laundry clothes and iron

Can You Dry Clothes with an Iron?

Have you got a couple of wet outfits that need to be dried quickly, but you don’t have access to a traditional drying method? A friend might have told you to iron your clothes dry.

But is ironing your laundry really going to work out as planned, and will your clothes be wearable by the end? Surely this is a myth!

Find out below if you can really dry your clothes with an iron below.


Can You Iron Wet Clothes So They End Up Dry?

It is possible to dry clothes with an iron. However, this particular drying process is very, very slow. It also isn’t suitable for large, bulky items of clothing or for items that are labelled as ‘do not iron’. Furthermore, the technique only really works on damp clothes, not saturated ones.

There are arguably far better ways to dry clothes, for example, by using a tumble dryer, pegging clothes on a washing line, or using a heated airer.

Not only are other drying methods quicker than using an iron, in many cases they will be more suitable for the items you’re attempting to dry.


How Does an Iron Dry Clothes?

ironing clothes

When you use an iron to dry laundry, you essentially use the heat that comes out of the soleplate to evaporate the moisture out of the damp clothes.

It’s not exactly a very fast drying method. But with the right technique you can draw the moisture from the laundry, so the items get dryer by the minute, and in the end, the garments can be hung up and worn later in the day.


Things to Know Before Drying Clothes with an Iron

iron and wringing clothes

If you plan on using an iron to dry your laundry you must make sure that you conform to the following rules:

  • Items must be ‘iron-safe’ before testing out this drying technique.
  • You must choose the right setting and temperature on the iron before you start to iron a garment.
  • You must not apply a huge amount of pressure to the iron as you press it onto your garments.
  • You need to slide the iron over the material continuously so you don’t burn the fabric (don’t hold it in one place).
  • When you’re done drying the clothes, you must hang them up.
  • You need to remove as much moisture as you can from your items before you try to dry them with an iron. A soaking wet garment will take an age to dry, so make sure that your laundry is damp before you iron it dry.

If you stick to the rules noted above, you’ll be able to iron your clothes dry.

However, it would be better if you didn’t make a habit of drying clothes in this manner because it’s quite time-consuming, can damage some delicate materials, and it doesn’t always yield the best end result.

But of course, if you find yourself in a bit of a pickle, by all means, try the drying method out!


How to Dry Clothes with an Iron

how to dry clothes with iron

As mentioned above, drying clothes with an iron is generally a slow process, so keep this in mind when you carry out the steps below.


  • Be patient, this is not a fast process.
  • Don’t bother trying to dry heavy, bulky items with this method.
  • Make sure you choose the correct temperature on the iron and this is based on what garment you need to dry.
  • Don’t apply too much pressure to the iron as this can damage some materials.
  • Hang laundry up when you’re done drying it so it doesn’t go all wrinkly. It’ll also help to dry out the item even more so, just in case you forgot to dry a section of the outfit.
  • Work in a safe space. Remember irons get very hot, so keep them away from kids and pets, and always switch the iron off when it’s not in use.

Tools you’ll need:

  • An iron
  • Towels
  • Hanger(s)

Checking a Clothing Care Label

Steps to follow:

  1. Check the care labels on your clothes before you wash them. This will tell you if the clothes can be ironed. If the clothes cannot be ironed, you can continue to wash them but you’ll have to find another drying technique. The ironing method will damage the material in question.
  2. Wash your clothes according to the care label.
  3. Run clothes through an extra spin to remove excess moisture from them.
  4. Lay a towel out on a flat surface.
  5. Place one item on the flat towel. Make sure the item is spread out on the towel (not twisted up).
  6. Roll the towel up while the item is inside and press down on it. This will remove even more moisture from the garment.
  7. Grab a second dry towel and lay it flat out on the surface.
  8. Spread the item flat out on the fresh towel.
  9. Lay another towel on top of the item.
  10. Fire up a clean iron and choose a suitable setting for the material you’re trying to dry.
  11. Start ironing the towel that’s covering the wet garment.
  12. The heat from the iron’s soleplate will evaporate the water from the laundry and the towel will help to absorb the moisture.
  13. Continue to iron the item until it’s dry.
  14. When the item is dry, pop it on a hanger.
  15. Repeat the steps above for other wet garments that you have.


Can You Iron a Wet Shirt Dry?

As long as the care label states that the shirt in question can be ironed, you can try out the drying technique above on your wet shirt. If you adhere to the method above you should be able 

to dry your shirt relatively well, and it should be wrinkle-free by the end of the ironing session.


Can You Iron Clothes Straight from the Washing Machine?

damp clothes inside washing machine

It is technically possible to iron clothes as soon as they come out of a washing machine. But this generally isn’t recommended, and you definitely don’t want to make a habit of doing this.

You don’t want to iron clothes straight out of the washer for several reasons:

  • Clothes are usually too wet to iron immediately.
  • The material might be more susceptible to damage because of the iron’s high heat.
  • The excessive heat could shrink some fibres.
  • There might be an excessive amount of steam to deal with as the moisture evaporates off the wet laundry.

If you want to safely iron your laundry as soon as it leaves a washer you need to extract most of the moisture from the garments, make sure that the items you want to iron can be ironed, and choose the right setting on the iron.

You also have to keep in mind that ironing clothes straight out of the washer can be a tiring and time-consuming process.

It would be better if you dried your freshly washed laundry through a more traditional method, for example a tumble dryer or washing line, and then ironed the items to get the wrinkles out of them.

Of course, if you don’t have access to traditional drying tools, you can also use an iron to dry your wet laundry as a backup option. But you must make sure that the clothes are damp, and that you adhere to the steps listed above under ‘How to dry clothes with an iron’.