of sizes (XS-3X) and two colors (black and brown).

Meet the experts