How to Properly Iron a Dress Shirt

by Antonio on April 6, 2011 · 97 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a man who’s wearing what would be a very dapper get-up….except it’s ruined by wrinkly clothes. I see this especially with young, single professional men who probably don’t have mom or a wife to iron their clothes for them and never learned this basic life skill for themselves.

The fact is a lot of grown men don’t know how to iron a shirt. It’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t know how. Growing up, dear old mom probably ironed your dress shirts whenever you needed one and now your wife does this chore.  But a man needs to be self-sufficient. He shouldn’t have to rely on somebody else to ensure that he looks presentable. He’s in charge of that. If an unexpected interview or date comes up, a man knows how to get ready and out the door looking like a million bucks.

Details matter when it comes to your appearance and making a good first impression. Wrinkles draw the eye of those you meet and make you look sloppy and out-of-sorts. Having well-pressed clothing shows the world that you’re a man of discipline and order, a man who has his stuff together and understands that the details matter. And a crisp shirt really pulls together a handsome outfit. Throw on a well-ironed shirt, and you get a bit of confident pep in your step; it just feels good.

Ironing isn’t hard when you get the hang of it. You can get a shirt done in less than 5 minutes. And boom–you’re ready to take on the world.

Today we’re going to give you the ins and outs of fast, effective ironing. If you don’t really know how to iron a dress shirt, here’s your primer. And if you’re already pretty adept at this chore, you’ll probably find some great tips you never thought of before. So let’s get started by talking about the tools of the trade.

The 6 Tools of Effective Ironing

Tool #1: The Iron

How do you identify a quality iron?

A well built soleplate – To play on words, this is the soul of the iron.  You want something that is solid, smooth, and clean if buying used.  You’ll find soleplates made from solid steel, titanium coated, and cast iron with aluminum, to name three solid options.  Avoid new irons under $20, as this is where low cost manufacturers most often skimp on the product to keeps costs low.  A poor quality soleplate will not clean well and may have uneven heat distribution–which leads to shirts being damaged.

Classic Iron

High heat capability – Most consumer irons range in power consumption from 420 watts (small travel irons) to 1800 watts (higher end models above $100).  The power consumption plays into the amount of heat produced by the iron, although there isn’t always a direct relationship as the size of the soleplate needing to be heated factors in as well.  But generally speaking, a 1800 watt iron is going to be hotter than a 1200 watt one, and it will heat up faster.

Why the need for heat?  Certain fabrics, cotton and linen being two of them, require high heat to reform their shape.  A hotter iron can cut ironing time in half, vs. one that forces you to pass and remain on the same part of the garment for 45 seconds.  Also, steam production relies on the soleplate’s temperature and higher temps produce steadier steam.

Steam delivery system – You want steam as it breathes life into fabrics and the hot moisture enables the toughest wrinkles to smooth out with minimal work by more evenly distributing the heat through the garment fibers.  Steam irons under $20 often have their steam component built in as an afterthought and sputter and spit out water when you don’t want it.  Higher end models have 300+ holes that deliver a clean, uniform mist.

Depending on your needs you’ll want the best steam delivery system you can budget. Why? A good steam iron can be used indirectly on wools and other more delicate fabrics and save you thousands a year in pressing and dry cleaning costs in addition to what I mentioned above.

soleplate steam delivery

Size and Weight – Size and weight do become issues for those who deal with arthritis or are sensitive to weight differences of a few pounds.  Thus expensive irons made from lightweight space-age materials are not necessarily better because they cost more–they simply are being made for a different customer.  So don’t always equate price with quality.

 

Special Note – Travel Irons

For the sharp dressed road warrior a travel iron is a wise investment.  Although hotels normally have an iron and board available for guest use, this isn’t always the case, especially at hotels that are either budget or are trying to encourage use of their expensive in-house cleaning services.

Having your own iron enables you to use a device you’re familiar with and prepare your clothing on your schedule as you see fit.  No ironing board?  Grab a towel and throw it on a flat surface–it will do the job.

travel iron

Lightweight, small, easy to carry and dependable are the keys to a good travel iron.

Personally I recommend Steamfast’s compact travel iron.  It is incredibly small, lightweight, hot, produces an decent amount of steam, and is value priced.  However what impressed me most was the great customer service I recently received from this American business.  I was having mechanical problems (or so I thought–turns out I didn’t know how to use it properly) and thought it was going to be a hassle to exchange it as I had waited 8 months to report the problem.  Instead, I spoke with a very nice customer service rep who resolved my issue and within minutes shipped me a new one–no questions asked.  You have to love that!

 

Tool # 2: The Ironing Board

You need something that’s sturdy and has a top that you’re comfortable ironing on.  I advise you see what’s available for free as many people have an old one lying around–and then spend the money on a nice cover and pad.  You can also put a piece of aluminum foil under the ironing board cover–the idea here is to reflect the iron’s heat back on itself so you’re actually ironing from both sides at once.  Be careful though as it will increase the speed in which you can burn the clothing.

Tool #3: Spray Bottle

Do not re-use a container that housed a cleaning agent. You’ll use this spray bottle to disperse water evenly over your shirt before ironing in the case your iron is not equipped with a steam function or when you’re ironing in bulk (as I will show you).  It’s also handy for when you’re ironing a wrinkle–give the spot a spray and then iron out the wrinkle seconds later.

 

Tool #4: Water

You want to use water free of small dirt and high concentrations of calcium and magnesium, both common in hard water.  Long term use can lead to iron damage and leave marks on dress shirt fabrics that are hard to remove.  However, you do not need to use distilled water as some mineral presence is good as it acts as a wetting agent and helps water better vaporize when it contacts the soleplate.  Drinking water is perfect for most irons.

ironing man and washing machine

If this doesn’t motivate you to iron, I don’t know what will. Picture courtesy of artist Darel Seo.

 

Tool #5: A Light-Colored Cotton Towel

A towel can be used as a ironing board pad, rolled and used inside sleeves as a makeshift sleeve-board, or simply to clean up excess water sprayed on the shirt.

Tool #6: Spray Starch (Optional)

I remember in the Marines using cans of spray starch in an effort to get the perfect “crisp” look; however, just as often I would overdue it and be dealing with flakes due to over starching or not letting it set in.

To use starch, understand it is best used in moderation and with a temperature setting of 6 or below (the highest setting can cause flaking).  Too much and you can make a normally breathable cotton shirt feel like a synthetic plastic bag and cause more wrinkles when worn!

