Let’s face it: Dry cleaning can get expensive. And shirts that claim to be “no iron” rarely have that crisp, professional look a well-dressed man wants. Here are our top tips for ironing men’s dress shirts for that fresh-off-the-laundry-press look.
Tip #1: Buy a Top-Quality Iron
A man is only as good as his tools – or so the saying goes. Shop for an iron that has the heat and features you need for a perfectly pressed shirt. Here are the things to look for in a high-quality iron:
A quality soleplate: Choose an iron that has a soleplate made of solid steel or cast iron with aluminum or a titanium coating.
High heat: Buy the highest watt iron you can afford. The higher the wattage, the higher the heat capacity. Premium wattage is 1800, but you can go as low as 1200 if your budget is tight.
Steam: The hot moisture of steam helps you get out wrinkles with an even distribution of heat. Look for a higher-end model that offers 300+ holes for a uniform mist.
- Handling: Once you find an iron with the features you want, try it out for comfort. Irons vary in weight, so decide if you prefer one that’s heavy or light.
Tip #2: Use an Ironing Board
It’s tempting to throw a towel on the nearest flat surface and use it as a make-shift ironing board. Don’t do it. An ironing board is a must for an even pressing. Don’t worry about space because ironing boards fold up for easy storage. Invest in a quality ironing board pad with a snug fit for a smoother surface.
Tip #3: Prepare Your Clothes and Iron
Store your ironing gear in the area where you plan to iron. This way you won’t have to lug it out every time you iron a shirt. Get set up to iron with these three steps:
Read the Garment Labels: Always make sure you read the laundering instructions and check the fabric. Use the recommended setting on your iron. If you don’t see a label, or it is not clear what the fabric is, always err on the side of caution and use a lower setting. You can adjust it as you go. We do not advise ironing silk or wool shirts; these items need to be dry cleaned.
Spritz the Shirt with Water: Using a new, clean spray bottle, spray distilled water on your shirt. Place the shirt in a plastic bag to let the moisture set in while your iron is heating up. (Note: Distilled water has fewer minerals and won’t clog the iron steam holes.)
- Heat the Iron: Allow the iron to heat up for about 5 minutes on the proper setting.
Tip #4: Learn How to Iron Properly
Follow these steps for a perfectly ironed man’s dress shirt:
Iron the Collar: Lay the collar flat and iron the underside first. Press from one point to the other to eliminate the wrinkles. Then iron the outside.
Iron the Cuffs: Unbutton the cuff and lay it flat. Iron the inside first and then the outside. Never iron over the buttons, as they can melt.
Iron the Shirt Front: Lay the button side of your shirt front over the point of your ironing board. Use the iron point to get between the buttons and then move up to the shoulder and work your way down. Repeat on the other side.
Iron the Back: Place the sleeve head over the square edge of the ironing board nice and flat. Start at the yoke and work your way down. Then shift the shirt to the other shoulder and repeat. Watch for any pleats in the center of the shoulders.
Iron the Sleeves: This is tricky! The sleeve must be perfectly flat on both side. Smooth the fabric and keep adjusting until you don’t feel any creases. Don’t start ironing until you have both sides evenly laid out. Look for the crease at the top and use it as a guide. If you don’t see a crease, use the seam. Start at the shoulder and work down to the cuff. For best results, do both sides of the sleeve and then repeat the process with the other sleeve.
Hang Your Shirt: Assess your shirt for any missed wrinkles. Iron them if needed, and then hang the shirt up.
Don’t Wear a Freshly Ironed Shirt Right Away
If you’re like most men, you iron a dress shirt about 3 minutes before you need it. We get it…life gets busy. But you should never wear a dress shirt immediately after ironing it. This is a sure-fire way to immediately re-wrinkle your shirt. Instead of ironing your shirts at the last minute, right before you get dressed, iron them the night before and hang them overnight.
Prevent Dress Shirts from Getting Armpit Sweat Stains
Ironing your own shirts keeps you looking smart and reduces your laundering costs. You can also prevent damage to shirts by using an Ejis sweat proof undershirt to avoid sweat stains. Check out our line of products here.