The “While You Wear It…Wrinkle-Away”© is a small hand held device that allows you to remove wrinkles from clothing while you are wearing them. Fabrics that wrinkle easily mainly do so because moisture lowers their glass transition temperature, which is where the molecules loosen allowing for re-arrangement of the fabric’s fibers. Textiles such as cotton and cotton blends are among the most problematic. But, if they can wrinkle easily we should be able to remove the wrinkles almost as easily! This becomes obvious when you see such products as wrinkle releasers work. They may not be perfect, but essentially do relax wrinkles by simply wetting the fabric and using your hands to stretch the material. The downside is that you end up with wet spots all over your clothes, which can wrinkle again if you don’t keep the wet spots relatively flat before they dry.
The WYWI...Wrinkle-Away© uses a very warm soleplate, set at the hottest safe touch temperature, and an atomizing transducer to generate warm vapor moisture. A variant will include small vibrating motors to give added stimulation to the fabric’s fibers. Micron size droplets from the transducer moisten the fibers without “wetting” the material. The soleplate allows for effective delivery of the moisture, gives a means to flatten/stretch the fabric, and transmits heat and vibration to enhance the wrinkle removal. A user simply adds some water to the unit’s reservoir, plugs it into an AC outlet, turns it on and then holds a button down while applying the soleplate to the wrinkled areas. The unit is moved across the clothing in a motion that attempts to smooth the wrinkle. A non-optimized proof of concept prototype worked well for cotton and cotton blends. In 15 to 30 seconds the wrinkle was completely removed or relaxed enough to where it was no longer noticeable.
There were quite a few design challenges that had to be met and some still to be proved out: driving the vapor out, collecting condensation, preventing spills, water levels and more. We have been innovative in solving these challenges in cost effective ways. The electronics and related components are inexpensive. It is anticipated that most mechanical components will be injection molded and the soleplate cast aluminum. In this way the unit can be made inexpensive and can retail at comparable prices to similar products, such as steamers and irons, in popular discount stores.
People have tried to avoid ironing for decades which has driven a huge market for wrinkle-resistant fabrics. Unfortunately, one of the major ways these textiles are created is by using formaldehyde resins in the material formulations. This has been very bad for human health and our environment. These finishes have also been associated with attracting grease/oil stains, and fabric degradation.
The WYWI…Wrinkle-Away is a device that brings great convenience in the home, office and while traveling. By making wrinkle removal from natural fabrics easy and convenient hopefully people will feel comfortable wearing more non-wrinkle-free clothing, which would be an added plus for society.