FYI – a man can make his own starch spray by dissolving one tablespoon of cornstarch in two cups water. Using a spray bottle (preferably not the water one–clearly mark it “spray starch”) you can then LIGHTLY mist the fabric a minute before ironing.

How to Iron a Shirt

For these instructions I assume you are ironing a batch of five (5) 100% cotton dress shirts with an iron setting of five to six (depending on your iron).  If you’re seeking a super crisp look, you’ll want to first turn the shirt inside out and iron the inside and then iron the outside of the shirt.  This will add another two minutes onto the process, but will give you better results, especially on thicker cotton fabrics. If you use the aluminum foil trick though, you can skip this.

Preparation – Read the shirt’s label.  Really, you need to understand what type of fabric the shirt is made from before ironing it or you could possibly destroy it.   Most shirts are made from cotton or cotton blends and can withstand high temps, although polyester shirt fabrics are more fragile to heat. If you’re unsure, start with a low setting such as 3 and then move up until the shirt starts to respond to the iron’s heat.  Note: Silk and wool shirts are not covered here.  Although it is possible to clean them yourself, you need to know what you’re doing.

You want the shirts to be moist (not soaking wet).  This will enable you to dry iron without having to worry about your iron’s steam function.  Ideally you have recently pulled the shirts from the washing machine; if they are already dry, however, just take them and thoroughly mist them with the spray bottle. Once finished, place them in a plastic bag to better diffuse the moisture and prevent evaporation.

Next set up the ironing board near a power outlet that is close to the closet where you’ll be hanging everything immediately after ironing. Ensure the iron has water in it and then plug it in, set to the lowest heat setting you’ll need.  Store all of your ironing equipment together, that way you’re never looking for anything when you need it quickly.

Within 5 minutes the iron should be ready and all the shirts moistened.  Pull the lightest weight shirt from the bag first, making sure it is evenly wet.  If not, spray on a bit more water.

1. Iron the Collar First

Always start by ironing your dress shirt collar.  This is the most visible part of a shirt as it frames the face, especially when worn with a  suit or sport jacketIn a pinch and when wearing a jacket, you can get away with ironing only your collar, the front area right below it, and your cuffs. Just don’t take off your jacket!

To iron the shirt collar, pop it up and start with the underside, slowly pressing the iron from one point to the other.  Ensure that it is thoroughly moist before starting, and if any wrinkles appear, press them to the bottom where they’ll be less visible. Next, flip the shirt over and repeat this process on the outside of the collar.

ironing-dress-shirt-collar

2. Next Iron the Cuffs

As mentioned above, I iron the cuffs next as they receive a lot of attention when worn properly with a jacket.

To iron a shirt cuff, first unbutton it (to include the gauntlet button) and lay it out flat.  First iron the inside of the cuff, and next the outside, moving all wrinkles from uneven fabric to the edges.  Carefully iron around the buttons, and even on the backside. Never iron over buttons (unless you place them over a towel or something with give) as they can leave a mark.  For French cuffs, open them fully and iron as above.  I recommend you not press the edges of a French cuff–it steals the life and body from a smooth fold.

Iron-dress-shirt-cuff

3. Ironing the Shirt Front

Start with the side that has buttons and carefully work the iron point around the button area (never over the buttons).

Iron-dress-shirt-under-button

Then move back up to the top of the shoulder and work your way down the shirt with the iron. Repeat on the other side, and if you have a placket, press the material under it with the iron point and then over the top.  It’s worth spending a bit more time on the front placket and areas near the collar as they receive a high percentage of visual attention.

front-shirt-how-to-iron

4. Iron the Back of the Shirt

Laying the shirt flat on the board, I like to position one of the sleeve heads into the square edge of the ironing board. You then have half the back in prime position to be ironed, and only need to slide the shirt over to complete the other half.  Start at the top with the yoke (back shoulder area) and slowly slide the iron down.  If you have a center box pleat, you’ll have to spend a few seconds ironing around it–I prefer not to iron back in the pleat, as the time required for an area you don’t want to highlight isn’t worth the effort.

iron-shirt-back

5. Iron the Sleeves

I choose to iron sleeves last as of all the parts of the shirt, they can be ironed in the widest variety of ways and for most men are the trickiest part of the shirt.  Problems arise from the fact that unless you have a sleeve board, you’ll be ironing two layers of fabric.  Thus the key to ironing sleeves is to be sure the fabric is flat and smooth BEFORE you apply the iron.

Take either sleeve by the seam and lay the whole sleeve (and most of the shirt) flat on the ironing board. If you can see the creases on the top of the sleeve from previous ironing, match it again so that you have a single crease line. Start ironing at the top where the sleeve is sewn onto the shirt and work your way down to the cuff. Turn the sleeve over and iron, then repeat the process with the other sleeve. If you don’t have a sleeve board and would rather your shirt sleeve not have a crease, insert a rolled-up towel into the sleeve. This will allow you to iron it without leaving a crease mark.

how-to-iron-dress-shirt-sleeves

The bottom picture shows you the shirt sleeve seam – use this as a guide when laying the sleeve flat.

6. Inspect & Hang

Inspect the shirt and spot iron where necessary.   Finally, place the shirt on a hanger and in your closet.

Three Warnings

  1. If you are not sure of the shirt’s fiber type, err on the side of caution and iron it with a lower setting. You can always increase the temperature…but you cannot fix heat damaged fabric.
  2. Iron around buttons, never over them. Even if there is fabric laying over the button, as in the case of a pocket with under-buttons or a dress shirt with a hidden button down collar.  You can create a permanent impression that will ruin the look of the shirt.  Be sure to remove shirt stays as well.
  3. Never iron a dirty shirt–you’ll set the stains, and it will be very difficult if not impossible to remove them.
laundry tag call mother

If all else fails call your mother.

Clean Your Iron’s Water Reservoirs

If you use tap water in your iron, you’ll eventually have a build-up of mineral deposits.  This will be most noticeable when your steam output comes to a crawl.  To clean the reservoir, pour a solution of 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar into the water reservoir. Heat the iron normally and let it steam for a few minutes before unplugging  and placing it soleplate down on a heat resistant dish that has room for the draining water.  An hour later drain and repeat with water–repeat the process if needs be.  Finally, rinse and refill with bottled drinking water or non-hard tap water.

