Things You'll Need
Non-textured, cotton cloths
Plastic releases hazardous chemical fumes when heated. Always wear a mask and work in a ventilated area to lessen exposure. The surface of a plastic item can melt or even ignite if exposed to direct heat. Never place the end of your hair dryer any closer than five inches near the plastic and never place the hot soleplate of your iron directly on the plastic surface. Besides damage to the plastic item, surface contact with hot soft, melted or burned plastic can result in permanent damage to your hair dryer or the iron soleplate. Always remove plastic furniture covers before attempting to get wrinkles out of the plastic as heating covers left on furniture can lead to permanent furniture damage—plastic melting into furniture upholstery fabric or onto surfaces.
Many items made of soft, flexible plastic such as clothing, tablecloths, shower curtains and furniture covers wrinkle with use over time. The wrinkles not only detract from the overall appearance of the plastic, but can also make cleaning plastic items such as tablecloths and shower curtains difficult as creases created by the wrinkles can collect dirt or food particles, stains and mold. Plastic softens and reshapes when exposed to moist or dry heat making it is easy to get wrinkles out of your plastic items. This is accomplished with a steam or dry heat-producing appliance such as a shower, iron or hair dryer.
Wash the plastic item with hot water and a soapy cloth to remove any dirt, stains or mold and then rinse thoroughly to remove detergent residues.
Place the plastic item on a rack, shelf, seat or hanger inside a shower.
Reposition the showerhead so that it doesn't point directly at the item.
Turn on the hot water in the shower and close the shower curtain or door. Wait 8 to 10 minutes.
Open the shower curtain or door slightly and turn off the shower.
Lay the plastic item on a flat surface and smooth out the wrinkles with your hand or a damp cloth if necessary. If wrinkles remain after attempting to smooth the softened plastic, fill a steam iron with water and set the iron on the hot or high setting. Holding the iron five inches above the plastic item, move it slowly side to side above the plastic to soften the plastic and smooth out the wrinkles with the steam and heat.
Wash your plastic item with hot water and a soapy cloth. Rinse thoroughly to remove all detergent residues and wipe or air dry.
Hang the item on a hanger if possible. If not possible, lay it on a cloth on a flat, work surface.
Put on a mask and plug in your hairdryer.
Hold the hair dryer five to six inches from the plastic, turn it to the hot or high setting and then sweep it slowly side to side across the surface until the plastic softens and the wrinkles disappear. If the wrinkles don't completely disappear, lay the softened, warm plastic item on a flat surface and place a cotton cloth over the plastic and iron slowly back and forth across the surface.
Irene A. Blake
Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.