Most modern washing machines and dryers have a crease protection mode. It works in a purely mechanical way: After the washing or drying cycle is finished, the drum keeps up a periodical movement. The clothes don’t rest in the same position but are moved from time to time which prevents the development of creases. This is helpful when you can’t be around to take the laundry out immediately. The amount of shirts to iron is still the same, but it is easier to do.
If you use a dryer or a clothesline – remember that moisture is needed for perfect ironing results. Yes, your steam iron uses steam to help you get the job done, but it is beneficial if you don’t have bone dry clothes to start with. So if your clothes need ironing, don’t let them get too dry if possible. Your subsequent ironing will be easier and will require less effort.
Fabric softeners have a conditioner-like effect on the fibres. It prevents the individual fibres to develop too strong connections while drying, which is the reason behind the slightly hard feeling to the touch you can experience without them. As a consequence fabrics are smoother which allows the iron to glide better.
…how to stretch shrunk textiles?
No need to worry if your jumper has shrunk in the wash. Try this: first soak the textile in water with conditioner for about half an hour, then put it on a towel. Stretch out carefully to its original size and let dry. The process can be repeated, if the clothing does not come back to its original shape after the first try. This trick works well for knitwear made from wool, cotton or cashmere.