Tips to get wrinkle free pants

Tips to get wrinkle free pants

Q. My old permanent press pants came out of the dryer ready to wear. They did not need ironing. But when I have bought no-iron pants recently, they always appear wrinkled out of the dryer. I don’t know why they have changed them; is there a place to find the old version and/or a way to wash the new ones that will leave them looking pressed? 

A. The truth is that the new wrinkle-free processes/fabrics are better than the old permanent-press as a solution to easy-care. Today’s fabrics feel more like natural fibers and the finish lasts. Those older permanent-press pants had a much higher percentage of polyester and a lot less cotton. My regular readers know that I have a prejudice in favor of all-natural or close to all-natural fabrics and that I dislike the feel of most man-made fabrics. 

All-cotton fabrics and cotton-rich fabrics have advantages over synthetics, such as their comfort and breathability, their ability to control moisture, to insulate, and to be hypoallergenic. Cotton is naturally absorbent and doesn’t show perspiration as synthetics do; it helps keep you dry naturally. It doesn’t pill. Since it doesn’t retain odors like oil-based fabrics and you don’t have to wash it as often, cotton clothes will last longer.

But for today’s no-iron pants to look good, you must take a few precautions. (Was someone else doing your laundry in those good old days?)

My own unscientific, informal survey – of men who do their own laundry – reveals that, after they remove their clothes from the washer and put them in the dryer, they either go to bed or go off to work. The problem is that the dry pants are then left waiting in the dryer for hours; during which time the weight of the fabric upon itself causes new wrinkles to develop from sheer gravity. 

Still, there is a simple solution to the problem: when the drying cycle is complete, do not let the pants sit. Take them out of the dryer immediately, and hang them up. Even draping them over a chair back or a chest of drawers will work in a pinch; but for the very closest to a fresh-pressed look, follow this routine:

  1. Be available just as the drying cycle is complete (is that too unrealistic?)
  2. Take a few seconds to line up the pants’ legs so the crease on each one is where it belongs
  3. Rather than hanging them on the usual bar-type pants hangers, use quality clamp-type hangers to hang your trousers “long” (with the clamps grasping the bottom cuff ends) so their own weight will help them to “press themselves.” 

Some all-cotton and cotton-blend fabrics are more wrinkle-resistant than others. Some don’t require ironing at all; others need ironing or, at least, some light “touching up” with an iron. If you do decide on cotton pants that need some ironing, here is a useful tip: clothes respond best to ironing (that is, they iron more easily and they look far better) if they are taken out of the dryer a bit early and then ironed while they are still slightly damp. 

This method is not quite as effective as having your own personal British man-servant named Jeeves, but it is a whole lot cheaper – not to mention much easier than ironing dry, wrinkled clothes.

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