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How to iron dress pants—look sharp with ease

How to iron dress pants—look sharp with ease

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Many of you may be returning to the office soon and will need to track down those dress pants. Or perhaps you have a special occasion coming up. Either way, wrinkled dress pants aren’t going to cut it, and that probably isn’t the look you’re going for. We’ll show you how to iron dress pants and try to tackle some of your concerns about doing it in the process!

Can you iron dress pants?

It is a fair question to ask—ironing dress pants is often something people want to avoid doing because they’re worried about ruining sensitive fabrics like wool, or simply because they don’t know how. Well, we’re here to fix that because the answer to the question “can you iron dress pants?” is yes! Here’s how to iron dress pants.

How to iron dress pants

We’ll give you a method to iron dress pants in general, but also include special steps to get that dapper crease in your favorite dress pants. Read on to find out what you’ll need and then the step-by-step instructions.

What you’ll need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Distilled water (distilled water is better than tap water because tap water can lead to limescale, which can be hard to remove)
  • Spray bottle
  • Laundered dress pants—if you’re wondering how to clean your dress pants, check the care label. If you’re still in need of some assistance, check out our article on laundry tips.

Step by step: How do you iron dress pants?

Here we go! Follow these instructions step by step and your pants will look as sharp as you do!

Tip! Most modern irons will have an indication for what temperature you should set the iron to depending on the fabric. Cotton will need a higher setting than wool, for example. Check the symbols on your iron and make sure to pick the right temperature.

  1. Fill the water chamber of your iron with distilled water—if it doesn’t have one, fill the spray bottle with the distilled water instead.
  2. After picking the temperature of your iron, depending on its fabric, smooth out the main wrinkles in your dress pants. This way, you’ll have a good basis to line up the seams and find out where you want to iron in your creases.
  3. Turn on the steam setting on your iron, if it has one. This will help get the crease looking crisp. If you don’t have this setting on your iron, use the spray bottle instead.
  4. Line up the seams on either side of your first pant leg so the seams are directly on top of one another. You can do this directly on the ironing board, or place the pants on the board after you’ve lined them up.
  5. Make a crease in the front of your pant leg. You can use your finger, but a harder edge like a hardback book or wooden block will be a little more effective. Don’t press too hard—you don’t want to stretch the fibers of your dress pants. You can also create a crease in the back if that is the look you want.
  6. Are the seams still on top of each other? Good! Now you’re good to start ironing. If your iron’s indicator light is letting you know that it is ready, then you can start ironing across the pants, going over the crease a few times. If not, wait 3–5 minutes for your iron to heat up and then you’re good.
  7. To really set the crease in your pants, give the crease a good blast of steam or spray it with water and then glide the iron over the damp fabric. This is essentially creating a wrinkle in your pants—just one that you’re in control of!
  8. Pay attention to your fingers and hands in general while ironing—out of sight out of mind can cause trouble here! If you’re holding a pant leg straight to get the creases out while ironing over it, make sure you don’t iron over your fingers by mistake. Slow and steady is a good rule of thumb.
  9. Once you’ve got one side of this first pant leg smooth and a crease in place, turn the pant leg over and repeat the process on the other side.
  10. Now finish up by doing the other side! 

Once you finish and leave the iron to cool, make sure you keep the cooling iron it out of the reach of children and pets.

Bonus tip! The devil is in the details—you might know how to iron dress pants already, but if you don’t think of the details, your pants will still look a bit scruffy. Ironing less obvious parts of your dress pants, such as the pocket linings, will help give your pants a polished look.

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