Luxurious and thick with a soft touch to the skin, velvet may feel quite durable. The truth is, due to its high pile, velvet fabric is delicate. So when it wrinkles, it might leave you wondering if it can be ironed to bring it back to its original state. While the method may be different than for a standard cotton shirt, with a little extra care you can safely iron velvet.
An iron may be used, with attention and care, with or without steam to remove wrinkles from velvet. Place a fluffy towel or needle board, or scrap of velvet face up on top of your ironing surface. Lay the pile side face down on the towel or needle board, and lightly pass the iron over the crease in one direction.
In this article, we’ll explain the most successful methods and settings, with and without steam, for ironing your velvet items safely without damaging the fabric. Keep reading to find a step-by-step guide and more details on how to keep your velvet items looking and feeling their best.
- Does Velvet Wrinkle Easily?
- Can You Iron Velvet?
- Best Iron Setting for Velvet
- What Temperature Do You Use to Iron Velvet?
- Can You Iron the Back of Velvet?
- How to Iron Velvet
- What Happens if You Iron Crushed Velvet?
- How to Get Rid of Pressure Marks on Velvet
- Can You Steam Velvet?
Does Velvet Wrinkle Easily?
Velvet is soft and plush due to a layer of upright pile that is created during the weaving process. These fibers can be easily bent or crushed with pressure, so wrinkles can form easily, and can be very noticeable on an otherwise very smooth surface.
Proper storage of your velvet clothes can help prevent the need to remove wrinkles in the first place. Hanging velvet garments so they can hang loose should always be the first choice. Keeping pressure off of the piece on all sides, and never folding or creasing anything made from velvet will help keep the fabric in tip-top shape.
Storing velvet items, especially pressed together or under a lot of weight, is never a good idea. If it’s absolutely necessary to do so, carefully rolling the item, ideally padded with layers of tissue, will create the least amount of wrinkles.
Can You Iron Velvet?
While the short answer is yes, it’s not that simple, and ironing may not be your first choice for removing the wrinkles from your velvet. Ironing velvet takes time and care and a lot more attention than your cotton or linen items. Due to velvet’s delicate properties, which can easily be damaged (Especially when it comes to heat!), many will say that you should never iron velvet. It’s true that you should, absolutely without question, never touch a hot iron to the front side of velvet fabric. However, you can have success if you follow the right steps.
When ironing velvet you will need an additional layer on your ironing surface, ideally, a needle board, which is a flat board studded with very fine wires specifically designed for pressing high pile fabrics. Alternatively, you can use a towel or even another piece of velvet, facing pile-to-pile with the item you will be ironing. This layer will create space between the fibers and the ironing surface so that the nap of the fabric is not crushed when ironed.
Best Iron Setting for Velvet
A combination of medium heat and steam tends to work best, in most cases, for removing light wrinkles from velvet. It is always important to remember to avoid touching the hot iron directly to the pile side of the fabric as this will cause irreversible damage.
It is important to check the care labels of your garments before deciding how best to care for them. This is especially true in the case of velvet. If you can determine the type of fiber content you are working with, you will have a better idea of what settings the material can handle.
Velvet made from a more durable natural fiber, such as cotton, will be able to handle more moisture (steam) and a higher heat setting. If the fibers are synthetic, such as rayon, they can easily melt with the touch of an iron. Velvet made of acetate fibers can become damaged if it gets too wet, so steam is not recommended.
If the label does not indicate the fiber content of your garment, you may have to test a couple of different settings, starting out with lower heat and always working with care. It is also a good idea to begin on a small patch of fabric in a discreet area of the garment. If the fabric reacts negatively to your settings and causes permanent damage, you don’t want it someplace visible.
What Temperature Do You Use to Iron Velvet?
Velvet is a temperamental fabric and a special case when it comes to ironing. It’s not as simple as setting a temperature and running the iron back and forth over the garment. Modern-day velvet is also made up of various fibers making the temperature to iron successfully vary as well. Originally, velvet was made from silk, a durable and expensive fiber that can handle a good amount of heat. An iron set to medium, around 300°F, can be used on velvet made from silk.
Silk fiber is expensive, so it is rare to find velvet composed of silk these days. Instead, it is more often made up of synthetic fibers such as nylon, rayon, and acetate; synthetic blends are also common. These synthetic fibers are prone to melting and can be damaged more easily from high levels of heat. Therefore, they need a lower temperature setting. An iron set to low runs closer to 250-275°F and would be better suited to these synthetic fibers.
Can You Iron the Back of Velvet?
When ironing velvet you should always be working with the iron on the back of the fabric. The long piles that are characteristic of what makes velvet so special are delicate and can easily melt or be damaged if they come in contact with a hot iron.
