Washing and Caring for Your Dress Shirt

 

Cleaning Methods

Overall Rule of Thumb

Separate your clothing into three piles:

  • Only wash whites with whites (to avoid color transfer)
  • Wash light colors together (can be mixed colors)
  • Wash darker colors together (can be mixed colors)

1) Wash and Press Method

  1. Garments are washed in a large drum with detergent and water.
  2. Most water is removed during a spin cycle after the washing cycle.
  3. Dress shirts are removed while damp and placed on an industrial press which simultaneously dries and irons the shirt.
  4. If desired, ask your dry cleaner to fold your shirts instead of having them hung on a wire hanger
Wash and press is the most common method most choose to wash clothing. Your local dry-cleaner (not to be confused with the dry-cleaning process below) typically charges ~$1.50 a shirt, making this a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to keep your shirts clean on routine basis. 
Note: This is an industrial cleaning method and the level of care greatly varies from cleaner to cleaner. When garments are roughly handled, buttons may shatter and collars may be pressed incorrectly. In these cases, you'll need to iron the collars for a smooth finish. Be sure to choose a reliable cleaner for all your garments.

 

2) Dry Cleaning

We do not recommend this method for our dress shirts as dry-cleaning is generally harsher on natural fibers like cotton. Cotton is fairly durable and is best cared for using water and detergent. With dry-cleaning, Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene is used to loosen and remove soil from garments with a minimal use of water, hence the term (dry-cleaning). If your shirts have oil-based stains, we do recommend this option as special circumstances require special care. At $5-6 per piece, this is the most expensive method and should only be saved for the most delicate of fabrics. As stated before, choosing a reliable cleaner for all your garments is highly recommended.

 

3) Washing at Home

    1. Remove collar stays and unbutton all buttons on the front of the shirt, sleeves, and sleeve cuffs. This mitigates the risk of a section or button getting caught or torn off by accident.
    2. Separate dark colors from light colors and wash with like-colors. If multiple colors are washed together, there is a higher risk of darker dyes bleeding and discoloring lighter fabrics.
    3. Before washing your shirts, spot clean any sections that have grease stains, pen marks, or blemishes with a stain remover pen or a bit of detergent.
    4. We recommend setting the washer to delicate to clean our shirts. Normal can also be used if it's a particularly dirty load. 
    5. Using a high-quality, non-chlorine based detergent as these may discolor and ruin the appearance of the fabrics.
    6. Water temperature settings will vary across the fabrics being washed. As our dress shirts are 100% cotton, we recommend using Warm or Cold settings. However, if your shirt is heavily soiled or had a rough week, we recommend using the Hot* setting as temperatures 130°F and above eliminates germs and cleans heavy soil much more effectively than cold water.  
    7. Allow the spin cycle to remove most of the water from the dress shirt.
    8. At this stage, the shirt will be damp and wrinkled. Remove it from the machine and place it on a hanger with at least 2 cm of bar width. Wire hangers may stretch and leave unwanted creases on the shirt shoulders. 
    9. When the shirt is almost completely dry, if any creases appear, we recommend steaming or ironing on a cotton setting.

*Note: Hot water may cause shrinkage to natural fabrics and wear durability quicker than cooler temperatures. 

If you own or have access to a washing machine, we prefer this method as you have full control over the cleaning process. The trade-offs from this method versus dropping off at a cleaner are time, convenience, and discrete levels of attention. 

 

Should I Starch my Shirts?

This is a personal preference. Many people prefer shirts to be starched, but we do not have starch applied to our shirts. When considering our designs, we've opted for a flowing and comfortable silhouette, as opposed to an angular and slightly restrictive feel. Starching also harsher on natural fibers and wears against durability quicker than normal care methods.

 

Can I put my dress shirt in the dryer?

We do not recommend drying your shirts in a dryer because natural fibers like cotton are prone to shrinking when exposed to prolonged durations of high-heat.

At your own risk, if you're in a rush and need the shirt to be dried quickly, place your shirt in the dryer for 3-4 minutes on normal to limit the exposure time. Otherwise, use a hair dryer to spot-dry each section until dry. Iron press or steam to your preferred finish. 

 

Ironing or Steaming to Eliminate Wrinkles?

Our dress shirts come with a Non-Iron finishing to limit the amount of ironing required to keep a smooth look. However, if your shirts are washed at home, you may want to iron or steam smoothen a shirt. Both are acceptable methods to eliminate wrinkles, but a hand-held steamer will be less harsh on your shirt.

 

Too Long; Didn't Read (TL; DR)

  1. Wash your shirts once they are soiled. Especially with white fabric, any oils, perspiration, or grime may cause yellow discoloration or stains if left unattended. We recommend cleaning worn shirts after every wear, generally on a weekly basis in warm or cold water.
  2. Always remove all collar stays, cuff links, and items attached or inside all garments before washing, ironing, or steaming to avoid odd wrinkles and tears. 
  3. If washing at home is not an option or preference, your local dry cleaner should do the job with ease.