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If you're graduating from high school or college, you're going to want to look your best at the ceremony and in all of the pictures you'll take to commemorate the event. Understandably, you don't want a wrinkly graduation gown stealing focus from your achievement. These gowns often have folds and creases in them when you first take them out of their cellophane packaging. Your first inclination might be to wash the gown to remove the wrinkles. However, machine drying a graduation gown can damage the fabric. Fortunately, with a few simple tricks, you can easily get the wrinkles out of your gown at home without using a dryer.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:
Steaming Your Gown
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  1. 1
    Place the gown on a hanger. Do this as soon as you remove it from its cellophane packaging to avoid getting more wrinkles and creases in it. Ideally you should hang it up several days before your ceremony, not the morning of, so that you have enough time to de-wrinkle it without feeling rushed or stressed.
    • Use a padded or wooden hanger rather than a wire hanger, which can catch and snag the fabric of the gown.[1]
  2. 2
    Hang the gown from your shower rod in the bathroom. Make sure that the shower head is angled away from the gown. Test the direction of the shower spray to ensure your gown won't accidentally be splashed.
  3. 3
    Run the water on hot for 15-20 minutes. The steam created will de-wrinkle the gown. Stretch and tug on the fabric once in a while during this process to help ease out the creases.[2]
    • Keep the bathroom door closed to trap the steam inside and create a sauna effect.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:
Ironing Your Gown
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  1. 1
    Set your iron to low heat with steam. Put the iron upright on the ironing board and wait until it is heated up. Different irons give different indications that they're ready. Sometimes a light turns on, sometimes an icon appears.[3]
    • If you're unsure how to tell when your iron is ready, check its instruction manual.
  2. 2
    Put your gown on the ironing board and place a towel over it. Make sure that the gown is lying flat on the board to avoid ironing in more wrinkles and creases. Cover the gown's fabric with a towel so that you don't melt the polyester.
    • Try turning the gown inside out to protect the top layer from any possible scorch marks when you iron.[4]
    • Your towel probably isn't large enough to cover the entire gown, so iron in sections the size of the towel.
  3. 3
    Place the iron on top of the towel and keep moving it continuously. Whenever the iron is on the towel, continue to move it without pausing so that it doesn't rest too long in one spot and burn the gown's fabric through the towel. When you finish ironing the area of the gown covered by the towel, move the towel to the next area of the gown and start ironing continuously again.[5]
    • Start at the collar of the gown and work your way down in areas the size of the towel you're using. Never let the iron touch the gown's actual fabric.
  4. 4
    Concentrate on the horizontal creases. Iron the entire gown, but focus especially on these fold lines that cut horizontally across the chest and pelvis area of the gown. Keep the towel over top of these areas while you iron them and continue to move the iron without pausing.[6]
  5. 5
    Hang the gown back up immediately once you're done ironing it. Put the gown back on a padded or wooden hanger. Place it somewhere that it won't be squashed and rumpled by other articles of clothing.[7]
    • Turn your iron off as soon as you've finished ironing the gown and leave it upright on the ironing board to cool down for at least 10 minutes before you put it away.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:
Treating the Gown with Vinegar Spray
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  1. 1
    Combine water and vinegar in an empty spray bottle. Pour 1 cup (240 mL) of distilled water and 2 teaspoons (9.9 mL) of white vinegar into the bottle. Use a funnel to avoid spilling.[8]
    • This is the base of the homemade wrinkle release spray you will use to get the creases out of your gown.
    • This shouldn't make your gown smell like vinegar as long as you don't overuse the spray. Make sure to give the gown enough time to dry and any lingering vinegar smell will evaporate.[9] Don't use this spray the day of your graduation or your gown might not be dry in time.
  2. 2
    Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of conditioner into the spray bottle. Use the same conditioner you do on your hair in the shower. Squeeze the conditioner into a measuring spoon. Then place it in the funnel and push it into the spray bottle with the water and vinegar.
    • Conditioner is thick, so use a toothpick to press it through the funnel into the spray bottle. Wash it down into the bottle with a small amount of hot water if it's getting stuck.[10]
  3. 3
    Add 5-10 drops of a clear essential oil if you want. This is optional, but will help mask any smell of vinegar that might otherwise linger on the gown. Only use colorless essential oils so that you don't stain the fabric of the gown.
