You might wonder, “Why should I learn how to iron shirts?”
Especially when you can remove wrinkles on a shirt by tossing it into the dryer with a few ice cubes or a wet towel.
Why I Always Iron My Shirts
Here’s the thing:
Getting your shirt wrinkle-free isn’t the only reason for ironing it.
You also want the collar, placket, and cuffs to be stiff and look presentable. Also, adding creases to the sleeves gives you that dressy look – which a tumble dryer can never give you.
In other words, the only way to get a wrinkle free shirt with crisp creases and a stiff collar is by ironing it.
Considering how quick and easy it is to do yourself, there’s no need to hand your shirts over to the dry cleaner.
Below I show you how to iron shirts step-by-step at home in just five minutes.
Before You Start: Getting Your Shirt Clean
First off, cleaning a shirt is simple.
Always try to spot-clean if you can—especially if you’ve worn an item for only a couple of hours or so.
If you need to wash a shirt, make sure you wash it on the gentle cycle in warm water. The slower agitation saves stiff collars and cuffs from the abrasive treatment they get in a regular cycle.
You can use regular detergent for coloured shirts. With white shirts, use a special detergent for whites plus oxygen bleach. And, as always with your clothes, skip the fabric softener to make them last longer.
When your shirt is washed, hang it on a clothes hanger to dry, and button the top two buttons. This keeps the shirt from sliding off the hanger and helps the collar dry in a nicer shape.
How to Iron Shirts: Step-by-Step
To iron any garment, always set your iron’s temperature according to the care label.
In the case of your shirt, spritz it a few times with water from a plastic spray bottle. Place the damp shirt in an airtight plastic bag for a couple of minutes. This lets the fibres absorb the moisture evenly.
1. Iron the Sleeves First
When you’re ready, start ironing the sleeves.
Find the seam on the underside of the sleeve and use this as a reference. Start at the upper arm and work down towards the cuff.
Tips: If you don’t want a crease, simply don’t iron all the way out.
2. Use Starch for Stiffer Cuffs
Iron the wrist pleats and the cuff. Then apply starch to the cuff, and activate it with dry heat (turn the steam function off).
Fold the cuff over, and give it a quick press on the other side.
3. Repeat Step 1-2
Repeat the first two steps with the second sleeve.
4. Iron the Yoke
After finishing both sleeves, iron the yoke, both front and back.
5. Remove Tabs and Iron the Collar on the Reverse Side
Next is the collar. Be sure to remove the collar tabs before applying heat.
Apply starch to the reverse side of the collar if you want it to be stiffer.
Again, activate the starch with a hot, dry iron.
Fold the collar over, but only press it at the centre—not out towards the tips. You want a soft fold, not a hard crease.
Button the collar to prevent the shirt from dragging along the floor as you finish pressing.
6. Iron the Front
Iron the front and back, starting with the shirt’s right front side (the side with the buttons).
Place the shirt’s side seam along the edge of the ironing board. Remember to iron in between the buttons.
7. Then Iron the Back (Including Darts)
Move the shirt over and iron the back, again placing the shirt’s side seam along the edge of the board. If there are darts, iron up into them while wiggling the iron from side to side.
Finally, repeat on the other half of the back.
8. Iron the Left Front Side and Placket
You’ll finish by ironing the left front side.
Tips: To get the shirt to sit better, add starch to the reverse side of the front placket and activate it with your dry iron.
Final Tips on How to Iron Shirts
Hang the freshly ironed shirt on a hanger and let it cool before wearing or folding it. This gives the fabric time to set, so your shirt stays wrinkle-free and crisp.
Also, remember that using starch is optional. However, if you do use it, always apply it to the reverse side. Starch can cause temporary discolouration when activated with your iron.
The last thing you want to do is to put your collar tabs back in.
Now you’ve learned how to iron shirts like a pro, and you’re ready to rock your newly polished look.