Final Quick Ironing Tips

  • If you’re looking for supplies and want quality equipment that will last decades, shop where your tailors and dry cleaners shop. North Carolina’s B&G Lieberman is a great supplier of all things tailor or cleaner-related; I called them just the other day, and their 86 year old founder still answers the phone!  You’ll find anything from quality buttons to suit brushes to industrial strength steam irons through them.
  • Iron your shirts in batches. Ironing a shirt only takes a few minutes, but half of that time is taken up with preparation–getting the ironing board set up, the iron filled and hot, etc. So use your time more effectively by ironing all your shirts in one batch instead of whenever you need one.
  • If you’re ironing a large number of shirts or other articles of clothing, start with the garments needing the lowest temperature. Then move to the garments (cotton and linens) that require the highest temperatures. The reasoning is that it takes an iron longer to cool off than heat up, and it decreases the likelihood of damage to your clothing.
  • If you dry your shirts in a clothing dryer, pull them out before they are fully dry. Better yet, don’t even place them in a dryer and instead put them on a wood hanger and iron them right out from the washing machine.  No need to moisten or use any steam.
  • If you literally have no time to iron then at least throw the shirt in the dryer (assuming you’ve dried it like this before) while you throw on the rest of your clothing.  Five minutes tumbling in the warm air will help to loosen some of the worst wrinkles.
  • If you’re going to pack your dress shirts for a week’s worth of travel, don’t waste your time ironing the shirts beforehand. Pack them normally and allot 15 minutes upon arrival to iron them when you arrive in your hotel room.
  • Anytime you are using a questionable iron that may leave marks, turn the shirt inside out and iron the backside only. It won’t give the shirt as crisp a look, but the difference is negligible and any marks will be invisible once the shirt is turned back out correctly.
  • Pay attention to the condition of the ironing board cover and pad – if it looks like it could leave any type of mark or you can feel metal underneath, cover it with a cotton towel or look for another board.
  • Make sure your iron has an auto-shutoff. Although most modern household irons do, some of the older models floating around do not.  You want the peace of mind knowing that even if you forgot to turn off the iron this morning you’re not going to start a fire.
  • To produce steam, make sure you are using the iron at its highest setting. If you are using it at anything below the middle setting, water will often drip or trail.  If you need to iron on low and need moisture, this is where the spray bottle really comes in handy.  If you don’t need moisture, make sure to set the adjustable steam to “off” and don’t press the steam blast button.
  • Always empty the water from your iron while the iron is hot. This will reduce the moisture that remains in the water compartment. Doing this will also ensure you unplug the iron before leaving the house.

Do you have any tips on ironing a dress shirt to add? Share them with us in the comments!

Written by
Antonio Centeno
President, A Tailored Suit Custom Clothier
Founder, Real Men Real Style

 

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ted April 6, 2011 at 11:16 pm

A real man wouldn’t be caught dead ironing a dress shirt, or anything at all.

2 figure8designs April 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Funny not about the mother thing, but my mom used to work as a seamstress, and when I started having to wear a suit at a very young age for vocal performances she taught me to iron the yolk of the shirt first. That patch under the collar across the shoulders. Not sure why, regardless thats still how I do it, followed by the same steps listed here.

3 Musket Mike April 6, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I have been Ironing my own shirts since I was a boy even during the hippy days, a crisp shirt made a cool contrast to holey jeans. I used to enjoy ironing my naval uniforms, sharp military creases in the cotton chambray shirts and crisp dungarees made for a sharp looking sailor, then the idiots changed our uniforms to some kind of manmade crap fabric and it just wasn’t the same.
YMHS, Musket Mike

4 Ivory April 6, 2011 at 11:30 pm

A real man knows that one is defined by their action and their passions. If a man is concerned enough about his appearance to put effort into something most take for granted, he’s willing to let conventions of masculinity slide in order to defend what’s important. Kudos to the ironing tips! I know I’ll put them to good use.

5 Jeremy April 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

If a real man doesn’t iron his shirt, what does he do when he’s 20 and single and needs an ironed shirt? Have his mom do it? Yeah, that’s manly.

6 Yorick Brown April 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm

My solution: Buy a sufficient number of dress shirts so that while one set of them is at the dry cleaners to be steam pressed professionally, I can pick and choose what to wear from the other set.

Cycle and repeat.

(Add and subtract shirts as style and budget allows.)

7 Antonio Centeno April 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I wanted to include these guys http://www.oddee.com/item_96701.aspx – extreme ironing inspirations!

8 Dante April 6, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Seems like every time I need to learn more about something, Art of Manliness has it.

Thanks for the article. :)

9 sstave April 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

There is one correction I would make. ALWAYS iron your shirts ***inside out***

The fabric can melt slightly and become sort of shiny and over time discolor if you iron the outside of the shirt.

If you want the sleeves to be creased, just do everything inside out and crease the very edge of the sleeve at the end. Make sure to iron the BACK of the color when you flatten it out. Then crease the mid-back as he does in this vid. This is important because you can most easily see semi-melted collars.

If you do this, the shirt will look brand new much longer.

10 Fergal Mullally April 7, 2011 at 12:23 am

Every morning I put on an ironed shirt for work, and by the time of my first meeting it’s already covered in wrinkles. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the trouble.

11 Greg M April 7, 2011 at 12:24 am

I remember reading somewhere that Bruce Lee used to iron all of this shirts himself because he wanted to get them “just right.” That’s manly

12 Sam April 7, 2011 at 12:28 am

wow. I am glad i paid attention to how my dad dressed(lawyer) now. so many little things that this website has either detailed or glossed over i already had knocking around in my head somewhere.

fit and prep is where he spent his time at. always ironing and shining shoes. He is still wearing same suits/shoes from when i was waist high.

great article. every man needs to know how to present himself well, and this is an important part.

13 JG April 7, 2011 at 12:33 am

Ironing (like polishing your shoes) is quite therapeutic.

Check out this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeA9gH_iWXY&feature=related

14 caleb April 7, 2011 at 1:40 am

The only thin I do differently is to do the cuffs and colar last since they need to look the best. I also do right front (buttons), back, then left front. Easier for me and I didn’t miss anything. Of course, I was a college student using a cheap iron for most of this, but I still looked better than most of the guys at a college that had a shirt and tie dress code.

15 Brian April 7, 2011 at 2:08 am

Any tips on dealing with the pleats in the shirt sleeves, near the cuffs? They always give me trouble.

As my grandma taught me, collar, yoke, cuffs, sleeves, body.

16 Rob April 7, 2011 at 2:23 am

A manly man would iron his shirt while wearing it. No pain, no gain!

