When you need clothing that won’t rip or tear easily, ripstop nylon is just the thing. It’s durable, wind and water resistant, and sometimes even waterproof. But it can get wrinkled, leaving you looking a bit disheveled. Of course, a good ironing is the obvious solution to wrinkles, but can you iron ripstop nylon?
In most cases, ripstop nylon can be ironed if care is taken to apply only dry, low-temperature heat. Most irons have a nylon or synthetic setting, so use that setting if possible. If your iron doesn’t have a nylon setting, then opt for the lowest-heat setting and avoid the iron’s steam feature to prevent damage to the ripstop nylon fabric.
But it is important to note that excess heat can melt synthetic material like nylon, so ironing ripstop is not without risk. Using the proper setting on your iron is important, and don’t let your iron rest in one spot of the material for a long period of time. Testing the iron on a small part of the material may be best.
If you’ve got ripstop nylon items that need some attention, this article can smooth out the process for you so you’ll have fresh-looking pieces in no time.
Useful Tip: Placing a dry towel over the nylon ripstop fabric and then ironing on top of that towel may help protect the material. Results with this technique may vary, but it might be worth a try.
Can Ripstop Material Be Ironed?
In most cases, ripstop nylon can be ironed. It is best if you have an iron that has a synthetic or nylon setting, which will help prevent burns and melting.
It is important to understand that prolonged heat will melt nylon, so proper care must be taken when ironing ripstop. Starting with low heat is always best.
Does Ripstop Wrinkle?
Nylon is a man-made fabric that is pretty good at withstanding wrinkles on its own, but, yes, wrinkles can form. Ripstop nylon is nylon fabric that has been interwoven with reinforcement threads in a crosshatch pattern, making it difficult to rip.
Both regular and ripstop nylon fabric resist wrinkles fairly well, but when these fabrics do get creased, you’ll need to be extra careful about ironing out the wrinkles because heat and nylon do not mix well.
Too much heat and nylon fibers can melt. But, too little heat won’t get the wrinkles and creases out. And damp heat can damage and scar nylon. Needless to say, then, it’s a delicate balancing act to get just the right amount of heat to do the job.
How to Iron Ripstop
We’ve established that you can iron ripstop nylon, but it needs to be done with care. So, here are some tips for ironing out those wrinkles without damaging the fabric of your item.
Choose the Right Heat Setting
Choosing the right heat setting is critical to ironing ripstop nylon. The wrong heat setting can damage any fabric permanently, and ripstop nylon is particularly sensitive to heat.
If your iron has one, use the synthetic or nylon setting. If your iron simply lists number options, choose the lowest heat possible.
Ideally, these settings will put your ironing temperature at about 275° F (or 135° C), which is the recommended maximum temp for ironing nylon.
Use Dry Heat
Before you start ironing, be sure to turn off the steam option or empty the iron’s water chamber completely. It’s best to use a dry iron on ripstop nylon. Combining heat with the iron’s steam feature can lead to damage to the nylon fabric.
Test Before You Iron
Before ironing any fabric, it’s always a good idea to do a test on an unseen section of the item. Iron a small area that is in a less-visible part of the garment to make sure the heat setting is suitable.
For example, I like to iron the back small portion of the leg opening for testing.
Separate the Ripstop Nylon from the Iron’s Surface
- Dish or bath towel
- Pressing cloth
- Clean handkerchief
- Scrap fabric
- Parchment paper
- Teflon cloth
Another option that accomplishes the same thing is to iron on the wrong side of the fabric. If damage does occur, it will not be as visible.
Apply Appropriate Ironing Techniques
Since heat can cause damage to ripstop nylon, minimizing contact between the fabric and the hot iron helps avoid unnecessary problems. Iron with light, but quick and long strokes. You shouldn’t allow the iron’s hot, flat surface to rest in one spot very long. Keep it moving without lingering or pressing down too hard.
Don’t Do This When Ironing Ripstop
Paying attention to a few “don’ts” when you iron ripstop nylon may mean the difference between a freshly pressed, usable garment and permanent damage that relegates the item to the “yard work only” pile.
- Don’t use the iron’s steam setting.
- Don’t use a high temperature setting.
- Don’t allow the iron to sit motionless on fabric.
Alternatives to Ironing Ripstop Nylon
You may not even own an iron. Or maybe you’d rather not risk ironing your ripstop nylon item. Whatever the case, there are still ways to get that unwrinkled appearance back so your ripstop looks like new.
- To avoid wrinkles in the first place, it’s best to store nylon items rolled up, not folded.
- When wrinkles do occur, try spritzing the fabric with a bit of water from a spray bottle. Put the item in the dryer on medium-high or high for 5-10 minutes.
- Sewing Machine Fun offers this idea: Lightly spray the fabric with water then press out any wrinkles with your finger or a seam roller (a tool used in sewing).
- Dampen the ripstop nylon and hang it in the bathroom. For extra un-wrinkling power, run a steamy shower and allow the piece to hang dry. This may help remove minor wrinkles.
The main takeaway is, yes, you can iron ripstop nylon, but it is not without risk. Too much heat can damage the material. If at all possible, use an iron that has a nylon or synthetic setting, and use low heat.