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Ironing a Dress Shirt Introduction
Ironing a dress shirt is simply something a man has to learn in life, there is no way around it.
You cannot look dapper with wrinkled shirts and you cannot be going to the dry cleaners every time you want a perfect looking shirt.
So it leaves us only one option… we have got to learn how to iron a dress shirt the correct way.
Yeah, ironing does seem a little scary and tedious when you first think about picking one up, but with this article, I am going to walk you through how to iron a dress shirt easily and properly.
Once you get the hang of ironing you will finish a shirt in just a couple of minutes.
So if you can iron a shirt to perfection in under 5 minutes, why would you not want to become self-sufficient and learn how to iron?
You never know what is going to just turn up out of the blue and you can’t be relying on your Mom, wife or sister all the time. You have got to learn!
In just a few short minutes, you will be wondering what all the fuss was about as we teach you how to effectively iron a shirt.
Whether you are a total novice or consider yourself pretty adept you will pick up some great knowledge in this article.
Ironing Tools to Effectively do the Job
First off and this is very important is to make sure the iron is clean. If you are unsure grab a white cloth, run the iron over it and see if the iron leaves any marks.
Avoid irons under $20 they are going to be pointless and cost you much more in the long run than a more expensive iron.
A good iron requires:
- A good solid scratch-resistant soleplate. You want the soleplate to glide over the wrinkles with ease.
- The ability to reach high heats. In general, the higher the wattage the more heat the iron will produce, this isn’t always the case but it’s a rule of thumb.
- A good weight but not too heavy. This can become problematic because we are all different but you want some weight to your iron to make the job easier.
- Ideally, you want steam vents covering the whole of the soleplate distributing steam evenly and consistently. The better the steam delivery the easier it will be to iron and that goes for on all fabrics not just dress shirts.
The Ironing Board
You need something that is stable, has good ventilation and I always appreciate a stand for my iron for convenience.
As long as the ironing board is stable and you are comfortable you haven’t got to break the bank but I would not skimp on an ironing board cover and pad.
Ironing a Dress Shirt
If you are looking for perfection and want that super crisp look then you will need to iron the shirt inside out and then iron it the right way as well.
Obviously, this just about doubles the time it will take you to iron a shirt but believe me… it is worth it.
Before ironing your shirt you 100% need to check the label and make sure it is safe to be ironed.
Most shirts are made from some sort of cotton and can withstand extremely high temperatures without damage.
If you have no idea then just start at a low temperature and increase until your shirt starts responding to the iron.
To get the best look from a dress shirt you want to be ironing them when they are moist unless you have an iron with fantastic steam capabilities, then you can do it dry but I still recommend giving it a quick spray.
Don’t iron your shirts when they are soaking wet.
When it comes to setting up your ironing board just remember to put it near a power socket and have hangers ready.
Make sure the iron has water in it and go ahead and plug it in.
Depending on your iron it could take anywhere from 60 seconds to 5 minutes to warm up.
1. The Collar
You will always want to begin at the back of the collar of the shirt.
Pop your collar up and start on the inside at the edge of the collar ironing towards the middle.
Iron until the collar is smooth, you don’t want any wrinkles or creases in the corners.
Flip the shirt over and repeat from the other side.
Don’t start from the middle as it easy to leave marks and creases.
2. The Cuffs
Firstly make sure your buttons are unbuttoned.
Lay it flat and start by ironing the inside of the cuffs, begin at the edges again and iron towards the middle making sure to remove all creases and wrinkles.
Next, you need to iron the outside of the cuff in the exact same way.
Finish off by gently ironing around the buttons being extremely careful not to damage them.
Never iron over the buttons because you will leave a mark.
3. The Back
If the shirt you are ironing has pleats then you will need to start under the pleats being extremely careful before ironing on top of the pleats.
Now you can iron the rest of the back of your shirt.
When ironing the back of your shirt you will need to reposition your shirt a few times to make sure you are getting into every edge and removing every wrinkle.
Start at the top of the shoulder area and work your iron down slowly to iron out all wrinkles.
4. The Front
Now when we move on to the front of the shirt we need to take extra care ironing around the buttons.
To make this job easier you should get an iron with a precision pointed tip. You can check out my review on Rowenta irons by clicking here.
You should start on the side of the shirt with buttons but remember to be very careful not to iron the buttons.
One of the most essential parts of getting a shirt looking great is a crisp placket (a placket is “the double layers of fabric that hold the buttons and buttonholes in a shirt.”
The shirt pocket is the same as the cuffs and collar – start from the outside and move towards the middle.
Finally, move up to the top of the shoulder and slowly run the iron down the shirt. Repeat on the other side as well.
I would recommend spending more time getting the placket and collar looking fantastic because that is what people will pay attention to.
5. The Sleeves
I leave sleeves till last because I consider them the most difficult part of ironing a dress shirt.
When it comes to ironing sleeves on a dress shirt make sure you have straightened out your sleeves so they are smooth to avoid unwanted wrinkles and creases.
Start at the cuffs with the tip of your iron and work slowly all the way to your shoulders.
If you can see previous creases from ironing in the past make sure to follow those creases so you only have a single crease line.
Turn the shirt over and repeat.
If you don’t want a crease in your shirt sleeve then insert a rolled-up towel into the arm, this will allow you to iron without creating a crease line.
Pro Tips for Ironing a Dress Shirt
- If you don’t know the material of the shirt you are ironing always start at a low temperature and increase.
- Never iron over buttons always iron around them.
- Don’t iron a shirt that is dirty as you can iron in the stains and make them permanent.
- Try not to iron just one shirt at a time as it will take more time getting the ironing board out and waiting for the iron to heat up.
- If the ironing board is not in the best condition be sure to use a towel underneath your shirt.
- Only use steam if you are ironing near the highest setting. Using steam while on a low temperature could cause your iron to drip. Use a spray bottle if you arent ironing at high temperatures.
- Remember to empty the water out of the iron straight after use to avoid it damaging your iron and also prolonging the life of the iron.
- You can place aluminum foil under the ironing board cover to iron your shirt from both sides but be careful you can burn your shirt this way.
- I like to iron on a towel as I just feel it makes it easier to get every single mark out of the shirt. (My son whose pictures they are above obviously doesn’t listen to me!)
- When ironing cotton or linen shirts they should be almost wet.
- If you have a really hot iron then you will need to move quickly not to scorch the fabric.
Ironing is like riding a bike once you learn how to do it properly you will never forget and it is a skill you will always need.
If you still don’t think you could iron even after that walkthrough you can cheat and either…
I will warn you though you will get nowhere near the crisp finish you will get by just learning to iron.
I hope this was helpful to some and give you the confidence to just iron.