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You’re planning a trip that requires you to bring along some business apparel, and you start to wonder: do all hotels have irons and ironing boards? Or should you buy a tabletop ironing set and pack it in the trunk instead?
Most hotels have an iron and ironing board that you can use for free, but this isn’t standard practice. However, if possible, you should avoid using hotel irons because they’re highly likely to stain or burn your clothes.
In the following sections, I’ll take you through a few tips to consider before using a hotel iron, what to do if your clothes get damaged in the process, along with some additional suggestions on how to get wrinkles out of clothing without having to use a hotel iron. If you want to avoid showing up to an important meeting with a wrinkled business shirt or suit, read on.
Tips To Consider Before Using a Hotel Iron
While most hotels do provide their guests with access to a free iron and ironing board, it’s probably best to use your own. Hotel irons are famously prone to damaging clothes, even the sturdiest-looking ones.
Given that people these days tend to dress more casually, many hotel irons see very little use or are left in poor condition by previous guests. This can result in mineral stains and burns on your nice blouse!
However, if you’re in a tight spot and have no other choice but to use the hotel’s iron, here are some ironing tricks that can save your expensive shirt or suit:
- Iron through another shirt. This method will protect your nicer fabric from burns and stains while sacrificing another less-worthy item in the process.
- Iron the back of the shirt first. If you can’t iron your shirt beneath an older shirt, iron the back first. If your item gets stained with mineral deposits or burned, at least you can put on a jacket and hide it.
- Iron the collar first. If you would rather not risk the back of your shirt, iron the collar while it’s turned upwards. If the collar gets stained or burned, all you have to do is turn it down to hide the marks!
- Iron a towel first. Take a hotel towel and press the iron into it, letting out a few puffs of steam. If it has been a long time since the iron was last used, the steam holes will be filled with brown mineral deposits that can stain your clothes. Pressing the iron into a hotel towel is an excellent way to keep this from happening.
What To Do if Your Clothes Get Damaged After Using a Hotel Iron
If it’s too late and you’ve already stained your shirt with the dreaded hotel iron, don’t panic. There’s a wide range of approaches and techniques you can use to remove the stains, and thankfully, they’re not as challenging as they may seem!
How To Remove Mineral Stains
If mineral stains from the hotel iron have stained your shirt, you’ll only need a few household items to remove them. Unfortunately, you likely won’t be carrying around white vinegar or lime juice while on a business trip, so you may wind up waiting until you get home to try these solutions:
- Hydrogen peroxide with tartar. Take a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and mix it with tartar cream (or non-gel toothpaste). Apply your homemade paste to the stain, rub it gently, then rinse off. The stain should be gone completely!
- Distilled white vinegar. White vinegar is considered a natural bleach. If your white-colored clothes have turned yellow or brown from the hotel iron, a tablespoon of white vinegar will lighten the stain. Add white vinegar to the washing machine each time you wash the stained clothing.
- Baking soda. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to a plastic washing tub of cold water and let your stained clothes soak for about 25 minutes. Then wash them in the washing machine and let them hang dry.
How To Remove Scorch Marks
Though it can be easy to remove scorch marks in some instances, please keep in mind that in most cases, it might be a lost cause. A scorch mark results from a burn, and you can’t really fix burned fabric.
However, if the burn didn’t go all the way through and the scorch mark is light, it can be removed by doing the following:
- Remove the iron from the fabric immediately! The longer the iron touches the fabric, the deeper and darker the burn will be! For this same reason, always try to press lightly during the first stroke to test if the iron will burn your clothing.
- Rinse the fabric in warm water.
- Soak the cloth in bleach, but first, check the care label to see if the fabric can be bleached. If not, skip this option! If the material can be bleached, then soak it for 15 minutes.
- Wash the fabric in the washing machine. Most hotels will have a laundry room with free or coin-operated laundry machines.
- Dry the fabric in the sun. Sunlight will lighten the scorch mark.
How To Get Wrinkles Out of Clothing Without Using a Hotel Iron
When in a pinch, using a rusty hotel iron might seem like the only option. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no shortage of convenient, iron-free ways to get even the most stubborn wrinkles out of your favorite items of clothing when traveling.
Here’s what you can do to get wrinkles out of clothing without using a hotel iron:
- Pack a travel-sized steamer. Not only are steamers easy to travel with and use, but they can often be even more efficient than their traditional iron counterparts when it comes to getting wrinkles out of some materials. The equipment is relatively easy to use; however, I’ll still leave this handy guide here for good measure. Those who haven’t had the chance to pack a steamer beforehand, can achieve the same effect using a shower.
- Press the clothing with a damp towel. This is by far the easiest method. All you have to do is lay your item of clothing on a flat surface and blot the wrinkles with a damp towel until they disappear.
- Use a hair styling tool. Most hair styling tools, like hair dryers and flat irons use the same heat-based technology as a clothing iron. Therefore, by applying some heat on your clothing using these devices, you might be able to achieve a similar effect.
While most hotels do provide free irons and ironing boards for their guests, it’s probably best not to use them. The models used on most establishments are likely to stain, burn, and damage your clothing, so either try to avoid wrinkling your clothing altogether, or make some room in your suitcase for a steamer or a hair styling tool.