17 Russ April 7, 2011 at 4:52 am

Great article. One recommendation: iron the sleeves before the body. The body tends to wrinkle while you wrestle with the sleeves.

18 Saul Fleischman April 7, 2011 at 5:41 am

Wow, that’s what I call a labor of love – to produce that blog article. Complete, though!

19 Tarun Suri April 7, 2011 at 6:02 am

“I recommend you not press the edges of a French cuff–it steals the life and body from a smooth fold.”

Can you describe what exactly you mean by the edge please? I’m having trouble visualising this.

20 TimJ April 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

I agree that there are way too many men – and not just young guys – who ruin their look by not ironing their shirts properly. Although my order of ironing is slightly different, your article is spot on. A couple of other comments:

If you don’t want to wash and iron, you can have your shirts cleaned (they’ll be laundered, not dry cleaned) but this destroys shirts pretty quickly. The machine used for ironing the shirts in an industrial laundry is pretty cool, worth checking out:

http://www.veit.de/en/ironing-and-pressing-garments/pressing-machines/hp-v3-twinstar/

Always use starch. It keeps the shirt looking well pressed much longer, especially if it is an all cotton shirt.
Good dress shirts are an investment so launder them carefully to keep them lasting long. First turn the collar and cuffs inward and button them closed. This will keep them from getting frayed.
Also, never ever dry your shirts in the dryer. All that lint comes from somewhere – your clothes! Instead, remove them from the washer promptly, put them on a hanger and smooth out the wrinkles, then let them air dry 100% if you are going to store them. If you are going to iron them soon, you can let them get mostly dry and then iron them while still slightly damp.

Shirt ironing can be a zen experience…

21 Tom April 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

One tip on ironing the button placket – place the placket on a damp towel, buttons down. Then iron over the placket on the side opposite the buttons.

22 John April 7, 2011 at 7:50 am

This is a video some friends and I made for a laugh. It totally fits this article!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvFct0oaFeg

23 Liahonas Liberty April 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

For those who do not have a lot of time for ironing (my sons are 4, 2, and infant twins) or do not want to spend the money/time involved with the drycleaner.

Buy a wrinkle free non-iron shirt. I have spent a lot of money trying different brands of shirts that are so called wrinkle-free / iron-free. Many have reduced wrinkling but are still not wrinkle free.

HOWEVER – The Brooks Brothers non-iron AND the Nordstrom Smartcare shirts perform exactly as described. I take my shirts from the washer to the dryer to the hanger and they always look great! Often times, people at work are impressed by how crisp the shirts look. I like a crisp edge to my sleeves and both of these shirts have permanent creases.

Sure these shirts cost a bit more but you save a lot of time and money by not going to a drycleaner. They pay for themselves.

24 fred April 7, 2011 at 8:37 am

I have found that ironing sleeves before front and back worst best. Else I tend to undo much of the work ironing front and back when I press the sleeves. On the converse, sleeves (with creases) tend to withstand the ironing of front and back a bit better. The part at the back of the shoulder often needs more attention; it tends to be overlooked.

Hotel room irons. You go to Walmart, find the cheapest iron (the one you would never buy). It is still light years ahead of the one you will find in your hotel room even if you pay $150 a night.
Most of them leak and ruin your clothes, many will be outright dysfunctional or even have parts missing… Hotels pay little to no attention to the irons that are provided in the rooms I found. Always allow yourself some extra time to call up service and get a working iron, don’t wait till the morning of your meetings/activities, unless you bring a travel iron with you.

25 Wm April 7, 2011 at 8:54 am

Rowenta (German iron maker) has a CD on the steps for ironing a shirt. It can be ordered free of charge on their website http://www.artofironing.com.

26 Matt April 7, 2011 at 9:15 am

I always iron the tail first, not because it needs ironing, but to make sure the iron isn’t shooting out dirty water or has a stain on the sole. Nothing will ruin your day faster than going to iron a new white dress shirt than to have your iron drop some stained water on the collar.
That, and buy quality ($65+) wrinkle-free dress shirts. I use Brooks Brothers, and now even Costco has good ones for under $20 that I have been impressed with so far. When drying, use low heat and don’t stuff the dryer. Take out and hang immediately, don’t let them get “bone-dry”.

27 Warren April 7, 2011 at 9:19 am

I would like to think that if i ever catch myself having to iron a shirt before i can wear it, that i have made a dreadful mistake somewhere in my life

28 Bill April 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

When I was a boy and stayed home “sick” from school, Mom used to make us kids do the ironing. It taught us to iron and cut down on school absenteeism.

29 Kaarin April 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

What a fantastic article! I really appreciate how comprehensive it is. I work as a fashion consultant and I recommend steamers to clients. A steamer has saved me considerable time and angst when getting my clothing wrinkle-free. It can do the job in a pinch with a button-down shirt, but it won’t get that crispness that makes an outfit look polished. Thus, really loved the step-by-step instructions and info re: the qualities of a good iron. Recommending this article to others!

30 Ross Patterson April 7, 2011 at 9:54 am

Even if you’re not a starch person, starch your cuffs. A dress shirt cuff should always be nicely rounded, and they can get flattened out when hanging in your closet. The starch will keep them nice.

31 Jared April 7, 2011 at 10:16 am

I’ve been waiting for this article for a while and when I saw it this morning I was pretty excited. Needless to say it is an excellent and thorough overview. It included several pieces of information that I had never thought of and I cannot wait to try some of these tricks.
It might be nice to have a mention of how to iron pants too. Not sure if that would require an entire article or if it would be better suited as an addition to this one. Either way thanks for the great post.

32 Allan April 7, 2011 at 10:38 am

Thanks for another great article. I’ve been frustrated at my $20 iron for a while and now I know why. I’ll have to get a better iron and see how this procedure works vs they way I currently do it.

Any chance a pants ironing article is coming soon?

33 Cole Bradburn April 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

Hey Antonio,
I am new to this and really trying to find a quality iron. I jumped over to b&g lieberman and there are no descriptions or details on any of their steam irons. Do you have any preference on the DL-300H All Steam Iron vs. DL-85 Steam Electric Iron or anything else you would recommend in the $60 or less range. I don’t care about weight, just quality. Thanks for the great post!

34 Antonio Centeno April 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

Thanks everyone for the kind words! I wanted to answer a few questions really quick people had:

Pleats on shirt sleeve – these are a pain in the backside – which is why I leave cuffs for last as you can spend 5 minutes on these pleats. One trick is to use paper clips to hold them in place as you iron, but honestly I go over them quickly and move on. Time is better spent elsewhere.

