Skip to main content
Close Menu

How to Wash Dress Shirts


Maintaining your professional look is important, and crisp, clean dress shirts are an essential part of that look. Whether you wash them yourself or take it them to the cleaners, here's how to keep your button-down shirts looking new as long as possible.

Check the label for shirt care instructions

Should you dry clean dress shirts?

Can you wash dress shirts?

Most dress shirts can be washed. If the label indicates it is safe to machine or hand wash your shirt, like with most cotton shirts, you'll still want to take precautions and use the tips in this dress shirt care guide.

Machine wash dress shirts

At-home machine washing is an acceptable way to clean your dress shirts as long as you take the proper precautions. Follow these steps to wash to wash button up shirts at home.

1. Know how to get stains out of dress shirts

2. Prepare your shirt to be washed

Before you put the shirt in the washer, you should unbutton all the buttons and remove any collar stays. It's also a good idea to uncuff the sleeves and check any pockets on the front of the shirt just in case.

3. Use the right washing cycle for dress shirts

Drying dress shirts

We recommend you do not put dress shirts in the dryer since this can damage or wear out the shirt.

Remove the shirt promptly from the washing machine when the cycle is over before wrinkles can set in. Hang the shirt on a clothesline to air dry or lay the shirt out on a flat surface.

Don't forget to iron dress shirts

Skip hand washing dress shirts

Hand washing sounds like a good idea for shirts that you want to treat delicately, but it’s not the best solution in most cases. Most modern washing machines offer a delicate cycle, which is usually sufficiently gentle for a cotton shirt.

Hand washing takes a lot of time and may not be sufficient to remove tough stains, so machine washing or professional shirt laundering is usually a better bet.

Professionally wash and press your dress shirts

Professional cleaners typically launder dress shirts instead of dry cleaning them because most cotton dress shirts should not be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning also won’t remove water-soluble stains, like sweat stains, which are more common than oil-based stains on dress shirts.