    • Use any oil you like the scent of. Some good options are lavender, peppermint, sage, rosemary, and juniper. These are all colorless and will leave a light pleasant smell on the gown after you've sprayed it.[11]
  4. 4
    Shake the spray bottle vigorously. Combine all the ingredients in the spray bottle by shaking it with your hand. The products don't all blend easily so you will have to shake very hard. The wrinkle spray is ready when the ingredients are thoroughly mixed and foamy.[12]
    • The amount of time this will take depends on how hard you shake. Check for the foamy consistency to know when the spray is ready.
  5. 5
    Hang your gown up somewhere with a flat surface behind it. Use a padded or wooden hanger. Hang the gown on the back of a closed door, or against a wall.[13]
  6. 6
    Test the spray on a small area of the gown. Spray a little bit of the homemade wrinkle releaser on a patch of the gown that will be mostly hidden from sight. Wait until the spray dries to make sure that the fabric of the gown doesn't get water spots.[14]
    • Try an area at the hemline near the back that isn't very noticeable and won't show up in many pictures if it gets water spots.
  7. 7
    Spray and tug the fabric to release the wrinkles. Spray an area of the gown with the wrinkle releaser. Gently tug and smooth the fabric to get the creases out between every two or three sprays.
    • Work your way over the entire front of the gown, and then turn the hanger around and do the back.[15]
    • Spray in a sweeping motion and don't overly saturate the fabric or it could smell like vinegar when it dries.[16]
  8. 8
    Leave the gown on the hanger to dry. Let it air dry slowly. Don't use a hair dryer or other heat source to speed the drying. Keep the gown hanging up, away from other articles of clothing that could cause it to wrinkle again, until graduation day.[17]
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Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    How do you unwrinkle a graduation gown?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    A simple way to unwrinkle your graduation gown without risking any damage to the material is to steam it. Put the gown on a padded or wooden hanger instead of a wire hanger so it doesn't snag the fabric. Hang the gown from the shower rod in your bathroom. Turn on the hot water and let it run for 15-20 minutes. Keep the door the bathroom shut and allow the steam to de-wrinkle the gown. Every now and then, give the gown a gentle tug and stretch to remove the creases.
  • Question
    Can I put a graduation gown in the dryer?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    The heat of a machine dryer can easily damage or melt the fabric of a graduation gown, so don't use a dryer to remove wrinkles and creases. You can use an iron, but you need to make sure it's set to low heat with steam. Place your gown on an ironing board and cover it what a towel to protect it. Run your iron over the towel to iron the gown beneath it and remove creases and wrinkles. Start at the collar of the gown and work your way down in areas the size of the towel you're using. Never let the iron touch the gown's actual fabric.
  • Question
    Can you steam 100% polyester?
    Drew Hawkins1
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can steam 100% polyester fabric, such as a graduation gown. The simplest, easiest, and safest way is to use your shower. Place your item on a hanger and hang it from your shower rod. Turn on your hot water and shut the door to the room to allow the steam to build up. Every few minutes, use your hands to gently stretch and smooth out the fabric to remove wrinkles and creases.
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      • When you're ironing your graduation gown, you can gradually raise the iron's temperature to medium if the low heat setting isn't removing all the wrinkles. Don't raise the heat any higher than medium setting.[18]
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      • Never let the iron touch the gown's fabric without a towel covering it. The iron could easily burn a hole through the synthetic fabric even if contact is only made for a fraction of a second.[19]

      About This Article

      Co-authored by:
      wikiHow Staff Writer
      This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 122,548 times.
      18 votes - 94%
      Co-authors: 3
      Updated: January 13, 2021
      Views: 122,548
      Categories: Cleaning Clothes
      Article SummaryX

      To get wrinkles out of your graduation gown, first place it on a hanger and hang it up in your bathroom. Then, run a hot shower for 15-20 minutes, which will steam your gown and get rid of any creases. Alternatively, use an iron on a low-heat steam setting to get rid of wrinkles. To do this, place your gown flat on the ironing board with a towel over it. Place the hot iron on top of the towel, making sure to move it continuously so you don’t burn the fabric. Continue ironing in sections until the whole gown is smooth. Then, make sure to hang it up immediately so it doesn’t get wrinkled again. To learn how to get rid of wrinkles with vinegar spray, read on!

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        May 14, 2020

        "This was a useful starting point. The towel was too thick. I switched to a 100% cotton cloth napkin that is about..." more
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