When ironing, the velvet item should be placed face-down on top of a needle board, a plush towel, or another piece of velvet that is face-up. Placing one of these items on your ironing board provides additional protection to the pile, preventing it from becoming crushed between the iron and the flat ironing surface itself.
Another important thing to note is that even though it is the back of the fabric, you should always use a very light hand. Never put a lot of pressure on the fabric and don’t leave the iron still in one place for anyperiod of time. The piles that make velvet so plush and luxurious shouldn’t be crushed by the heat and pressure of the iron.
How to Iron Velvet
Some people will stick to the camp that you should never iron velvet. If you are committed, and careful, here is a step-by-step guide to ironing velvet. Remember to take it slow and easy so you don’t damage the fabric:
1. Determine the Fiber Content
Check the care label on your garment to determine the fiber content of your velvet.
2. Set Up the Iron
Set the iron according to the fiber content of the velvet; generally, this will be med-low. It is also best to use the steam function if your iron has one, and provided the velvet contains no acetate fibers.
3. Set Up the Ironing Board
Place a needle board, fluffy towel, or another piece of velvet face-up, on your ironing surface. Place the velvet you will be ironing pile-side down, on top. If you would like an additional layer of protection, place a pressing cloth on the back of your velvet before ironing, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Test a small, unnoticeable area of your garment. Check the front side of the velvet to ensure the pile isn’t being crushed, and that the temperature setting is effectively lessening the wrinkles. If you need to increase the heat, do so in small increments, testing as you go until you find the right combination of heat and pressure.
5. Iron Your Garment
Run the iron along the back of the fabric from one side to the other. It is best not to run the iron back and forth but to keep the iron moving in one direction. Use the lightest pressure possible, always taking care not to press down on the fabric, and never leaving the iron sitting in one place so that the pile does not become crushed or melted.
Alternately, hover the iron a ½ inch above the fabric, moving slowly, allowing the steam or heat of the iron to contact the fabric, then gently (And carefully, it will be hot!) press out the wrinkles with your finger once you move the iron away.
What Happens if You Iron Crushed Velvet?
Crushed velvet has the appearance of being crumpled or crushed. It looks like the fabric pile has already been twisted in different directions. However, it still shares most of the same properties with regular velvet.
Wrinkles in crushed velvet may not appear as noticeable due to the nature of its crumpled look. The same care, though, should be taken when trying to remove them from the fabric. Use the same steps from above to iron crushed velvet, and remember to never place a hot iron directly on the fabric as it will melt or further crush the fibers, changing its appearance and luster.
How to Get Rid of Pressure Marks on Velvet
Since velvet is such a temperamental fabric, you can easily end up with noticeable pressure marks. Most pressure marks can be removed in just a couple of steps.
- Take another piece of velvet, ideally a scrap you don’t care about, and dampen it.
- Rub the damp piece of velvet along the blemish in your velvet garment, in the same direction as the pile or nap.
- Continue gently brushing the velvet in the same direction until the pile is restored.
This will take some time and care, but the moisture and the motion will help to correct the direction of the pressure mark. The use of another piece of velvet acts as a brush to accelerate the process. Additionally, after you brush the velvet back into place, you can put the iron on a steam setting, hold it above the fabric, and apply steam in short bursts to further restore the pile.
Can You Steam Velvet?
Steam should be your first choice when trying to release wrinkles from velvet! A portable steamer is an effective tool for getting wrinkles out of velvet. Hang your garment either on a shower bar or the hanger of your steamer. Set the steamer to the lowest setting. Without touching the fabric itself (hold about a half-inch away) steam the entire garment, pulling slightly on the hem and smoothing with your hands.
You can also use an iron on its steam setting. Hang your garment, as above, and set your iron to the lowest setting for which it produces steam. Holding the iron an inch away from the fabric, allow the steam from the iron to pass over the garment, never allowing it to directly touch the surface. Smooth the fabric with your hands as you go.
As with ironing, it is always a good idea to test a small patch first to make sure that the moisture and heat level aren’t going to damage the item.
Removing the wrinkles from velvet can be time-consuming. For a more hands-off approach, or if you have more than one item to remove wrinkles from, try steaming your velvet piece or pieces in the bathroom. Hang your item(s) from the shower rod and fill your tub with steaming hot water. Let it hang for about 30 minutes, making sure to shut the bathroom door to allow the steam to work its magic and relax the wrinkles in your clothes. This may not remove all wrinkles or tough creases, but it will get your velvet headed back in the right direction.
Ironing velvet may not be the first, or easiest choice for removing wrinkles, but by following the steps outlined above it is possible to iron velvet and return it to the luxuriously wrinkle-free soft garment for your efforts.
Have you had success ironing velvet before? What are your tips and tricks to keeping velvet lush and smooth? If you found our methods helpful, give this article a share!