Dress Shirts: A Laundry Care Guide
Maintaining your professional look is important, and crisp, clean dress shirts are an important part of that look. Dress shirts can be costly, and you don’t want to blow your budget constantly buying new ones. So, you’ll want to know how to keep your dress shirts looking new as long as possible.
For the most part, that comes down to correctly laundering your best shirts. Here's a laundry care guide that will help you keep your dress shirts in great shape for as long as possible.
Professional Wash and Press
If you don’t want to deal with cleaning your dress shirts yourself, a wash and press by a professional cleaning service is a good option. A wash and press involves machine washing the shirt, extracting most of the water in a spin cycle, and then putting the shirt into an industrial presser that irons and removes the moisture from the shirt at the same time.
The reason for a professional cleaner to wash and press the shirt instead of dry cleaning it is that most cotton dress shirts should not be dry cleaned. What’s more, dry cleaning won’t remove water-soluble stains, like perspiration stains, which are more common than oil-based stains on dress shirts.
Also, wash and press cleaning is considerably less expensive than dry cleaning. With that said, if you have a few dress shirts that are made of silk instead of cotton, or if you get stuck working on your car in your dress shirt and end up with oil stains, dry cleaning might be a better option for those specific cases.
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. For one thing, most modern washing machines offer a delicate cycle, which is usually sufficiently gentle for a cotton dress shirt. Hand washing takes a lot of time and may not be sufficient to remove tough stains, so machine washing is usually a better bet.
Machine Washing at Home
At-home machine washing is an acceptable way to clean your dress shirts as long as you take the proper precautions. Start by pre-treating any stains with a stain remover pen, or by working some detergent directly into the stain.
Before you put the shirt in the washer, unbutton all of the buttons and remove any collar stays. Wash the shirts on a delicate cycle, using hot water for whites and light colors and cold water for dark colors. Be sure to use a high-quality detergent.
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. Avoid using the dryer for dress shirts. When the shirt is dry, take the time to iron it before hanging it back in the closet.