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How To Wash a Dress Shirt

Washing dress shirts at home can be done for a fraction of the cost of the dry cleaners - and without the chemical hazards and danger of weakened and scorched fabric.

To Wash Dress Shirts Say "No" to a Chemical Clean

Not only is it expensive to dry clean dress shirts between every wear, it can be downright dangerous for your favorite tops. Dry cleaning is tough on fabric and can weaken fibers which lead to fraying and tearing, particularly at the seams. Plus, industrial pressing can loosen and break buttons and wear down fabric. Cheap starch is often overused and builds up causing a dull coating. If you must send your shirts out, request laundering. And best yet, bring your own plant-derived products from The Laundress to minimize damage from harsh chemical detergents.

Follow these simple steps to keep your favorite shirts looking top notch.

Gather These Tools: The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar, Signature Detergent, Mesh Washing Bag, Stain Solution, All-Purpose Bleach Alternative, Stain Brush, Ironing Water, Stiffen Up, Fabric Fresh Classic

STEP 1: Pretreat

Work the Wash & Stain Bar into a lather with warm water and apply to unsightly spots and soiled areas like necklines, and cuffs. The bar is perfect for accessing hard to reach spaces. Areas that aren't showing visible discoloration can be pretreated with Stain Solution which works to keep stains at bay.

For pit stains, apply Stain Solution directly on the affected area. Then, sprinkle All-Purpose Bleach Alternative over the solution to create a powerful paste. Work the solution in using your Stain Brush. If the stain is particularly stubborn, soak the shirt in a bath of warm water and a capful of All-Purpose Bleach Alternative for 30 minutes. If the stain remains, don't fret. It can take 2-3 repetitions of this process to eradicate the most set stains.

STEP 2: Prepare

Remove collar stays and turn the shirt inside out. Place your shirt in a Mesh Washing Bag. This helps protect your fabric and buttons from damage. 

STEP 3: Launder

Set the normal cycle on your machine and make sure your water temperature is set to warm when washing cotton or linen to achieve the deepest clean. Add Signature Detergent (or your Laundress detergent of choice) considering the machine type and load size. Wash with the same or like colors only.

STEP 4: Dry

Hang your shirts to dry being careful to position the garment properly on the hanger. This will help prevent stretching. We never recommend machine drying shirts.

STEP 5: Finish

Iron shirts while damp for best results. Always press from the tip (points) of the collar or cuff inwards as the reverse will cause bunching or wrinkling. For added scent during this process, add one capful of Ironing Water to the iron. Achieve a crisp, clean finish by spritzing item with Stiffen Up spray.

Between wears, spritz Fabric Fresh Classic to liven dress shirts.