Menswear | Shirts

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts

Giorgio D'Antonio

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts

You’ve bought an expen­sive dress shirt and it’s about time for a clean­ing. Now what? As men, we under­stand how frus­trat­ing this can be since we’ve prob­a­bly shrunk a shirt or two before. With the prop­er method, we will show you how to wash and care for your dress shirts.

We’ve out­lined some sim­ple rules, meth­ods, and tips on how to wash and care for your dress shirts. Just fol­low these and you’ll have that crispy new-shirt feel­ing after every clean­ing.

Everyday care for your dress shirts.

It’s impor­tant to check your dress shirts now and then to make sure there are no loose but­tons, unno­ticed stains, rips or wrin­kles. This is to catch prob­lems before it’s too late and cor­rect any­thing before you actu­al­ly need to wear it. This also helps pri­or to iron­ing.

Also, keep your dress shirts spaced a few inch­es apart on their hang­ers, let­ting them breathe and drape nat­u­ral­ly, pre­vent­ing poor form. So take the few min­utes to give a look over and see where any­thing may need some repair.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: on hanger

The use of round­ed hang­er ends can be seen through the shirt. This pre­vents any harsh dim­ples form­ing when hung to dry.

Washing & drying your dress shirts.

Giv­ing your shirts prop­er care and atten­tion is the most impor­tant step to pro­long­ing the life of your dress shirt. There are two choic­es with wash­ing: do it your­self or have it tak­en to the clean­ers.

Method 1: Washing & drying your shirts at home

1. Unbut­ton all but­tons, don’t for­get cuffs and col­lars.

2. Remove any col­lar stays. Some are fused into the col­lar, so leav­ing them in is not an issue.

3. Pre-treat any stains with deter­gent or spot clean (be care­ful and test in a small area first to check for col­or fast­ness). One great prod­uct to try is the col­lars and cuffs bar from The Laun­dress. This prod­uct works great for pre-treat­ing those tough ring around the col­lar stains.

4. Use the del­i­cate cycle (or hand-wash where avail­able) for light­weight fab­ric (e.g. Broad­cloths and Poplins). For heav­ier fab­rics (e.g. Oxfords or Pin­points), choose the nor­mal cycle.

5. Hot or warm water is per­fect­ly fine for whites or light col­ors. Use cold water for dark col­ors or col­ors that might bleed.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: laundromat

A typ­i­cal laun­dro­mat with indus­tri­al grade wash­ing machines and dry­ers.

6. For deter­gent, Woo­lite is a great choice. Avoid any­thing that is chlo­rine-based. It can turn that deep blue into a sky blue if you’re not care­ful. Also, fab­ric soft­en­er can coat your fab­ric, mak­ing it even hard­er to get those stains out so use them with cau­tion.

7. Use a spin cycle get most of the water out of the gar­ment, opt­ing for a slow­er speed for your del­i­cate fab­rics.

8. Once the wash cycle is com­plete, remove them quick­ly oth­er­wise let­ting them sit for too long will allow the fab­ric to devel­op wrin­kles.

9. Rather than using the dry­er, hang up the shirt to dry instead. Use round­ed hang­ers to avoid sharp hang­er marks once dry. More about why dry­ing is detri­men­tal to your shirt below.

10. Iron the shirts once they are slight­ly damp. Avoid starch as this can embed into the cloth and wear out your shirt pre­ma­ture­ly.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: label on clothes

Pay atten­tion to labels on your clothes.

Nev­er have the shirt starched, which will even­tu­al­ly weak­en the fabric’s fibers, mak­ing it flim­sy. Also, avoid get­ting your dress shirts dry cleaned but laun­dered instead. Dry clean­ing requires chem­i­cals which will warp the fab­ric. Not to men­tion, dry clean­ers are noto­ri­ous for acci­den­tal­ly dam­ag­ing a lot of expen­sive cloth­ing, so try and save some mon­ey (and your clothes) by clean­ing them your­self.

Avoid the dryer in your care routine.

Unless you’re strapped for time, leave your shirts out of the dry­er. These machines actu­al­ly rob cot­ton of mois­ture which will short­en a fabric’s lifes­pan more so than any oth­er fac­tor. Not to men­tion, a good chance you’ll encounter shrink­age which may com­plete­ly alter the fit of your favorite shirt. It’s best to not take any chances.

Method 2: Washing & drying your shirts at the dry-cleaners.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: dry cleaner

A famil­iar sight; Gar­ments all wrapped up at the dry-clean­ers.

1. Pick a local dry-clean­er and have them wash and press some old­er shirts first. In this way even if they dam­age them, you won’t lose sleep over it. Find the next best clean­er or do a quick Google search for the best rat­ed ones.

2. Some­times they assume you want the shirts dry-cleaned. Make sure to ask them for a wash and press only. The actu­al chem­i­cals they use to dry-clean can be detri­men­tal to the fab­ric and may leave the shirt devoid of its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter­is­tics.

3. Iden­ti­fy tough stains to them. This is what they’re good at and they can real­ly help in remov­ing trou­ble­some spots. Be care­ful, their stain removers are high poten­cy so it’s best to seek their advice first.

A caveat to using dry-cleaners.

Clean­ers use a heavy duty indus­tri­al press, and this can some­times dam­age or even crack the shirt’s moth­er of pearl but­tons. Not only that, the deter­gent they use may not be the best espe­cial­ly since they’re using large indus­tri­al size machines for wash­ing.

Although the press­ing is fan­tas­tic, and not eas­i­ly repli­cat­ed at home, we rec­om­mend iron­ing your more del­i­cate and expen­sive shirts at home.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: iron press

A typ­i­cal indus­tri­al press used by laun­dro­mats, hotels, and oth­er estab­lish­ments that see high vol­ume of gar­ment clean­ing.

Follow a proper ironing regimen for your dress shirts.

Flat­ten out all the wrin­kles before you start iron­ing as this will make it easy. Also, make sure there aren’t any stains on your dress shirt. Stains that are ironed are almost impos­si­ble to remove, becom­ing per­ma­nent­ly pressed into the fab­ric. Check to make sure there are no loose but­tons or thread­ing, as these could get caught while iron­ing and get dam­aged.

Try to iron your dress shirts when they are slight­ly damp. Using a good steam iron will help as well, as you’ll eas­i­ly and quick­ly remove wrin­kles while also dry­ing out your shirt.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: ironing

Tips to handle stains on your shirts.

This is bound to hap­pen soon­er or lat­er, so it’s best to be pre­pared. Act imme­di­ate­ly when it hap­pens. If it’s mud or a grass stain, use a stain remover. Liq­uid deter­gents work well with oil or grease stains, while hand wash­ing with cold water.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: pre-treating

White shirts are easy tar­gets so try to wear an under­shirt to coun­ter­act against sweat stains. Also, apply cologne first and let it dry before putting on your dress shirt. This will avoid any dis­col­orations from the chem­i­cals.

How To Wash And Care For Your Dress Shirts: handling stains

Prolong your dress shirt’s lifespan with simple care and attention.

Fol­low­ing these guide­lines will help you pro­long the life of your dress shirt, main­tain their col­or, fab­ric and fit. Your wardrobe is a major invest­ment and deserves the atten­tion to make it last and look good. And that extra mon­ey you save from buy­ing new shirts can be spent on some­thing else, a steak din­ner or a gift for your spouse.

Still have some unre­solved ques­tions? Shoot us an email and we can cer­tain­ly help you out!

Custom Tailored Dress Shirts from Deo Veritas