Wrinkle-free tips & tricks for packing your luggage

When you're traveling or on vacation, wouldn't it be great to find your clothes as wrinkle-free at your destination as when you packed them? Creased clothes might seem an inevitable part of vacationing, but you don't have to put up with creases or waste precious time ironing. If you fold or use the rolling method the right way, they can emerge from your suitcase wrinkle-free. So here are some packing tips for packing clothes in your carry-on.

Folding clothes

Folding clothes avoids wrinkles for most materials, but if you aren't careful, creases appear at the folds. Here's how to avoid them:

  • Place a layer of tissue paper or a plastic dry cleaning bag on top of each item before you fold it. The paper or plastic adds bulk and softens the folds. The extra material also reduces friction between clothes, cutting down on wrinkles.
  • Don't over pack. Pressure on those folds is sure to create creases. Fill your case to the brim so that the clothes don't move around when it's closed, but don't force in extra clothes.

You can also try ‌bundle folding‌, which avoids sharp folds on clothes that often crease:

  • Put everything you want to pack to one side on your bed or another flat surface.
  • Start the bundle with the items most likely to crease, like blouses and cotton pants. Fully spread out the first piece of clothing, then place the next on top.
  • Move on to less wrinkle-prone clothing items as you go. For instance, a pair of jeans or T-shirts could come next.
  • Last of all, put socks, underwear, swimwear and all the other clothes you don't worry about creasing on the very top.
  • Fold the layer below over the socks etc., and continue to fold each layer over the one above it, until you finish with the lowest layers, which wrap around the bundle.

Rolling clothes

Rolling your vacation wear is a sign you're a savvy traveler. Rolled clothes are less likely to crease, and they make the best use of space in your suitcase.

  • Start with small items like socks and pantyhose. Roll them up and pack them into shoes and the corners of your case.
  • Fold the legs of denim jeans and shorts together, and roll them up, starting at the cuffs. These go on the bottom of your case.
  • Fold the arms of T-shirts, shirts and blouses across the back. With the item front side downward on your bed, roll up the bottom third, then roll up the top third to meet in the first roll in the middle of the item. Put the rolled clothes in your case.
  • Fold the legs of pants together, and fold skirts and dresses into long rectangles. Roll loosely from the cuffs and hems upward, and put them in your case.
  • Fold in the sleeves of jackets and place them flat on top of the other items.

Avoiding creases

Keeping clothes wrinkle free to get that fresh off the hanger look starts with picking the best fabrics. Cotton, silk and linen garments seem to pick up wrinkles before you even put them in the case. For a crease-free vacation, synthetic wrinkle-resistant fabrics like nylon, polyester and Lycra are a great hack. Knits and sweaters can also be an excellent choice.

Unpack and hang up your clothes as soon as you arrive. Creases often reduce and disappear after a day or two spent hanging. For a speedier wrinkle-buster, hang your clothes in the bathroom and take a long, hot shower.

Spray the worst creases with wrinkle-releasing spray and smooth out the wrinkles before hanging the clothes to dry.

Men's dress shirts

Wrinkles are extra noticeable in men's button-up shirts, yet they're one of the most difficult clothing items to keep crease-free even with garment bags. Bulking out the center of men's shirts when you fold them is the secret to a smooth finish when you unpack.

  • Button up all the buttons and place the shirt front-side-down on a bed.
  • Fold one sleeve with about an inch of the shoulder and side of the shirt across the back, creating a straight line down the side of the shirt. Fold the sleeve back and create a light diagonal fold so that the sleeve lies flat down the back of the shirt.
  • Repeat the folding method with the other sleeve and side of the shirt. You should have a rectangular shape.
  • Place a folded T-shirt across the middle of the rectangle.
  • Fold the top and bottom of the shirt over the T-shirt.
  • Pack the shirt on the top of the other clothes, and don't over pack your case.

Use Plastic bags

According to Fodor's Travel, wrinkling is caused by friction, but plastic eliminates friction. Packing your important clothing in plastic garment or dry-cleaning bags, one outfit per bag, can keep wrinkling to a bare minimum and make your clothes look fresh off the hanger. For best results, stuff your clothing with tissue paper before placing it in the bag. This will keep it from flattening during travel and will help it retain a fresh look.

Extra Travel Tips

Using packing cubes is another great way to save space while also fitting in everything you need on your packing list, while also avoiding wrinkled clothes.