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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Thank You Actual Advice Mallard, Episode 1

Memes are great. Aside from being hilarious, memes can offer insight into ourselves in some of the most disturbingly ironic ways. And sometimes, they can be very helpful.

One of my current favorites is "Actual Advice Mallard" (learn more about him and his origins at by clicking here). As you may guess, this aquatic avian that quacks dispenses little tidbits of life hacks. For example: using the Shift+Ctrl+T key-stroke to reopen an accidently-closed tab in your browser. I tried it and it worked. Then, I shamed myself for not already knowing this trick. As my friend Joey likes to point out—quite exasperatedly, actually: "T.J., you're Asian! Computer stuff should be genetically hardwired into your DNA."

Another great example of the Mallard's sagely advice is featured in the photo below.

Now, Brooke told me she knew of this trick already but she couldn't remember where she first came across it. Either way, she assured me, it works. It made sense to me since people sometimes pay a lot of money for personal garment steamers. But I thought I'd give it a try all the same.

Below are the before and after pictures of the three shirts I tried this trick on over the course of several showers. All three are labeled as 100% cotton and are of varying degrees of weight and style. After all was said and done, a 15 minute steamy shower worked on these shirts to a varying degree of success.


The first shirt I tried was a gray polo from Old Navy that is part of my uniform for work. The material is somewhat stretchy and I found this trick worked wonders on this shirt. When I got out, the shirt looked as if I had ironed it. There were a few wrinkles still near the bottom but a few quick tugs and a pat down of the shirt took care of it.


This next shirt is a Mossimo brand flannel shirt from Target. The material is less elastic than the polo and is much thicker. I was a little worried that the stream and extreme heat might prematurely shrink one of my favorite shirts but it was fine in the end. This shirt was less wrinkled going in than the gray polo and came out with slightly more wrinkled than the polo when the two end results are compared to each other. The tug and pat down trick helped a little but it did not have that freshly ironed quality of the polo. I'd say the shirt is still wearable if stiffly-ironed is not the look you are looking for. Also, the material and style of the flannel helped to hide some of those persistent wrinkles.


Lastly, I tried this trick on a dress shirt. The shirt I chose was a Merona brand shirt, also from Target. The material is still 100% cotton according to the tag but is thinner and stiffer than the polo and the flannel shirt. The shirt went in as a bag of wrinkles and came out still significantly unchanged below the breast line and sleeves. Though it was an improvement, I would have been better off just ironing the damn thing. I definitely would not wear it if I had somewhere to be. Granted, I may not have stayed in the shower long enough or maybe the shirt was just having an off day. Perhaps I would have better luck with another dress shirt, maybe a shirt that is blended with other fabrics.

All in all, a decent advice from our Life Hack Duck. I definitely would try this out with other pieces of my wardrobe. It would help to know which items I own that I can do this with. Brooke says she's done this before with garments of varying materials, so I'm sure I'll have a better success rate with other dress shirts. At least I know that if I'm running late for work, I can save time not having to iron my work shirt. Also, I don't think this trick was made for the boss-level state of wrinkles that these shirts were in. I bet it works best on previously iron shirts that happened to pick up some creases in the closet.

Try it out yourself and let me know what you think.