What Should You Be Doing to Care for Your Dress Shirt?

Premium dress shirts can be expensive, which is why you want them to last. Without locking it away and bringing it out only once a year, how can you care for your dress shirt? From washing it at the right temperature to storing it without misshaping, read on as we give you your top tips:

What to do when wearing and storing

It’s quite possible that your dress shirt will spend more time stored away than on your back. So, how can you make sure it stays in top condition and will still look great when you put it on?

In the past, you might’ve noticed that the collar of your dress shirt curls. As you’re aware, this isn’t a great look and there are some things that you can do to avoid it. First of all, it’s often humidity that causes a collar to curl; the moisture in the room causes the material to change shape. Try and keep your dress shirts cool and dry or invest in a room dehumidifier to try and reduce the risk of this happening.

If you leave your shirt damp after the spin has finished in the washer or dryer, this can also cause collar curling. Once washed or dried, remove your favourite shirt from the dryer and let the collar settle. When your dress shirt is hanging up, a good tip is to keep the top button fastened — this helps the shirt keep its shape and reduce the curling risk. One great investment is a collar stiffener. These can be used to try and bend collars slightly in the opposite direction of the curl and prevent it from being too obvious.

Before purchasing a shirt, always make sure it’s the right fit. If your collar is a little too tight around your neck, they’re more likely to curl and create that look that you really don’t want.

Hanging your shirt up in your wardrobe? Make sure that your shirts aren’t all cramped together. If they don’t have space between them, the shape of the shirt can become distorted meaning they will no longer be as fitted.

You want your cufflinks to look their best too — maintain them with silver cleaner to keep them sparkling. A handy trick is to keep them in an airproof bag as this prevents them from losing their shine so quick.

If you steam your shirt before wearing it, make sure that it’s still damp. Begin with the underside of your collar and iron from the outside to the centre — keep the outer corner nice and taut.

What to do when washing

Putting your dress shirt in the wash at home can cause some worries. Is it going to come out discoloured? A different colour? Follow these tips for a worry-free-wash:

Always check your shirt for any noticeable stains or yellowing of the cuff and collar before putting it in the wash. These areas need some extra treatment if you want your shirt to come out sparkling clean. If you do spot a few of these marks, create a paste with mixing detergent and water and rub this in — leave it for two minutes and then put it in the wash.

Do you use collar stiffeners? If so, make sure you remove these whilst washing. This is especially important for those with brass collar stiffeners, as they can stain the shirt and cause issues in your washing machine filter.

Even if you especially buy a soft detergent, the chemicals can still be harmful to your shirt’s fabric — this is why you should turn your shirt inside out before putting it in the washing machine. You’ll also want to unbutton the shirt and cuffs so that the buttons do not become loose during the wash. This can cause them to become damaged and not look as neat as they once did. Similarly, the hot temperatures of a washing machine can be harmful for a shirt and lead to crinkling and misshaping — try to keep the heat low to prevent damage.

What to do when ironing and drying

Follow these hints and tips to dry and de-crease your shirt:

Check the materials that your shirt is made from before ironing and drying. If it’s 100% cotton for example, many cotton mills advise against tumble drying at all. Instead, remove your shirt from the machine whilst it is still damp and hang it out to dry. You’ll probably notice that many of the creases come out this way too.

For non-iron shirts, tumble drying can actually help with the properties of the shirt rather than damage it.

What about ironing? Always iron shirts when they are still damp, perhaps take them off the line before they’re fully dry. Use a steam iron too if possible as this keeps the material moist. Avoid ironing over the buttons whenever possible, they can become damaged and crack under the heat of an iron.

Those are our top tips! Invest in a collar stiffener, make sure it’s stored the right way and follow our hints on washing and drying. Remember to always check the label for product specific advice!


Tips for caring for your dress shirt were provided by navy suits retailer, CT Shirts.