- Before washing undo all buttons, this will lessen the strain on the stitches holding the buttons on to the shirt.
- Also remember to remove the collar stiffeners before washing. This will avoid uneven wear on the points of the collar. It also means you won’t have to search in the bottom of the drum, or amongst the rest of the wash, should they fall out. Certainly remove all collar stays before sending shirts to the dry-cleaners; otherwise you might never see them again!
- Turn all shirts inside-out. This allows the cleaning agents direct access to underarms stains.
- Wash in water at a temperature of 40ºC to 60ºC (104ºF to 140ºF).
- Line dry or dry in an airing cupboard, this will lengthen the lifespan of the shirt. Do not tumble dry as the steel drum tends to wear out the points of the collar and cuffs.
- A pure cotton shirt is best ironed while still slightly damp from the wash. This is much easier than using a fine spray to dampen it once it has already dried. However, a fine spray might still be required if the shirt has dried-out unevenly.
- In general lay the part of the shirt about to be pressed on a sturdy flat ironing board, using a dry iron (no steam) press the fabric until dry and crease free. Remember to set the iron’s temperature dial to ‘cotton’. Please ensure that you do not iron over the garment label as this is not made from cotton and may be damaged when using the `cotton` setting.
- The general order to ironing a shirt is: collar, cuffs, sleeves, yokes (shoulders), front panels and ending with the back panel. Then finally revisit any part of the shirt that may have creased while ironing.
- The collar should be damp on both sides. Firstly, iron the back of the collar and band until relatively flat and dry. You may need to pull gently at one end of the collar as you are pressing. Next, turn the collar over and repeat the procedure, ironing from the collar point to the centre, this will minimise unsightly creasing on the collar edge. Try not to use too much pressure when ironing the collar tips; these are the part most susceptible to wear when ironing.
- Never iron a collar with the collar stays inserted. This will cause serious wear to the cloth on the points of the collar.
- Cuffs should always be ironed unbuttoned or unfolded and in a similar fashion to the collar (i.e. both sides). Ironing a double cuff in the folded position can lead to lines and splitting over time. Again, try not to exert too much pressure when ironing over the cuff points or edges.
- Iron from the top of the sleeve down to the cuff, creating a crease if desired.
- Finally iron the two front panels and then the back of the shirt. The shirt should be unbuttoned at all times when ironing.
- The perennial question is whether one needs to iron both sides of a shirt. The answer is best discovered by personal experimentation. Although a good heat reflective ironing board cover should only require you to iron both sides of the collars and cuffs, which by their nature are the thickest parts of the garment.
- Finally once ironed slip the shirt onto a hanger, fasten the top button, and leave it to air. This will allow the final vestige of moisture to evaporate and minimise creasing.
If you chose to send your shirts to the dry-cleaners always opt for the ‘hand laundering’ service, if available. This will help to preserve the natural fabrics which can suffer from repeated exposure to harsh chemical treatments involved in ‘normal’ dry cleaning.