How to care for your dress shirt: tips and tricks to keep your shirts looking fresh

With tips from shirt experts at Charles Tyrwhitt

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Here at T3 we know that it's not just about buying the best products possible, whether that's laptops, watches, or shirts, it's about how you care for them as well.

If you don't look after your laptop it'll let you down when you need it most, and if you don't service your watch regularly it'll end up losing time.

Likewise, if you’ve splashed out on a luxury shirt, you want the quality of material and fit of the shirt 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 Charles Tyrwhitt, retailers of men’s shirts, give us their top tips: 

When wearing and storing

It’s likely that your dress shirt will spend more time in your wardrobe 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?

You might’ve noticed the collar of your dress shirt curling — this isn’t a great look and there are some things that you can to do 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. 

The collar can also curl when it is sitting in the washer or dryer after the spin has finished — this is again due to the dampness. 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. 

Always make sure that your shirt is the right fit too. 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. 

When hanging your shirt up, 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.

To take good care of your cufflinks, you should maintain them with silver cleaner. A handy trick is to keep them in an airproof bag as this prevents them from losing their shine so quick. 

When you come to iron your dress shirt before wearing it, it’s best to steam it whilst 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.

When washing

Do you ever feel slightly anxious when you put your dress shirt in the wash? Is it going to come out discoloured? A different colour? Follow these tips for a worry-free-wash:

Before you even think about putting your dress shirt in the wash, you should check for any obvious stains, spillages or any signs of yellowing around the cuff and collar. 

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. 

If you do use collar stiffeners, 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. 

Although you might think that you’re buying 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. 

When ironing and drying

To dry and de-crease your dress shirt, you’ll need to follow these tips and tricks:

It all depends what materials your shirt is made from as to how you should iron and dry your shirt. 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. 

It’s a different story for non-iron shirts — this is why you should always check the label for advice. With these shirts, tumble drying can actually help with the properties of the shirt rather than damage it. 

When it comes to ironing, you should still be extra careful. 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. 

Now you’ve read all of the tips, you know how to care for your dress shirt. 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!