Not pressing the edge of French cuffs – what I meant here was folding them and not pressing the fold. In my opinion a French cuff should have thickness and body, to press it into shape here flattens the cuff too much. It’s a matter of taste really.

Wrinkle-free fabrics – there are some great ones out there and they are a godsend for many men. I agree with the statement – spend more – get quality – save in the long run. Since I make my own shirts, and wrinkle free fabrics aren’t tailor friendly, I stick with full bodied cotton.

Cole – B&G Lieberman http://www.bglieberman.com/ sells industrial quality irons and steamers along with hundreds of other tailoring and cleaning items. You’ll need to buy an ironing system from them – $60 is simply for the iron press (without water boiler/cord/etc.). Call them though as they are really nice and friendly people – or email and just ask them to ship you a catalog. You can even fax them orders (yes, they are old school – the founder Jerry – age 86 – isn’t as tech savvy as many but he carries products that are of old school quality!)

Fergal – it was great to see your comment old friend! I’ll sent you a message offline.

35 Rob April 7, 2011 at 11:14 am

I have a different system. I buy all my shirts at the thrift store for $3/each. If they come out of the dryer wrinked, I donate them back to the thrift store and try not to buy them again.

36 Carter April 7, 2011 at 11:18 am

Thank you for this. I sincerely despise ironing, but I think if I get the technique down and do it more often it won’t be so bad. I’m hoping at least.

37 Scooter April 7, 2011 at 11:21 am

Oy, AoM, I have a quibble with this one….

The collar should always be ironed from tip to center on each side. This ensures you get nice crisp, symmetrical points, rather than potentially pressing all the ease into little folds at one collar point.

Nobody wants folds at their collar points. :) And there will be some ease, particularly in a well made shirt; that’s what allows the collar to lay smooth when bent around your neck.

38 Jolene April 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

I’m surprised you didn’t cover starch…even a touch of light starch can make a world of difference.

The only thing I would add is to remove the collar stays before ironing, and to let your shirt rest/cool for at least a couple of minutes once you’re done ironing before you put one on. Otherwise, you are going to re-wrinkle the fabric before it has a chance to set.

A man with a crisp shirt is worth noticing, and a woman who appreciates such a thing is worth noticing.

39 Patrick April 7, 2011 at 12:31 pm

If you have to go the dryer route, remember to throw in a damp washcloth with the shirt. The moisture is just enough to speed up the unwrinkling. Works great for anything with other clothing, too, like wrinkled jeans.

40 Claude April 7, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Ironing is a chore i’ve always hated, but here’s a tip that helped alot. When I take the shirt out of the washer, I grasp it by the shoulders and give it a good SNAP like a whip. Takes alot of the bigger wrinkles out and seems to make ironing less time consuming.

GREAT article. I’ve always faked my way thru this process. This will help alot.

For those of you suggesting its not manly to iron your own shirts, that’s fine. Best of luck if you ever have to hunt for a job in a wrinkly shirt. First impressions are important and cant be taken back.

41 Douglas April 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

“men who probably don’t have mom or a wife to iron their clothes for them”

I doubt my wife even knows how to turn on the iron. I do all of the ironing. The task sucks, but I’m damn good at it.

42 Jeff April 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I’m going to use this to train my children to iron my shirts, then pay them a dollar a shirt. That is a win win!

43 Jolene April 7, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Oops! You DID cover starch! How did I miss that?

44 Chris April 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

very nice list. i always ironed my own shirts but i’ve found a great woman who does and awesome job and actually enjoys ironing my clothes to make sure I always look good. Still good skills to know.

45 Rob P. April 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm

I, like some others, recommend a different order. I always iron tail, back, yolk, sleeves/cuffs, front button side, front placket side, collar. Reasoning: tail to make sure the iron is good to go, than the back as it will not show under your jacket, yolk to setup the sleeves, sleeves so you don’t screw the front up while you are fighting them, cuffs because the are solid enough and don’t get fouled up, button side because it will show a lot, placket side because it covers the button side edge, collar because it is the most prominent on the shirt and I don’t want it getting wrinkled while i work on the rest of the shirt. Basically, the things that show are done last to remain perfect. I start everything from the bottom to top except for the sleeves.
On the pleats no need for paper clips or a lot of time. simply iron down the sleeve keeping everything as flat as possible. When you reach the point when the pleats start to bunch, pull the sleeve taught and the pleats should naturally line up and then just run the iron down them.

46 Brandon April 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Once you’ve got the basics down, come join the Extreme Ironing Racing League.

47 Dennis April 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I was in the Navy and I ironed my own shirts for years, but let’s face it there’s no reason to iron your own shirts anymore unless it’s an emergency and you are so stupid that you don’t already have a pressed shirt in your closet. It’s $1.50 to press a shirt at my local cleaners and most likely cheaper elsewhere in the country, (I’m unemployed at the moment and I still have a pressed shirt to go to an interview with – I just wish I had more interviews to go on!). You spend $9 and you have 6 pressed shirts, cake walk. I love the whole “let’s be self-sufficient” idea, but you also have to move with the times. I no longer make my own candles, just like I don’t press my own shirts…..

48 Brett McKay April 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm

@Dennis-

To each his own, but I disagree with your comment. As Tony explains in his post on Real Men Real Style, about reasons to know how to iron:

“First, you can save quite a bit of money – Assuming that you’re paying the very inexpensive rate of $1 per shirt to your dry cleaner; at 20 shirts per month you’re going to spend $240 per year. This amount can easily balloon to $1000 if you’re paying anywhere near $4 to $6 a shirt.”

I’m all for moving with the times, but not if it involves ponying up $250 a year for something you can do yourself in ten minutes a week.

Oh, and it doesn’t save you any time really….even if the dry cleaners is 5 minutes from your home…you could have ironed your shirts in the ten minutes it took to drive there and back.

49 Johnny Palmer April 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

My Uncle who was in the Navy for 30 years can iron the most wrinkled, leathery shirt into perfectly wearable at a bowtie dinner in under 2 minutes flat. Bad ass.

50 tom April 7, 2011 at 6:50 pm

anyone try one of those steamers instead?

51 Jay April 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Thanks for overly detailed guide, I always wanted to be able to Iron although I doubt I am going to start, I rather continue paying my neighbor house maid to Iron my clothes.

