Written by Tenley Haraldson.

While dry cleaning might save time, think about all the waste and money it requires. Forego the perchloroethylene and plastic sheeting and learn how to wash button up shirts within the comfort of your own laundry room.

With our expert laundry guide, you'll learn how to wash dress shirts at home and get office-ready shirts without the fumes.  

How Often Should I Wash Dress Shirts?

washing dress shirts at home

Well, this all depends on how long you wore it, if you got anything on it, or if you’re a naturally sweaty person (no judgement here!).

If it was only worn a few hours, doesn’t smell, and has no stains, you can probably put it back on the hanger. You could also use an iron or garment steamer to loosen up any wrinkles. The choice is yours!

How to Wash a Dress Shirt at Home

Always check your dress shirt label before attempting to launder it:
  1. A "dry-clean only" tag means that you shouldn't attempt to wash it at home. 
  2. A “dry cleaning recommended” on your shirt tag means that you can take it to the dry cleaner or wash it yourself. 
  3. Machine-washing instructions means your shirt is a “wash and wear” variety. This is designed to be laundered at home. 

The following steps should apply for options 2 and 3:

Pretreat Any Stains 

If you scroll below, you'll find those stain-fighting steps. Don’t worry: We’ll wait while you check them out!

Throw It in the Wash

best way to wash dress shirts

We don’t just recommend our 99.96% natural Laundry Detergent because we produce it. We worked with dermatologists and PhD chemists to perfect the four plant-based enzymes that break down hundreds of stains and odors. It's safe for super-sensitive skin. It's 10X concentrated which dramatically reduces our carbon footprint. 

We could literally talk about it for hours

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

What's the Best Wash Cycle for Dress Shirts? 

best wash cycle for dress shirts

To wash your dress shirts, stick to 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 if you pretreated stains).
  • Use cold or warm water. Depending on where you live – and the season – aim for water temperatures that fall somewhere between 50º and 80ºF  

Can You Put Dress Shirts in the Dryer?

can you put dress shirts in the dryer

It's not the heat that ruins clothes. It’s the combination of high heat and overdrying that leads to shrinkage, damage, and even burns. No one wants that, so be sure to:

  • Consult the shirt’s care tag for instructions.
  • Use the dryer’s permanent press cycle.
  • Select the “less dry” option.
  • Remove from the dryer when it’s still damp, then take it right to the ironing board: Dampness helps the drying process and the steam to remove wrinkles.

Pro Tip: Excess fabric leads to bunching. A simple way to cut down on wrinkles is purchasing/tailoring shirts that fit your body.

Can I Air-Dry My Dress Shirts?  

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 to Get Stains out of Dress Shirts

how to wash dress shirts at home

It's a law of the universe: Put on a white shirt and you're going to drop something on it. Even without spills, certain areas (like the neck, cuffs, and armpits) will need special attention, thanks to sweat, body odor, and dead skin cells.

The best way to wash white dress shirts starts with tackling gross smells and stains before they start. Invest in a bottle of Puracy Natural Stain Remover. Not only does it whiten clothes without bleach but the 6 plant-based enzymes safely break down hundreds of stains and odors. 

1. Pretreat Stains

We recommend keeping a bottle near your laundry basket. As soon as you take your shirt off, spritz “problem areas”, throw the garment in your laundry basket, and leave it for later.

2. Agitate Fabric 

Either vigorously rub the affected fabric together or agitate it with a laundry brush. This works the enzymes into the fabric’s fibers and loosens stain particles.

best way to wash white dress shirts

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, and the enzymes become inert once they’re finished 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 

We’re not going to lie: Some smudges and blotches are really tough, but 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 drying clothes. If you notice that your stain isn’t fully removed after your first wash cycle, repeat steps #1-4 above until it’s gone.

Does Puracy Natural Stain Remover Actually Work?

We're a company that believes that plant-based products work just as well – if not better – than products filled with caustic ingredients. That's why we loaded an air cannon with the worst stain-making items in your pantry. And aimed it at Puracy's co-founder, Sean Busch.

how to wash white dress shirts

If our before/after photos don't totally convince you, maybe our 4.5-star rating on Amazon will!

Sometimes, You Need to Use Dry Cleaner

dry clean dress shirts

When you spot a “dry clean only” tag on a shirt, don’t attempt to wash it at home: Take it to a “green” dry cleaner that uses eco-friendly cleaning methods rather than perchloroethylene. Regular exposure to this solvent can cause a variety of health issues (e.g. nausea, skin irritation, liver damage) and may even be carcinogenic to humans.

In the environment, perchloroethylene doesn't attach well to soil and can move into groundwater sources. It is also especially resistant to degradation. 

Cleaning Dress Shirts Is Easy with Puracy Products

puracy products

When you’re wearing a crisp button-up, you want to look and feel your best. From removing gross stains and keeping your white shirts bright, Puracy’s natural laundry products ensure that your capsule wardrobe lasts for years.