3 Ways To Wash A Dress Shirt

A lot of us are figuring out how to wash dress shirts without ruining them. Not only that, but the goal here is also to make it look good as new. There are just a few ways to go about doing it.

By the time you finish reading this, you’ll be able to wash a dress shirt in more ways than one. But there might be one that you’ll prefer the most. There is nothing sharper to wear than a dress shirt for those dress casual days at the office or a semi-formal event. Let’s take a look at the 3 ways to wash a dress shirt. 

  • Wash and press

This is the most standard method of washing a dress shirt. In fact, it’s the method that almost every dry cleaner will use. They’ll do this unless you give them explicit instructions to dry clean it. 

Besides, dry cleaners won’t charge you much. On average, dry cleaners will charge anywhere between $1.50 to $2 a shirt. So if you are looking to clean your dress shirts in a more cost-effective manner, then consider getting them done through a professional dry cleaner.  

  • Do it yourself

Of course, there’s always the “do-it-yourself” option. If you are not a fan of having someone else do it for you, you can do it at home if you want to. With more control on your part, you may also risk making some mistakes.

If you want to wash your dress shirt at home, pay very close attention to what you’re about to read. This way, you don’t want to accidentally ruin your dress shirts. We’ve heard so many sad stories about this happening. 

Here’s a brief list of how to go about cleaning your dress shirt the “DIY” way:

  • Prep the dress shirt by making sure that all the buttons are unbuttoned. Yes, this also means the cuffs and collars


  • If there are stains present, pre-treat them with detergent. Another great option is spot cleaning them using a stain stick or a similar device


  • On the washing machine, you’ll need to adjust to the appropriate settings. For example, lightweight dress shirts should be washed at a delicate cycle. A normal cycle will be sufficient if the fabric is heavier or if they have tough to remove stains 


  • If the dress shirt is white or has a light color, you can get away with using a hot rinse cycle. Dark-colored shirts should be rinsed cold 


  • Use a detergent like Woolite Complete or something similar. As a rule of thumb, don’t use a detergent that contains any kind of chlorine. That will cause your dark color clothing to discolor


  • Wash the shirt in a spin cycle like normal


  • After the spin cycle is complete, remove the shirts as soon as possible. Be sure to shake them out so you can prevent excessive wrinkling. Do not put them in the dryer


  • Using plastic hangars, air dry the dress shirt. Do not use tight clothespins or metal hangars as they may pose a risk for damaging the shirts


  • Iron the shirts when ready. They don’t need to be completely dry. The sooner you iron out the wrinkles, the better


  • Dry cleaning method

Circling back to the first part of our list. Let’s say that you explicitly instruct them to dry clean it. Dry cleaning will prevent shrinkage and will less likely cause any damage. Some dry cleaners will charge you anywhere between $4 to $5 per shirt. So it’s about double the cost of the wash and press method that the dry cleaners will offer. 


If you are looking to wash a dress shirt and keep it clean, these are the three ways to go about doing it. It’s important to choose which method is best for you depending on your budget and your personal preferences. 

If you have a dress shirt that is due to be cleaned or needs some serious stains removed, choose your method wisely. It can take one small mistake that can lead to a shirt that can get damaged. Better to use these methods above than do something the wrong way.


Alex is the co-author of 100 Greatest Plays, 100 Greatest Cricketers, 100 Greatest Films and 100 Greatest Moments. He has written for a wide variety of publications including The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

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