Ask LH: How Can I Make Anti-Theft Coat Hangers More Useful?

Dear Lifehacker, I'm sitting in a hotel before a customer meeting this morning with a problem. My shirts and jacket are creased from being packed in my luggage. Normally, I hang them on the towel rail in the bathroom while I have a shower, and the vapour causes the creases to fall out. However, this hotel uses those 'anti-theft' coat hangers with a stud instead of a hook, and I can't find anywhere in the bathroom that I can attach these.I thought maybe a company might produce small 'adaptors' that I can pack to turn the stud back into a hook, or even some household object that could do this, but can't find anything. Can you help? Thanks, Steamed

Dear Steamed,

Anti-theft coat hangers are a major nuisance even if you don't want to do some in-room steaming - I used to complain about them constantly when I produced videos of the hotel rooms I frequented on my travels. These days, they're very much the norm even in high-end hotels though (and they'll undoubtedly pose an issue during this week's No Luggage challenge).

I'm not aware of any commercial adaptors to let you hang those hangers in another room, and it sounds like a niche application (if anyone knows different, tell us in the comments). The most obvious household object you could adapt would be the loop from a keyring and a piece of string: with the string tied firmly to the loop and the loop itself threaded inside to the top of the hanger, you could use the string to attach the hanger to a towel hook or rail.

The other solution (and the one I've used in the past to make drip-drying hand washing easier) is to take your own coat hanger. That won't work with really small items of baggage, but you can easily lie a coat-hanger flat at the top of a standard carry-on case. I've always favoured plastic over wire hangers for this, as they don't get bent out of shape and won't rust if you use them in steamy environments. I'd certainly rather pack an extra hanger than have to use an iron!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    I've always heard that you can spray an article of clothing with a small spray bottle and leave it overnight. I've never tried it, but it could be worth testing at home before you travel.

    Just phone reception and tell them you want a real hanger.

    Something really last resort would be to pop up the toilet seat and hang your suit on that, the pants can go on the towel rail, just be sure to check that the toilet is actually clean. Hmm...

    Use Cable Ties!

    Cheap, small, pack flat and take up minimal room in your minimal case.

    Together with WD40 and Duct Tape, the saviours of the world.

    I keep meaning to buy one of these: which I believe would make packing easier.

      Neat coathanger design - straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark!!

    Or take something like "Kikkerland’s Aluminum Folding Coat Hanger". Quick google shows solutions are there.

    Here's a life hack: try using the ironing board and iron in your hotel room's closet to remove the creases from your clothes.

      haha that's a brilliant idea, but only problem is those $10 iron's they use, would go nowhere near my suits

    I wear my clothes creased everyday. So when I travel I look exactly the same.

      Angus, stop posting under false names. We know it's you.

        Not guilty - I don't personally care enough about ironing to have asked that question! (And yes, all Ask LH questions are genuine submissions.)

    Just mould a hook for it out of a bit of Sugru.

      Sugru is too soft even when cured.

    Try an aluminium carabeena hook, available in different sizes from most camping/outdoorsy stores. They're light, don't take up much room, and if you get one in a larger size it'll hook through the coat hanger loop and over the towel rail no problems. You could also try an "S" bend hook from the likes of a garden or hardware store.

    The other option, and one I have used, is to dislodge the bar which the anti-theft hangers are on. I've found that while they place the hangers on securely the actual bar remains unstable and easy to remove. If not, use a knife to loosen off the screws. Slide off the coat hangers and use a face washer through the loop to quickly tie it onto the towel rack. Steam your clothes to your own content.

    If you have morals, replace the hangars when you're done.

    A shoelace should do.

    take a pair of tin snips with you next time and you'll be able to cut a section out of the hanger on the bar so it lifts off the bar. keep the now modified 'anti-theft' hanger in your suitcase for the next hotel

      I Like! A thieved anti-theft hanger!

      Just don't plan to fly with those tin snips, or they will be thieved too.


    There is a solution to your problem. It's called the convertahanger and is available online at It will turn the post into a hook for the Hotel Security Hanger.

    Works with post and ball Hotel Security hanger and the 5/8" Hotel Security Hangers. It's a hook for Hotel Security Hangers, so you can now hang your suite in the bathroom to steam it or even your hand washables using the Hotel Security Hangers that have the clips on them for pants.

    I hope this is helpful.

    The Team at

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