52 Robert April 7, 2011 at 7:51 pm

You described almost exactly how I learned to iron after I
complained that my sister was DELIBERATELY ironing
wrinkles into my shirts. I was 7 years old and I nearly went
into a coma when Mom said…”OK, y-o-u iron them!

I learned more than one lesson there…

I HATE how the cord gets in the way so I recommend Panasonic Model No.NI-L45NR
CORDLESS iron if you have to iron.

Of course it also makes a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift!
Really! No…Really! I wouldn’t steer you wrong my friend.
She will tell EVERYONE SHE KNOWS. I guarantee.

53 Pete April 7, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Thank you.

54 Andy April 8, 2011 at 1:19 am

If anyone here wears shirts from Express- Nothing will kill those shirts faster than a hot iron. Don’t even think about ironing them at anything but the lowest setting. I’ve heard even that can cause damage, as some have recommended actually turning the iron off and waiting for it to cool a bit before ironing.

55 Florian April 8, 2011 at 3:21 am

Great guide! Pretty much what I’ve been taught by my mom.

Since I don’t want creases in my sleeves, I iron them in 2 steps, no rolled up towel required:

step 1: Lay the sleeve flat as described above, smooth it out with your hand. Iron only the middle of the sleeve, leaving the upper and lower edge alone, so you don’t make creases.
step 2: Roll the sleeve upwards by about half its width, so that the seam is now in the middle (and on the back side). Lay the sleeve flat again, smooth it out. You can now deal with the previously un-ironed part of the sleeve, again leaving the edges alone.

Fertig!

Or just buy non-iron wrinkle-free cotton shirts.

56 K-milo April 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Great post Antonio!

57 Aaron April 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm

You forgot to metion the yoke of the shirt. I iron that just after I iron the collar. All the other fabric of the shirt hangs from this piece of fabric and so it sets the starting point of all future ironing. The rest of the article was excellent.

58 jack April 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

When I see a man with a wrinkled or poorly ironed shirt I immediately think less of him. In the business world, your appearance is a reflection on you as a man and as a professional. I’m glad my father taught me that and how to iron shirts at a young age. It’s a skill lost on a number of men from my generation.

59 Brad Alexander April 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I’m all about having sharp creases in the sleeves. I guess that’s a throw back to being in the military. I agree with you Antonio and the other commenters who have expressed their frustration at sloppy men who do not have the ability to iron a shirt and look presentable.

60 Robbie Johnson April 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

This is a great guide. The only thing I would change is to iron the sleeves after the collar. In my experience, if you iron the sleeves after the body, then you tend to wrinkle the body while ironing the the sleeves. Ironing a shirt is a lost art, and this is a great how-to.

61 August April 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Do you only need to iron shirts if you wash them at home? I’m a college student, beginning to invest in a professional wardrobe, and I dry clean my dress shirts, mostly because that’s what my Dad does, so I’ve never had a need to iron them.

62 Mark April 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Good article. I’ve been ironing my own shirts for a long time. It probably isn’t worth your time if you can’t do more than 10 shirts per hour or don’t wear a shirt that needs ironing very often. But it can be rather therapeutic.

Remember also that commercial laundering is very hard on shirts, so doing them yourself should extend their life.

One quibble regarding your suggestion to hang damp shirts on wooden hangers: beware! I have had shirts acquire permanent stains from hanging on wooden hangers. I suggest using plastic hangers for anything damp.

63 Kevin April 9, 2011 at 5:04 am

Nice article. Now, if you can only teach me how to LIKE ironing. That’s one of those domestic tasks I’ve never enjoyed.

64 Jason April 9, 2011 at 10:21 am

Great post. Makes me actually want to iron.

65 Steve April 9, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Now, Let’s move on to jeans and slacks.

66 His_Wife April 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

From a woman’s perspective, this is a very good guide to ironing. In my experience, however, ironing the sleeves BEFORE the ‘body’ of the shirt is better. If the shirt fabric is still warm when you’re doing the sleeves, it can end up wrinkling some all over again.

And one tip, gents: If your shirt has any stretch to it (check the tag for spandex or lycra as one of the listed materials), hold the fabric a little taut with one hand as you iron.

67 Fred April 11, 2011 at 12:06 am

Any advice for getting stains out of shirts? Particularly at the collar and cuffs.

68 Keir April 11, 2011 at 6:42 am

One tip I’ve heard, but never tried, is that if you have a suit that’s become wrinkled, hang it in the bathroom with you as you shower – the hot steam will remove the worst wrinkles.

69 Steven April 11, 2011 at 8:50 am

My solution this past autumn was to start buying wrinkle-free shirts. God I hate ironing.

We’ll see about the summer months though – I’m doubtful as to how comfortable a polyester-blend shirt is going to be in the summer heat.

70 Mark Gill April 11, 2011 at 9:51 am

“For French cuffs, open them fully and iron as above. I recommend you not press the edges of a French cuff–it steals the life and body from a smooth fold.”

Damn it. I’ve been pressing the edges, no wonder they never looked right. Could we have an article on ironing trousers next. With and without a centre line.

Thank You.

71 S Mack April 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Don’t learn the hard way. If you do use the hotel iron, test it dry and with the steam on your undershirt before using it on your dress shirts. Lots of times the hotel irons are rusted on the inside and will spray rust into your shirts.

72 His_Wife April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

@ FRED:

For tough collar and cuff stains, I use hot water and some powdered detergent to make a paste. Then, I scrub with a toothbrush and rinse. Repeat until stain is gone; launder as normal. If your stains have already gone through the dryer, though, there might not be anything you can do about it.

If the stain is anything other than sweat/body dirt (like food, grease, wines, etc), there are specific methods to get it out. Try using Google for suggestions on those.

73 Joseph April 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

A few days before I had left for Washington DC, I had read this article. I was there for my church’s choral trip, and these tips worked out great!! Thanks, Art of Manliness! What a manly thing to do — properly iron a shirt and look sharp!

74 Ryan Waldron April 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Can you suggest a particular brand or model of iron? Which irons are pictured?

75 Fred April 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

@His_Wife
Thanks!

76 Brian April 13, 2011 at 9:19 am

@ Andy

It depends on the Express shirt. Their “MX” line is a blend with a bit of stretch in it, that I can see being ruined by a hot iron. They also have many other full cotton shirts….I ironed 3 this weekend and I love em to death :)

77 Steve April 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

I have been ironing my shirts all my adult life. I was on my own for awhile before I got married, so I got used to doing it. My wife is of the type that irons something when she needs it. I iron all my shirts at once when they come out of the laundry, that way I have a ready supply of clean and ironed shirts for daily wear. I can iron 10 shirts in about 45 minutes.

