Have you ever wondered how to wash a dress shirt? Many people think the only option is to take their dirty shirts to the dry cleaner, but you might be suprised to learn that it's actually not difficult to wash them yourself. You'll not only save money, but you'll also extend the life of your shirts.
When you need to look your best you wear your best clothes . . . and looking your best means buying quality clothes and keeping them in peak condition. When it comes to washing your dress shirts you have 3 options. We'll cover each option and give you the pro's and con's to help you make the best decision for your lifestyle.
Dress Shirt Washing Options
Option 1: Wash at Home
Washing your dress shirt at home is not only the least expensive option, but you'll also have more control over the entire process. However, expect to spend more time and effort. For best results, follow these steps:
- 52 Top Quality Mens Collar Stays- Keep your collar stiff so your shirt stays looking crisp and sharp all day.
- Stainless Steel- Stainless steel collar stays are built to last. Unlike their flimsy collar stay counterparts that come with your shirts, these 430 grade stiff collar stays won’t rust, bend or break.
- 4 Sizes - This set contains a variety of sizes including small collar stays short enough for small collars, and collar stays large enough for big collars. Includes 8 - 2.2", 18 - 2.35", 18 - 2.5" and 8 - 2.75" collar stays.
- Smooth Edges- Don't ruin your shirt collar! Our metal stays for shirt collars have polished edges to ensure that they are smooth, and won't cut through your collars.
- Sleek Divided Storage Case- Easily locate collar stiffeners in the size you need with this divided box. This case is perfect for travel or everyday storage.
Option 2: Wash & Press at the Dry Cleaners
This may sound confusing, but unless you specifically ask to have your dress shirts "dry cleaned" they'll be automatically cleaned much like what you would do at home. This service is called "wash and press" and it's a completely different process than dry cleaning.
Even though you can replicate the wash and press process at home, it's extremely convenient to send your dirty shirts out and have them returned crisp, clean and pressed. Many people prefer this method because it's relatively inexpensive (usually only a couple of dollars per shirt), and the only work you'll need to do is take a trip to the dry cleaners!
What happens when you drop off your dress shirt:
- Your shirt is washed in a washing machine with water and detergent.
- The shirt is then placed directly from the washer onto an industrial shirt press. Since the fabric is still damp, it'll be steam dried while it's being pressed.
Best bets to get your shirts looking great at the cleaners:
Option 3: Dry Clean
Having your dress shirts dry cleaned is by far the most expensive method, and in most cases, it's unnecessary. It's also not as effective at removing water-soluble stains, because the cleaning solvents used are not water-based. So sweat stains and other water-soluble stains are not flushed out. However, if you have an oil-based stain, dry cleaning will likely give you the best chance at removing the stain.
What happens when you leave your shirt at the dry cleaner:
- The shirt its tagged to be dry cleaned. Don't be surprised if it's sent to another location, as actual dry cleaning is frequently contracted out. If this is the case, same day service is nearly impossible and if they lose your shirt, well let's just say finding it may be a challenge.
- Stains are pre-treated.
- Your shirt will be placed into a basket which will rotate in perchlorethylene or DF2000 within a large machine.
- The "perc", as it's known in the industry, attaches to dirt and oils, and centrifugal force is used to "pull it" from the fabric. As "perc" is extracted, the dirt and oil stains are also removed.
- The garment will then be inspected. Any remaining stains will be treated if necessary.
- Your dress shirt is then pressed and prepared for pick-up.
Did You Know?
How to Handle Tough Stains
Many stains, such as red wine or tomato sauce, can easily ruin your clothing, and the faster you react, the better chance you'll have of saving your quality shirt. Although all stains should be pre-treated prior to washing, these tougher stubborn stains should be acted on as soon as possible. Here's what to do:
- If you've dropped pizza or spaghetti sauce on your shirt, try to remove as much as possible without rubbing the sauce further into the fabric. An effective method is to curl a piece of paper and scoop it off.
- Begin flushing the stain in water as soon as possible.
- Then work a stain remover solvent onto the stain. Take care not to force the stain further into the fabric. Lemon juice, vinegar or even dishwashing detergent can also help in a pinch.
- Next rinse with water and repeat.
- Remember, time is NOT your friend. The faster you react, the better chance you'll have at removing the stain.
How Often Should I Wash my Dress Shirt?
This can be a bit of a balancing act as clothes have a limited number of washings before they lose the snappy-new look that we crave . . . especially in our dress shirts. As a general rule, shirts tend to show more dirt and stains around the cuff and collar since these areas are in direct contact with body oils and other foreign stains. Underarm stains are also common, especially in white shirts.
As a general rule of thumb, you should wash your dress shirt after every wear if you don't wear an undershirt. With an undershirt, you may be able to stretch it to two wears, and in some cases, especially if you only wear your dress shirts for short periods of time, (and with proper in-between care), you may be able to stretch the wash times to the "only when dirty" philosophy.
Why Wear an Undershirt?
- Wearing an undershirt helps protect your more expensive dress shirt.
- Can extend the dress shirt's duration between washings.
- Prevents sweat stains to your dress shirt as the sweat is absorbed in the undershirt material.
- White shirts in particular are prone to yellow underarm stains.
- Deodorant, and any staining from deodorant, will be absorbed in the undershirt.
Although any undershirt will help protect your dress shirt, we particularly like The Thompson Tee as it provides additional sweat protection and comes in many different styles. In addition, they offer a 30-day guarantee . . . . even if you wear and wash the shirts!
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Last update on 2021-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API