Ice Cubes in the Dryer?! All the Ironing Shortcuts You Need to Know to Get the Wrinkles Out

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Throwing ice cube in dryer

Hate ironing? There’s a hack for that!

I love a good shortcut, especially when it saves me from having to haul out the dreaded ironing board and labor over the iron. Have you heard that throwing a few ice cubes into your dryer can steam the wrinkles right out of your clothing? We grabbed a wrinkly shirt (always plenty of those around here) and tested this popular laundry trick to see if we could really use it to try to sidestep the ironing process.

Here’s how the ice cube hack is supposed to work:

  • Put your wrinkled garments into the dryer. Be careful not to overload it, though. This method is supposed to work best with no more than a few articles of clothing at a time.
  • Throw in 2-3 ice cubes. As they melt, they’ll provide the moisture you need to create steam. It’s the steam that will get the wrinkles out of your clothes.
  • Set your dryer to run on high heat for about 10 minutes. High heat is your friend here. Crank it up so that the moisture from the melting ice cubes can evaporate into steam.

ice cubes in the dryer with a shirt and a towelHere’s what happened when we tried this hack:

I placed 3 ice cubes and one of my son’s shirts into the dryer, along with a couple of dish towels (because this hack is said to work best with 2-3 items at a time). After 10 minutes on high heat with the ice cubes, I pulled the shirt out of the dryer and was disappointed to find that it still had wrinkles, and now it had damp spots too!

Determined to master this hack, I threw the shirt back into the dryer. This time I added 3 dryer balls to help fluff the shirt and to dry it a little more evenly, along with two ice cubes this time. I also let the dryer run for 15 minutes the second time around.

2 shirts before and after ice cube hack

When I took the shirt out after the second try, it was evenly dry and it had fewer wrinkles… I guess. But this definitely wasn’t the laundry game-changer I’d been hoping for. If my kid had to leave the house in this shirt today, I’d definitely be hauling out the iron.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get the same amazing results that others say they’ve experienced with this hack. I really wanted it to work, because I really hate ironing! My dryer is only two years old, but could it be that it doesn’t get hot enough? Could it be that my ice is defective? 😅 Could it be that my family creates industrial strength, hack-resistant wrinkles?!

If you haven’t been able to get the ice cube hack to work for you either, don’t despair.

Some tips to avoid ironing:

1. Toss in a damp hand towel

Throw a wrinkled garment back into the dryer with a damp towel, and it should have a steaming effect similar to what we were hoping to see with the ice cubes. Wet a small towel (like a hand towel or washcloth) and wring out as much water as you can. After about ten minutes on high heat, your garment should be close to wrinkle-free and ready to wear!

Downy wrinkle release spray on ironing board

2. Make (and use) your own wrinkle release spray.

We love this Downy Wrinkle Releaser, but at over $6 a bottle, it can be a pricey alternative to ironing. The good news is that you can get the same results by making your own spray for a whole lot less! Simply mix the following ingredients and add them to a spray bottle:

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 tsp. liquid fabric softener
  • 1 tsp. rubbing alcohol

This is my absolute favorite ironing hack! The homemade version of this spray is every bit as effective as the store-bought variety, and it costs pennies to make. The only drawback is that the garment will be damp from the spray, so I try to hang up clothing for the next day and spray things the night before. This gives everything plenty of time to dry.

blue shirt after ironing hacksRemember that blue shirt from the ice cube hack? I would totally send my kid to school in it now, even on school picture day!

laundry room towels stacked next to a bottle of white vinegar

3. Try white vinegar.

There are so many benefits to adding white vinegar to your laundry. It can soften your clothing, eliminate odors from fabrics, and freshen the washing machine itself. A cup of white vinegar added to the rinse cycle can also help to relax wrinkles!

4. Give your laundry room to breathe.

Packing your dryer with too much laundry will prevent it from working efficiently. It’s also a tried and true way to cause wrinkles. Make sure you leave plenty of room for your laundry to tumble and fluff!

Wool dryer balls in a basket

5. Use dryer balls.

In addition to softening your clothes and reducing drying time, dryer balls can help to keep your garments from getting crumpled up as they dry. This means that your clothes are more likely to come out evenly dry and wrinkle-free!

We love these 100% Wool Dryer Balls by Smart Sheep, and since we started using them, we’ve found that we no longer need to use dryer sheets! A few tennis balls thrown into the dryer will have the same effect. To reduce static, you can toss in a crumpled up ball of aluminum foil, too.

6. Empty the dryer right away.

Hang up your clothing, or fold them as soon as the drying cycle is over. Leaving warm laundry in a crumpled heap has the same effect as ironing wrinkles into your clothing!

fabric steamer

7. Try a handheld steamer.

This handheld garment steamer is an affordable alternative to ironing. What I like about using a steamer is that you can do it while your clothes are hanging up. There’s no need to wrestle with the ironing board!

diamond gray GE washer and dryer

8. Invest in a steam dryer.

While this is definitely the most expensive alternative to ironing, you may want to consider upgrading to a dryer with a steam function the next time you find yourself needing a new dryer. Judging by some of the reviews, a dryer with the built-in steam feature is a lot more effective than leaving the job to some ice cubes!

Try these smart uses for washing soda around the house!

About the writer:

Jenna has a Bachelor's Degree from Lycoming College and her Master's from Penn State, holding 4 years of writing experience between a variety of publications and Hip2Save.

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