• Kevin Kenealy

How to Take Excellent Care of the Dress Shirts in Your Wardrobe


People who are in their teens and twenties are often decked out in a t-shirt and jeans, which is certainly a permissible outfit to wear. But as people mature and aspire in life to look good, wearing sharp looking duds as opposed to dressing casually, becomes more important. There is a positive feeling that one gains from looking sharp to others and to yourself. Part of dressing snappy is wearing a classy well cared for dress shirt. Taking good care of dress shirts is not hard, but it does take commitment. To learn more about this topic read on.

Dress Shirt Care Tips

Top-quality dress shirts only last so long, but while they are being worn, they should look sharp and be kept clean. They can be kept looking new for an extended time by being cared for correctly. Dress shirts that are washed too often age out and become useless and unwearable more quickly because the fabric fibers become damaged. If your work involves physical activity when wearing a dress shirt where you sweat, your shirts need to be washed regularly. If your work is in an office at a desk or any other type of sedentary job, you may be able to wear your dress shirts a handful of times before needing to wash them. Your dress shirts will last longer if they are washed less often.

Maintaining Snappy Looking Dress Shirts

It takes time and effort to maintain your dress shirts where they continue to look good. There are several ways to maintain your shirts that require your check book and not your time and vice versa. Featured below are ways to consider using along with a handful of suggestions to assist you in reducing how often you need to run your washing machine.

  1. Local Dry Cleaner Wash and Press Service

  2. Old School Method: Wash, Spray Starch, and Iron at the House

  3. Method to Increase the Time Your Dress Shirts Look Good

  4. Best Practices for Ironing Your Dress Shirts

Local Dry Cleaner Wash and Press Service

Local dry cleaners do not dry clean dress shirts. They launder them the traditional way, then press them using light starch. The typical cost can run from $1.99 to $4.00 per shirt. This method is convenient, it is affordable, and it maintains your dress shirts so they look fantastic. Keep all dry cleaner washed and press shirts in the plastic sleeve in your closet until you wear them. Put the shirt back in the same plastic bag and wear it a second or third time, if it makes sense to do so.

Quick Tip: Be sure to communicate and show your dry cleaner where stains are on your dress shirts when you bring them in to be washed and pressed. If you do not, they will wash your stained shirts and bake in the stains permanently when they press them.

Old School Method: Wash, Spray Starch, and Iron at the House

For those with their own washing machine or for those that bring their clothes to the local laundromat, this method is immediate, affordable and it provides you the ability to take care of buttons, collars and tough to notice stains.

The items you require to go the old school method include laundry detergent, spot pre-treater, a washing machine, good hangers, spray starch, and an iron and ironing board.

How to Wash and Press Your Dress Shirts at the House

1. Getting Dress Shirts Ready to Wash

Getting your dress shirts prepared to be washed is a critical part that must be done prior to washing them so they turn out great. Here is what must be done to be certain washing your dress shirts is an effortless endeavor.

Buttons and Stays – Undo all the buttons, remove collar stays and place them in the same spot so they do not get lost. This will keep the shirt cloth and the buttons in good shape from the wear it will receive during the wash.

Pretreat Spots and Normal Dirt & Body Oil Areas on the Shirt – Pretreat spots with a quality stain remover or your laundry detergent. Be sure any stains are completely removed before washing. Pretreat collars, underarms, and cuffs the same way.

Inside Out-Lastly, prior to washing your dress shirts, turn them inside out. This will reduce the shirts wear and tear and extend their lifespan.

2. Washing Your Dress Shirts in a Washing Machine

When you wash your dress shirts, be sure to use the delicate cycle. The only time you want to employ the normal cycle is if the shirts are super dirty or if the shirt is made with a thicker material. Wash all darker colored shirts on cold to keep them from wearing out and from fading. Make certain you never use any laundry detergent with chlorine bleach. The bleach will discolor your shirts and all the care you have take will be for nothing. Run the shirts through the two-spin cycle setting to wring out the lions share of water in them. Do not put your dress shirts into the dryer to dry them.

3. Take Out Your Dress Shirts from the Washing Machine and Hang Them Up

Take out your dress shirts out of the washing machine as soon as the 2nd spin cycle stops. Grab the shirt at the shoulder area and give it a quick couple of shakes to remove as many wrinkles as possible. Hang each dress shirt individually on a wood hanger or plastic hanger to dry. Do not hang your dress shirts on wire hangers because it may wreck the shirt fabric fibers or pass rust into it.

Sometimes you need a dress shirt right away, so using a dryer is required. Before using check to make sure all the stains are gone because the dryer will bake any stains into it permanently.

Detail Tips for the Washer Method

  • Do not leave your dress shirts in your dirty clothes hamper for extended periods of time. Yellow stains from sweat and body oils will chemically lock into the shirt fabric and become impossible to take out. Pretreat your dress shirts cuffs, collars, and underarms after wearing them to keep this from happening.

  • Use a mesh laundry washing bag to wash your dress shirts. It will help keep the buttons from tearing off or breaking during the wash and spin cycle.

  • Do not wash your dress shirts in hot water. Go with warm water instead.

  • Do not use bleach to whiten your white cotton dress shirts. The bleach will destroy the shirt fabric eventually to where the shirt will start falling apart and not be wearable. Use super light bleach only if there is no other option to bring a white shirt’s luster back.

Best Practices for Ironing Your Dress Shirts

Have your iron and ironing board ready to go while your shirts are getting washed. As soon as the 2nd spin cycle ends, pull the shirts out the washer, give them a couple of quick snaps, and hang them up on wood or plastic hangers. Allowing them to dry is not required. From this point it is time to start ironing them.

The amount of starch you employ is up to you. The simple approach to starch is to spray the front and back of the shirt, the collar, and the sleeves. Once this is done you are ready to iron.

Methods to Follow to Iron Your Dress Shirts Well

  1. To begin the ironing process, start with the shirt collar. Iron the collar backside from the ends and back to the center. This will prevent creases.

  2. Next do the cuffs. Set up the cuff so it is flat on the ironing board then proceed. Doing the cuffs first allows the sleeves to be ironed with more ease.

  3. The next shirt section to iron are the sleeves. Place the sleeve seem flat on the ironing board. Smooth out the sleeve first and then employ the iron.

  4. The next shirt section you should iron is the back. Be sure to carefully iron around the shirt pleat so the area is completely ironed. Move the shirt as needed to iron the entire back.

  5. The next shirt section to iron is the shoulders. Pull the shirt over the ironing board end so it is taught. Move the shirt shoulder around the iron narrow end and iron each section that has not been ironed yet.

  6. The nest shirt section to iron is the front of the shirt. Be sure to iron the shirt pocket from side to center from each side. Iron between each button where the fabric is completely pressed. Be sure to iron with care so the buttons do not get knocked loose.

  7. Finally, the last section or iron is the collar front. Iron the collar from each end to the middle.

  8. Put the collar stays back in.

  9. Now your shirt is thoroughly ironed. Place it back its wood or plastic hangar and hang it in your closet. It is ready to wear.

Completing all the necessary steps described here to prepare your dress shirts for washing, washing, and ironing them one by one is a bit of work, but easy on the wallet. Dry cleaners are also pros at what they do, just make sure to communicate your needs if there are special instructions for a garment.

Quality dress shirts are a good investment. When they are well taken care of, they can last for years. Suits Unlimited is the premier menswear store in Albuquerque offering an excellent line of dress shirts to choose from to round out any wardrobe. Stop by our store at 8406 Menaul NE, Albuquerque NM 87110 to see what we offer in dress shirts and menswear.