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? “How to wash your dress shirts” is one of the more common questions we receive. As men, we understand how frustrating this can be since we’ve probably shrunk a shirt or two before. With the proper care, there is no reason to worry when washing your shirts. We’ve got some simple rules, methods, and tips for your dress shirt care regimen. Just follow these and you’ll have that crispy new-shirt feeling after every cleaning.
How to Wash Your Dress 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.
5. Hot or warm water is perfectly fine for whites or light colors. Use cold water for dark colors or colors that might bleed.
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 Dry Your Dress Shirts 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.
Avoid the dryer in your dress shirt 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.
How to Wash Your Dress Shirts When You’re Not at Home.
We’re assuming that you’re in a hotel or at a friend’s house. If this is the case, lock in stains with a pre-stain remover. Afterwards, place the shirt in the wash with a very light detergent and use a delicate wash with cold water. If you don’t have a washer, purchase a single detergent serving and hand wash in a bath of cold water (i.e. a sink). Thereafter, hang the shirt on a hanger and let it air dry. This isn’t an ideal scenario but it will work if you’re in a bind.
Still have some unresolved questions? Shoot us an email and we can certainly help you out!