As for the manliness factor: Well, gentleman, my philosophy is that any worthwhile activity is manly if a man is doing it. A real man imparts his manhood to everything he does and makes it manly by that fact alone. Comment #49 by Johnny Palmer is exhibit A. I rest my case.

78 Roger T. April 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

This response is for August, #61.

I gave up the shirt laundry/dry cleaner after two brand new top quality shirts came back with the sleeves shrunk up 3 inches. I knew the laundry “boiled and baked” the shirts and broke buttons (they replaced them), but the continued incremental shrinkage followed by the 3 inches-at-once put back to pressing my own shirts. I buy blended fabrics and wrinkle-free shirts and slacks which reduces the pressing time needed. (Wrinkle-free doesn’t mean crisp and flat; which is why I still iron.)

I find the time invested in ironing to be good contemplation time and it frees up dollars to use on something else.

79 Han Solo April 14, 2011 at 11:24 am

Ironing?

I stopped ironing the suit and shirt years ago, except when using the hotel iron.

Learn from the old country…. use a STEAMER.

80 James April 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Great guide! My grandpa was an “ironer” doing shirts, trousers and jackets for wealthy customer in the late thirties.This is much like he taught me to iron a shirt. One tip missed though – shirts that are not 100 percent cotton (nowadays a lot of shirts have synthetic fabrics added to provide non-crease features that fade with time, alas) should be ironed through a towel or piece of cloth (I actually found baby burp cloth to be excellent for this), in order to avoid leaving shiny and permament ironing marks on them.

Would love to read about ironing a shirt with militay-style creases in the front and back. While usually associated to officers of public and armed services, this style of ironing actually makes it very eay to fold and pack your shirts for travel!

81 ErikTheViking April 20, 2011 at 2:03 am

Protip for those who hate ironing

A glass of bourbon or scotch and a ball game on TV make it WAY more enjoyable. Although it will take a few minutes longer.

82 Jordan April 23, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Sometimes I prefer the look of ironing the cuffs with the cuffs flat on the ironing board instead of ironing the inside around the whole cuff. It produces a nice clean crease, maybe preferable for “business professional” occasion.

83 robin @ men image advice April 26, 2011 at 12:17 am

Try this on your least favorite shirt first!

84 Nusy April 26, 2011 at 1:45 am

Throughout the years ironing shirts (first my father’s ones, now my husband’s ones), I found that actually heavy irons can help quite a bit – requires less pressing down, and with an ex-athlete with carpal tunnel syndrome, this really saves me a lot of pain. Another thing often neglected is the height of an ironing board. Most boards are adjustable, and if both you and your wife/girlfriend/resident female companion use it, and there’s a significant height difference (3 inches or more) between you, you WILL need different settings. The other option is a splitting back ache after the first shirt or so from having to bend over at an awkward, 10 degree-ish angle.
Another flipside for ironing your shirts: freshly ironed, crisp shirts have a great smell – and yes, it is worth bonus points (at least for me).

Brett – Kudos on AoM, I’ve been reading it for a while (my husband showed a few articles first) and I found it extremely useful even for myself… Love the site!

85 Steve April 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm

The problem isn’t wrinkles: the problem is the design of the male dress shirt which, as the kids say, is an all-around EPIC FAIL relic of the past.

First off, white is the most popular color but white dress shirts are always opaque. This forces you to dress in a shirt that proudly displays whatever is underneath. If it’s skin then you see flesh-tone divided by the white two-ply boundaries of the clothing. If it’s an undershirt then you see an undershirt. And, yes, we do notice. I always feel bad for women who go around with their bras completely visible under their blouses.

Second: the shirts turn their hosts into a pear. Since we have this idea that formal shirts must be tucked in, and this idea that formal fabric much not stretch every man looks like a pear. When a man sits the shirt pulls out from under the belt since it cannot stretch and when they stand up they look like a pear. The only purpose of tucking in a shirt is to prevent its visibility of you wear a jacket on top, and most of the time you are not.

Third: Long sleeve shirts have no place in business attire unless the host is forced to wear a suit (another “EPIC FAIL” of clothing). Long sleeve shirts always have big, thick puffy sleeves that look more like the sleeves of a winter jacket or a poofy princess dress than as an appropriate article of indoor clothing. Cut the sleeves at the elbow and you eliminate those big, puffy billowing waves of fabric. A long sleeve shirt basically tells your coworkers that you are covering up forearm tattoos.

Forth: As expensive as they are you’d think dress shirts would be designed so that their waist circumference is different from their chest diameter. The waist needs to be tight while the chest (already larger than the waist) needs to be baggy. The differences in circumference of these two regions forces dress shirts to have ridiculous waves of fabric around the lower back and stomach of the host.

Forth Addendum: If your waist circumference is larger than your chest circumference then you will look like an unprofessional slob no matter what you wear. Forget the Big and Tall store and hit the gym.

Fifth: Most dress shirt collars are designed for a tie. Ties died with the invention of the lightbulb and many have realized this. Collars need to be redesigned for modern styles.

Sixth: Likewise it’s the 21st century and we no longer need to wear high maintenance fabrics. Anything that’s not wrinkle-free or says “dry clean only” should be returned to the rack or the 19th century (if possible).

Compare these to modern camp shirts. They aren’t tucked in so the fabric hangs clean and neat without the pear-effect or fabric billows. The collars are designed for a modern world without ties and look much better. The sleeves are short so I don’t have massive “Princess Dress” looking puffs on my arms. I’m even wearing one right now that’s not only machine washable and wrinkle-free, but made from modern moisture-wicking material too. This shirt looks far better than any traditional dress shirt I’ve ever seen.

86 Miz Ann May 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

A few quibbles with the previous commenter..

white dress shirts are always opaque.

I believe you mean “are NOT always opaque” or perhaps “are always semi-transparent.” This, Steve, depends very much upon the quality of your white shirt, including the thickness of its fabric. A manly man knows he will receive the quality of goods in which he chooses to invest (a rule which takes in dictionary purchases as well).

The only purpose of tucking in a shirt is to prevent its visibility of you wear a jacket on top,

Incorrect. The original purpose of tucking in a shirt? The tail of a shirt served as a man’s underwear. Although this is, one hopes, no longer the case, there is still excellent reason for tucking: it creates a smoother line, controls unsightly flapping and quite frankly distinguishes the slob from the man who is man enough to dress well. Try managing your shirt tails by a) buying a slimmer cut and b) pulling out a slight amount of slack (flat on the front and back, gathers on the sides) when you first get dressed and c) wearing a belt. What you so inelegantly refer to as a “pear shape” should actually be a slight, consistent widening of the silhouette just above the waistline – which will also make your waist appear trimmer.

