Typically, flannel shirts don’t get too wrinkled, but you might want them to look a bit crisp for certain occasions, such as a job interview. And yes, a flannel shirt in a solid color can work great for making a great first impression. Ironing flannel shirts gives them a crisper, more finished look than wearing them right off the hanger or out of the dryer. However, ironing it incorrectly can make it look too flat or even too shiny. Read on for some precautions and tips on how to iron flannel shirts and sheets.
In the absence of a no-iron shirt or blouse, a flannel shirt can be a great alternative that sets you apart from the crowd due to its unique texture. But different types of textures depend on what the flannel is made of – cotton, wool, or synthetic materials. Check the tag before you start ironing. If it’s synthetic, it may be made with wrinkle-resistance in mind, but if you store it bunched up in a drawer somewhere, it’s bound to have some wrinkles. See what the care tag says. If it says not to iron, you may need to throw it in the wash and follow the care instructions as if it were dirty, to get the wrinkles out.
If you have an iron with a wool, synthetic, or cotton setting, ironing a flannel is as easy as switching the setting on the iron. If you’re unsure of what setting to put the iron on because the tag on the flannel is missing, feel the shirt between your fingers to identify how scratchy it is. If it isn’t scratchy at all, it’s probably cotton. If it’s scratchier than most fabrics, it’s probably wool. When in doubt, use the coolest setting on the iron. If wool or cotton, be sure to use the steam setting as well.
Start by laying the flannel inside-out on the ironing board. This is easier with smaller pieces of clothing than larger ones, so be sure to allow yourself extra time and not rush through it if you’re ironing something as big as a flannel robe. Smooth it out, and place a press cloth or a piece of white, lint-free cotton fabric on top of the shirt where you intend to iron it. The press cloth helps prevent any shininess that may develop from ironing the flannel. And doing it inside-out acts as an added step in case some discoloration or shininess does occur from the temperature being too high.
When everything is in place and the iron is warmed up, it’s time to get those wrinkles out. Start by either using a spray bottle or your iron’s spray setting to spray a bit of water onto the flannel shirt. This step, in particular, helps when ironing wool flannel shirts as wool can be easily scorched without moisture. Next, apply the iron for a couple of seconds before lifting from the fabric. Do not iron like you would a traditional top or women's sweater, however. The more you move the iron back and forth over the flannel, the more the fabric will stretch. You’ll be doing more lifting of the iron than sliding it back and forth when ironing a flannel shirt. Press, and lift. Repeat. Inspect the shirt after the first pass to see if the wrinkles are gone from that section. If not, repeat, but never leave the iron on the shirt for too long, even with a press cloth between the shirt and the iron. As soon as wrinkles are gone, move to the next section carefully.
If you’re not quite ready to wear your shirt after ironing it, make sure you hang it on a wooden or thick plastic hanger to prevent wrinkles from happening again. Remember that if you’re not 100% certain what your flannel shirt is made of, you should use the iron’s coolest setting, at least at the start. You can always increase the setting if needed and if the wrinkles aren’t coming out easily. Of course, buying a high-quality flannel shirt with easy care instructions is ideal, but there’s no reason to avoid wearing a favorite flannel just because it’s wrinkled. If you feel comfortable in it and it has that unique, super soft feel that only flannel can provide, you can turn a feel-good shirt into a look-good shirt.