Proper Way To Iron a Dress Shirt

There is a proper way to iron a dress shirt and keeping dress shirts pressed is an important part of looking well kept. Some high-quality cotton dress shirts develop wrinkles during the day, but an overly wrinkled dress shirt, no matter how much it may be worth, simply doesn’t send a good message. Speaking of quality dress shirt, there are “rules” in ironing to ensure the collar and other aspects of the shirt stay in tack.

Most men have their shirts laundered and pressed at the cleaners, which for fused collars works great and is relatively inexpensive. However, if your dress shirts have non-fused collars with a floating canvas, you will need to instruct the cleaners to hand press your collar starting from the points to the backside; this will ensure that unnatural gathers and puckers don’t collect at the tips and edges of the collar.

If you find yourself in the position where you need to take on the job yourself, for whatever reason, here are some helpful tips:

1. It’s very important to use an iron without any residue on the bottom from a previous fabric scorching or something else of that nature. That’s more common than you think, and almost anything on the bottom of a hot iron can transfer onto your dress shirt. This also goes for the ironing board; make sure it is clean and clear of any residue, with the board cover securely fit without any ripples as this will transfer wrinkles onto your shirt when ironed.

2. An iron with the steam aspect is ideal, but a bottle spritzer with fresh clean water will work as well. The “Cotton” temperature is ideal for most dress shirts. The key is to allow the iron to reach this temperature before beginning.

3. Ironing Step Guidance:

  • The yoke is typically the most awkward part of the shirt to secure into place on the board, but a great starting point. Once the yoke is ironed and the fibers become stiff and secure, it creates ease going forward ironing the remainder of the shirt.
  • Continue with the back of the shirt and then the front. It feels difficult at first navigating each part of the shirt around this narrow board, but tried and true is the patient steady hand.
  • Ironing around the buttons is a little tricky, but the tip of the iron is made for this, however, you will need to utilize the sprayer or bottle spritzer as most iron’s steam capability doesn’t reach the tip.
  • Sleeves (each ironed separately of course) should lay flat nicely on the board with a firm stroke of your hand across the fabric before starting to iron. Run the iron along the bottom seam first starting at the arm pit, and depending on whether you want a crease along the top edge or not, continue ironing just up to the top edge, or completely over the fabric to create a firm crease.
  • There’s a trick to ironing the collar and getting a molded natural rounded effect. First, clean up the tips and outside top part by unfolding the collar and lying flat on the board (for non-fused, be very careful to iron from the points back so you do not create gathers or puckers along the tips or edges of the collar). Then, reform the collar back to its normal fold and lay back down on the board. With heavy steam, place the iron on the inside stroking back and forth a few times. You then want to immediately pull and round out the collar in a horseshoe shape and button the top or the second to the top button and let cool for a few minutes before wearing. Getting a molded rounded effect during ironing allows the collar to mold to your neck when you wear it. If you perfect this process, the shirt lays nicer on you throughout the rest of the day.