How To Pack Without Wrinkles

Pink suitcase with shelves with folded white clothing.

We’ve all been there. 

You’ve landed, fought your way through the bag carousel, jumped into your uber, and opened your suitcase in your hotel room only to find bam! your clothes are Wrinkle City. 

You could try to use the old steam treatment (except that water can damage your clothes), or you could whip out that rusty hotel iron and pray you don’t burn down the room. 

Or you could stop wrinkles from ever entering the equation. Check out these seven tips to prevent those unsightly ripples from ever forming. 

 

1. Don’t Overpack! 

A key way to prevent clothing from wrinkling is to let everything breathe. When you stuff your suitcase with too many clothes, the articles smush together as well as press up against the side of your suitcase, leaving ugly imprints along the way. 

As hard as it may be to limit yourself, pack only necessities to restrict the number of wrinkles on your clothes. 

 

2. Divide And Conquer 

If you’re anything like the average packer, you dump all of your clothes and items into the bag, zip it up, and head off to the airport. But all of those items like lip gloss, heels, books, and chargers can all leave sharp imprints on your clothes. 

Most suitcases (if they’re thoughtfully designed) will come with built-in dividers to prevent imprints and wrinkles from occurring. If your suitcase doesn’t have a partition, you can always purchase one or throw in any piece of mesh fabric for a makeshift divider. 

 

3. Use Dry Cleaner Bags 

Looking for a reliable anti-wrinkle method? Dry cleaner bags are a sure-fire way to prevent the formation of wrinkles. 

When using dry cleaner bags, use the plastic to divide clothes from one another so that each surface rests on a clean, smooth surface without friction as increased friction between clothes is a big reason why fabrics develop wrinkles. 

If you don’t have dry cleaner bags handy, any type of plastic barrier will do. Many travelers have had great success with folding each layer in with tissue paper. Needless to say, all you’re looking for is a way to eliminate (or at the very least cut down on) friction between the clothes. 

 

4. Use Packing Cubes 

Okay, we admit it; we love a packing cube. But why wouldn’t we? Not only do packing cubes allow you to achieve a fresh, clean look when you arrive at your destination, but when you use cubes, you gain better en-route organization. 

If you haven’t heard about these latest travel trend items, packing cubes are small, usually mesh compartments that perfectly fit within your luggage. They’re great for dividing clothes, cords, and other travel belongings, and work as on-the-go drawers when living out of your suitcase.

There’s also another reason why packing cubes are so great: they keep your wrinkles at bay. This is because packing cubes prevent your clothes from jostling, rolling, or tumbling out of place as you move around. And when your clothes shift less, they don’t wrinkle. 

There’s some misconception with packing cubes. Some travelers think that they cause more wrinkles, but that’s incorrect. One way wrinkles form is due to sustained, heavy pressure on fabric. When people overpack their cubes or tighten a compression cube tightly, the clothes inside are held in tight, pressurized spaces. As a result, wrinkles form. 

However, if you pack your cubes the right way and allow your clothes to breathe, you’ll find that packing cubes are an excellent way to avoid wrinkles on a long trip. 

When it comes to packing cubes, the trick is to find balance: secure your clothes enough so they don’t jostle around but avoid pressing down so hard you create wrinkles. 

 

5. Choose The Right Materials

Sometimes the easiest solution is the best. If you’re concerned about having wrinkly clothes on your trip, consider packing shirts and pants with fabric that doesn’t wrinkle as much. 

For example, pack wrinkle-resistant materials like: 

  • Nylon
  • Wool
  • Fleece 
  • Polyester
  • Rayon
  • Silk

On the other hand, materials like cotton wrinkle fast and hard. Linen, too, isn’t a great option if you’re looking to pack wrinkle-free clothes. There are other materials like denim that, while they are made up of a lot of cotton, don’t end up wrinkling that much due to their heavy weight. 

For this reason, if you’re in doubt choose blended fabrics. Any blend that contains Polyester will be much more forgiving than 100% pure cotton. 

Stuck on which fabrics wrinkle and which ones don’t? You can test your fabrics at home with an easy trial run. Take one of your clothing items and either bunch it up in your fist or crumple the entire garment in your hands. Hold the position for a few minutes and then shake out the fabric. 

See any wrinkles? If not, that clothing item does a substantial job at not collecting wrinkles and would be a good option to pack in your suitcase. 

 

6. Try New Packing Methods 

If you don’t have anything like a dry cleaner bag or packing cube handy, you’re in luck. There are ways to fold your clothes so that you reduce wrinkles from ever forming. 

The first method is the rolling method where (you guessed it) you roll your clothes into tight, compact logs. There is a caveat with this method, though. You must make sure to smooth out any wrinkles before you roll them into your suitcase. If you pack your clothes with wrinkles, no amount of rolling will get them out. 

Before you pack your clothes in the suitcase, make sure you fold clothes along the seams and steam or smooth out any wrinkles. Once your clothes look good to go, simply roll them up tightly and place them in neat, organized rows in your suitcase.  

If you’re not a fan of the rolling method, you can always try the bundle method. Because wrinkles form on a curvature, you can bundle your clothes around a center of wrinkle-free fabric and clothing. Make sure to keep clothing that wrinkles easily towards the center and keep pieces that don’t wrinkle that much as the outer layer. 

 

7. Last Ditch Effort: How To Eliminate Wrinkles 

Okay, so you’ve tried every trick in the bag and you still unpacked your belongings to find those pesky, unwanted wrinkles. Don’t panic! There’s still time to fix the issue.

Hanging up your clothes as soon as you arrive at your hotel is a great way to reduce wrinkles as they may not have had a chance to set yet. You can also try the tried and true method of ironing your clothes out or hanging them up in the bathroom while you take a hot shower.

Our go-to? Pop your clothes in the dryer for ten or fifteen minutes. The heat from the tumbling will relax the fibers in your clothes enough to smooth out any wrinkles or creases. At the end you get a set of warm, cozy clothes without worrying about water or steam ruining your clothes. 

 

The Verdict 

There are lots of ways that a savvy packer can eliminate clothes getting wrinkled. From packing cubes to using only wrinkle-free clothing, consider utilizing some of these tools to make your trip stress-free from start to finish. 

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