Updated on by Sarina
A perfectly pressed shirt – the magic bullet to an excellent first impression. A creased and rumpled one – the beginning of the end. You may not think of these in the extremes that I have mentioned, but you will agree that a well-pressed shirt can make you look smart, presentable, intelligent, rich, and capable – are there any other reasons needed to get your shirts pressed neatly?.
It is not a Herculean task to learn how to iron a dress shirt. With a few tricks and practice, anyone can learn how to press the shirt properly with the iron. The right temperature, the right surface, right tools – all matters.
Normal iron or Steam iron?
The basic things for ironing a shirt are, of course, a good quality iron box and a clean, smooth surface for ironing. It is always better to have a steam iron with the provision to spray water on your shirt- as long as you are not pressing a silk shirt.
Always make sure the base of the iron box is devoid of any dirt, rust or sediments. A sturdy iron board with a clean cloth top that can withstand heat is a must. You can adjust its height to your comfort before starting to iron the shirt.
Suppose you do not have a steam iron; it is always handy to have a spray bottle filled with clean water.
A clean pressing cloth is another thing you can keep as you iron. A pressing cloth protects the fabric’s surface. If you have dark shirts, this cloth can prevent shine.
Read the care label of your shirt
You have to know what your shirt is made of. For that, you can check the label inside – every shirt will have this label along with some instructions on how to treat that particular fabric – if these instructions are not there, there will be some symbols. These are universal symbols for fabric care. You can read more about fabric care labels here.
Shirts are usually cotton, linen, silk, or blends. Read more about the standard fabrics used for shirts here. It is essential to know about the material because each material demands a different temperature setting on your iron box. For example, a cotton or a linen shirt needs a higher heat setting when compared to a synthetic or silk shirt. A quick reference to the setting on your iron box will teach you which setting is suitable for a chosen material.
Should you starch your shirt?
Many homemakers who iron regularly would vouch that the secret to a crisp pressed shirt is starch. You can buy any starch spray bottles available at the stores or create your own.
A spray bottle of starch can be used while you are ironing or the starch can be applied when the shirt is washed. Check out this post on homemade starch recipes.
How to starch the shirt before ironing?
Starch works best on natural fibers like cotton or linen. You can also use it on cotton, linen blends, but it will not look as crisp.
To starch a shirt, hold the starch bottle 5-6 inches away and uniformly spray starch on the insides of the shirt. Allow it a minute or two to absorb it.
The collar is one area where you should specifically apply starch – especially if you like your shirt collars to have that super stiff look. (or even if you do not want the sloppy collars). Flatten the collar on the ironing board with the inside facing out. Get the starch bottle and liberally spray the collar from the middle to both ends.
How to starch a shirt when washing?
If you prefer starch to be applied uniformly, the only way is to dip the shirt in a liquid starch solution just after you have washed it. For that, mix a bucket full of water with two or three cap fulls of liquid starch. Stir to blend it uniformly. Take your shirt and dip it completely into the starch solution. Let it fully submerge so that no part of the shirt is left without starch. Take the shirt out of the solution and squeeze out the water. Squeezing is better than wringing as it makes fewer amount of creases. Now hang the shirt to dry.
After starching, do not wait for the shirt to be completely dry – It is always better to iron it while it is slightly damp. But in case the shirt is completely dry, you can spray water before ironing to easily remove the creases.
How to remove all creases completely from the shirt?
To remove creases, you should start with a damp shirt than a dry shirt. What I mean is that, to get the creases out of your shirt, you have to iron it while it’s slightly damp. All fabrics are pliable when wet. Especially cotton and linen – they should absolutely be dampened.
You can either take the shirt from the drying line before it is completely dry, or You can spray water with a spray bottle to lightly dampen the shirt. If you are using a steam iron, the steam from the iron will dampen the surface just enough.
Ironing the shirt – steps
Step 1. Adjust the iron temperature settings
Adjust the iron to the setting needed for the fabric. To iron cotton blend shirts or synthetic shirts, use low heat. It is always better to use a thin sheet of fabric between the iron and the shirt to avoid any accidents as these shirts are very heat sensitive. For linen and cotton shirts, you will need to use high temperatures to remove creases, especially if you are ironing dry.
Step 2. Start with the collar
The stiff high standing pressed collar is the first thing you notice; to this end, flatten the inside of the collar on the iron board. Bring the hot iron to the middle and press towards one end. This will avoid the formation of a crease on the tip of the collar. Now repeat the same action to the other end. Repeat the process with the other side. Now turn the shirt to press the outside of the collar.
Step 3. Press the sleeves.
If you have a long-sleeved skirt, tackle the cuffs now. Open the cuffs and lay them flat on the iron board. You have to press the inside of the cuff before ironing the outside, just like the collar iron from the middle towards the edges. Workaround the buttons gently with the tip of the iron box. Even if you are going over the buttons, do not linger – hot iron can disfigure the buttons.
Now place the sleeve with the seam flat on the iron board and smooth out creases if any with your hands. Place the tip of the iron box near the cuff and work backward towards the shoulder. Now flip the sleeve over and repeat the process with the other side. Repeat it with the other sleeve.
Step 4. Press the yoke
The yoke is the top of the back and shoulder section. Flip the shirt so that the yoke is flat in front of you. Place the yoke so that the narrow end of the iron board is inside one sleeve. Smooth out the fabric with your hands. Now iron from the edges to the middle. Repeat the process with the other side.
Step 5. Iron the back of the shirt
To iron the back of the shirt, you will have to position it several times on the iron board to iron the whole of it. Place the back flat on the board and smooth out any creases with your hand. Now start from the tail end towards the yoke. If your shirt has pleats at the back, make sure you press the lower side first before working on the pleats. Use the narrow end of the iron box to work on the pleats.
Step 6. Front and placket of the shirt.
The placket of a shirt is where you have the buttons and buttonholes. To iron, the placket, lay it flat on the middle of the iron board. Workaround the buttons with the narrow tip of the iron box. Be careful not to damage any buttons or the thread to go loose. Now place one of the front sides on the iron board and work from the end towards the armhole and collar. Workaround the pocket in such a way that you start from the outside to prevent any creases. Now repeat it with the other side.
Your shirt is ready and looks crisp and straight without any creases. You can hang it on a clothes hanger or fold and keep it.
How to fold a pressed shirt?
Button up the shirt and place it button side down and sleeves hanging to the side. Fold the left sleeve and left side of the shirt in towards the center. The fold should make a straight edge down. Now fold the sleeve away from the middle. Repeat it with the right side. Fold the shirt’s tail up towards the collar, and you have your perfectly folded shirt.
Pressing vs ironing the shirt?
Pressing and ironing differs in the action of the iron – with ironing you drag the iron on the fabric surface and remove the wrinkles. The process along with the heat and pressure removes the wrinkles. With pressing you just press the hot iron.
What if you have no iron?
If you are traveling and find yourself without an iron box or a board, the easiest way to remove the creases from your shirt is to hang it on a clothes hanger in the bathroom before taking a hot shower. The steam from the bath will smooth out any creases.