Long sleeve shirts always have big, thick puffy sleeves

No, they don’t. You’re either selecting poorly-designed merchandise or mistaking sport shirts for dress shirts.

As expensive as they are you’d think dress shirts would be designed so that their waist circumference is different from their chest diameter.

Good news: hundreds upon hundreds of styles of dress shirts are designed in precisely this way! If you are fortunate enough to have wider shoulders and a narrower waist, look for shirts marked “athletic cut.” If you are, perhaps, slightly exaggerating the breadth of your top half, look for “slim cut” or “European style.” Meanwhile, enjoy your triangle shape while you can, and understand that not every manly man shares your particular silhouette.

If your waist circumference is larger than your chest circumference then you will look like an unprofessional slob no matter what you wear.

Forgive my previous surprise at your lack of sartorial knowledge. I did not realize that your intelligence, empathy and penile measurements were in all probability so small. I sincerely hope this is due solely to lack of years and is not a permanent condition. Please accept my sincere wishes for an increase in experience, manliness and simple decency… with a corresponding decrease in your own rather obvious insecurities.

Ties died with the invention of the lightbulb and many have realized this. Collars need to be redesigned for modern styles.

Oh PeeWee. Bless your heart. No, they didn’t. Now go Google “collar styles” and be amazed.

Or simply continue to trumpet the camp shirt as the apotheosis of centuries of shirt design and development. When you figure out why that hastily-smothered laughter seems to be a constant presence in your life, you can apply all the money you’ve saved by purchasing inappropriate, poorly-fitting shirts to your therapy and wardrobe revamp.

Antonio: brilliant as always. Long live the manly, well-dressed man.

87 Russell Archer November 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

What about a vertical steam iron?
There’s videos around the web showing how you can iron a shirt right on a hanger without even touching it (only with the steam flow). I don’t know whether it really works though, I’ve never used it myself.
But I’m helpless at ironing, to me it always means a lot of wasted time and destroyed mood so if anyone can say something about it I’ll be grateful.

88 Jim Reardon January 14, 2013 at 4:29 am

As stated, ironing can be a Zen experience. Instead of starch” I use sizing spray. Seems to be less hazard of flaking.
Superb article and comments: my wife always was a genius at the shirt scene.

89 James February 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I was told to iron the sleeves first as all they do is just hang there and you are less likely to get them wrinkled than if you were to start with the collar and work your way down. So, I start with the arms and then I pretty much follow the rest of the instructions. (btw, it was my aunt that showed me how to properly iron a shirt not me mom!)

90 Larry L April 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

For those who say that ironing a shirt and clothing is less masculine. Look at the opposite end of the table and tell me if they favor how you look. Especially if it is a woman you are into. Your mother did not let you go out with a clean shirt. Hence I enjoy ironing all my shirts. I have to thank my mother for showing me the way to keep a good clean pressed shirt and how appearances is important to a man’s up-keeping.

91 Dirk Smithson July 17, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Good info, there are times when I have more time than money, for these times I will iron my own. If you think about it it takes the same time to drive to the cleaner as it does to just get it done!

92 Chris September 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

First, thank you for your service in the marines as noted under Tool #6: Spray Starch; your service is greatly appreciated!
The benefits of starching your shirt make it a worthy step in the ironing process. A starched shirt resists wrinkles longer than its non-starched counterpart. If that weren’t enough incentive, it also provides a dirt guard action, creating a barrier that shields from stains and dirt around the collar and cuffs keeping your clothes cleaner longer. When done properly, starched clothing actually allows more air to pass through the fabric, keeping you cooler.
To avoid flaking, spray starch lightly and evenly and allow it soak into the fabric for 15-20 seconds, use a good iron as described and the proper setting. Faultless Starch offers an array of quality products, and is the leader in the industry with a rich heritage of more than a century.

93 Eric in Dallas September 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Hi Antonio, great article.

I’ve searched your articles on each site and haven’t been able to find your comparison to home laundering/ironing vs. commercial laundering/press.

Does having my shirts laundered at a commercial cleaners shorten the lifespan of the garment? I currently wash on the ‘wool’ setting, put in dryer to the ‘damp dry’ setting, then iron and hang. I’m wondering if taking these to a cleaner once every two wearings would end up shortening the lifespan.

94 andar_b October 4, 2013 at 11:49 pm

The ‘give it to your mother or wife’ comment made me laugh heartily. My mother can iron, but she never made a point out of it, and we always wore our ‘Sunday best’ once a week or more. Steaming in the dryer and hanging up immediately was always ‘good enough.’ My wife, on the other hand, would ruin my shirts if she ever got it into her head to even attempt to iron them. She’s taxed enough just remembering how to put bleach in the washer. She was given an iron and board for wedding presents and she was so excited (or seemed so) but I’m the only one who has ever touched either of them.

She loves the idea of being a housewife but not the task itself. :)

95 dg1904 January 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I am a 62 year old woman who hates to iron. I appreciated this brush up on the skill. I was trying to figure out which side to put a flat felled seam in a sleeve when ironing? Does the flat felled seam get ironed on the button side of the cuff or the non-button side?

96 Alexander February 7, 2014 at 9:03 am

Quick question: I was told that it is better to use lower heat on collars and cuffs, use a small amount of starch to substitute for higher heat. I was told that almost all shirts during manufacturing use a small amount of adhesive glue under the stitching in those spots. After a few hot irons the fabric changes shape and strains the adhesive giving a “bubble” effect on the collar and cuffs. You can probably find this on most of your shirts if you always use a hot iron. Even if it’s a $150+ shirt, too hot of a setting changes the shape and pressure of the stitching and strains the seam. Not as obvious with the cheaper shirts that may have used adhesives, but it is still there. Any comments on this or possible remedies?

Here’s an example of a bubble collar:
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_5ioJqrf4fK8/SvxmZncZzjI/AAAAAAAAHRs/z7JPe3tenUw/s400/IMG_9651.JPG

97 Cornflake March 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm

great article! Growing up, i saw my dad, who’s a doctor, iron his own shirts. i think he knows how to iron better than my mom. hehe. I myself hate ironing, (i’m female) and my boyfriend irons better than i do.

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