Written by Tenley Haraldson.
You might be thinking, “Do I really need to learn how to wash a dress shirt?” While it’s true that dry cleaning saves time, think about all the waste and money it requires.
Forego the perchloroethylene and plastic sheeting: Our guide shows you everything you need for laundering dress shirts entirely at home.
How to Wash a Dress Shirt
- A "dry-clean only" tag means that you shouldn't attempt to wash it at home.
- A “dry cleaning recommended” on your shirt tag means that you can take it to the dry cleaner or wash it yourself.
- Machine-washing instructions mean your shirt is a “wash and wear” variety. These garments are designed to be laundered at home.
The following steps should apply for options 2 and 3:
Pretreat Any Stains
Scroll don't a bit to find the stain-fighting steps that absolutely work. Go ahead: We’ll wait while you check them out!
Throw It in the Wash
We could literally talk about it for hours.
Note: You May Need a Dry Cleaner Sometimes
If your garment has a “dry clean only” tag, take it to a “green” dry cleaner that uses eco-friendly cleaning methods (instead of chemicals like perchloroethylene). Regular exposure to this solvent can cause a variety of health issues, may be carcinogenic, and can move into groundwater sources.
What's the Setting to Wash Dress Shirts?
When it comes to laundering dress shirts, follow these instructions:
- Wash similar materials and colors together.
- Use the permanent press or delicate cycle.
- Select the low-spin setting.
- Set the machine for an extra rinse cycle (especially after pretreating stains).
- Use cold or warm water. Aim for water temperatures that fall somewhere between 50º and 80ºF
Can You Put Dress Shirts in the Dryer?
It’s the combination of high heat and overdrying that leads to shrinkage, damage, and even burns. Always be sure to:
- Consult the shirt’s care tag for instructions.
- Use the dryer’s permanent press cycle.
- Select the “less dry” option.
- Remove garments from the dryer when they’re still damp and take them immediately to the ironing board. Dampness helps the drying process and the steam helps remove wrinkles.
Pro Tip: Excess fabric leads to bunching. Cut down on wrinkles by purchasing/tailoring shirts that fit your body.
Can I Air-Dry My Dress Shirts?
If you don’t have a dryer, hang wet shirts on non-wire hangers and leave enough space between them for proper air-drying. When slightly damp, break out the iron.
How Often Should I Wash Button-up Shirts?
If you only wore your garment a few hours – and there are no smells or stains – you can probably put it back on the hanger. Consider using an iron or garment steamer to loosen up any wrinkles.
However, the true answer depends on how long you wore the shirt, if you spilled anything on it, or if you’re a naturally sweaty person (no judgement here!).
How to Get Stains out of White Dress Shirts
Put on a white shirt and you're going to drop something on it. It’s the law of the universe. Even without spills, the neck, cuffs, and armpit areas need special attention (thanks to sweat, body odor, and dead skin cells).
Washing white dress shirts starts with tackling gross smells and stains – before they start. Invest in a bottle of our Natural Stain Remover. The 6 plant-based enzymes safely break down hundreds of stains and odors without damaging fabric. It’s the ideal way to whiten clothes without bleach.
1. Pretreat Stains
Keep our Natural Stain Remover near your laundry basket. As soon as you take your shirt off, saturate “problem areas.”
2. Agitate Fabric
Rub the affected fabric together or use a laundry brush to work the enzymes into the fabric’s fibers (and loosen stain particles).
3. Wait It Out
You can wait 15-60 minutes before moving onto the next step OR you can chuck the shirt in your hamper and let it marinate for a few days. The longer you wait, the better: Enzymes become inert once they’re done snacking on stain particles.
Pro Tip: Don’t let the formula sit on silk and wool for more than one hour.
4. Proceed with Washing
Check out our washing steps (above).
5. Repeat If Necessary
Some smudges and blotches are really tough. There’s almost nothing that a second round of Stain Remover can’t handle.
6. Don't Dry Clothes Until Stains Are Gone
You can “lock in” stains if they're not totally removed before the drying process. If you notice that your stain isn’t fully removed after your first wash cycle, repeat steps #1-4 above until it’s gone.
Cleaning a Dress Shirt Is Easy with Puracy
From removing unsightly stains to brightening white fabric to keeping skin health, Puracy’s natural laundry products ensure that your capsule wardrobe will last for years.