The dry cleaner might be convenient but it’s also the equivalent of hell for your fine dress shirts. Harsh chemicals, extremely high temperatures and heavy mechanical presses can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your shirts by prematurely breaking down the fibers. And is there anything more disheartening than seeing your beautifully thick mother of pearl buttons come back chipped and broken? The horror! It’s enough to make a grown man cry.
Unless your shirt is seriously soiled, think twice before subjecting Mr. Thomas Pink or The Brothers Brooks to your local sartorial torture chamber. Launder your shirts at home and then follow these simple instructions to get the same pressed look you love and your shirts will thank you with years of service.
Step 1: Start with the collar
Flip the collar up and place it face down on the board. Iron the back of the collar starting from the center and moving out to the points to avoid creasing. Turn the collar over and repeat on the outside of the collar.
Step 2: Move to the shoulders
Drape one shoulder over the narrow end of the board and iron the shoulder piece from the yoke (where the collar meets the arm and body of the shirt) to the center of the back. Repeat on the other shoulder.
Step 3: Address the cuffs and sleeves
Unbutton the cuffs and pull the cuff over the narrow end of the board. Iron the cuff, removing and rotating it to each side to get to the underside. Repeat for the other cuff. Align the sleeves by pinching the shoulder seam and cuff before placing the sleeve flat on the board. Spread and smooth any overlapping fabric by hand before ironing.
Step 4: Iron the back panel
Drape the shirt over the board, aligning the side seam with the edge of the board. Iron as much of the back as possible then shift the shirt so that the other side seam is aligned with the opposite board edge.
Step 5: Finish with the front panels
Drape one of the shirt’s front panels across the board with the collar at the narrow end, aligning the side seam with the edge of the board. Iron. Pull the shirt off and then stick the narrow end of the board into the armhole for better access to the area around the top few buttons. Repeat for the other side.
- Start with a slightly damp shirt for best results. The easiest thing to do is hang your shirts after laundering them for 30 minutes or so before ironing.
- Invest in a good iron. Rowenta makes our favorite irons and once you experience how smoothly they glide across your shirts we guarantee you’ll be a fan as well. Buy a Rowenta iron here.
- Depending on the hardness of your water you may want to consider filling your iron with distilled water. The minerals in tap water can build up in your iron and on your clothes.
- Deal with stubborn creases with a quick spritz of water or steam.
- Always leave the largest areas for last. By leaving the front and back until last you reduce the risk of re-creasing the shirt while you iron the remaining areas.