With your new shirt your goal is to make sure your investment won’t go to waste. And one way to do that is to ensure that the item you bought has a long ‘shelf life.’ In other words, it has to last a considerable amount of time.
If you’ve bought that perfect dress shirt and you want it to appear good as new for a fair number of years, here’s an obvious piece of advice for you: take good care of it.
Sounds easy enough. But can you do it? Of course you can. It’s not exactly rocket science. We’ve put together some handy-dandy tips on how to care for that precious dress shirt.
Shirts get dirty. That’s an obvious truth. No matter what you do to keep unwanted dirty stuff away, it will get to your shirt one way or another.
One of the keys to making your dress shirt look as pristine as it did when you bought it is knowing how to wash it. The question, though, is: Are you going to take them to the cleaners? Or are you confident in your skills enough to do the washing on your own?
There are both pros and cons with either options above.
If you bring your shirt to professional cleaners, you know your shirt is in good hands. It’s also convenient and relatively cheap. However, even though they’re pros, the shirt they’re washing is not theirs, which lessens that personal touch, not to mention the fact that they wash clothes in big volumes. Also, if you’ve opted for the wash-and-press service, they might slam on the shirt too hard that it might cause the buttons to chip (or maybe even shatter).
Doing it yourself at home also has its share of advantages and disadvantages. Washing your dress shirt yourself means you have more control over how it’s washed. However, it may take more of your time and attention. If you have time to spare, go for this option.
Here are steps you can follow on how to wash your shirt so you can get the best results:
- Prepare. Yup, easy but important step. The first step in the washing business is to get your dress shirt prepped for the cleaning it’s going to undergo. Unbutton all the buttons, and this includes unbuttoning the cuff and collar buttons.
- Treat stains early. Before you dump your shirt into the washing machine, you can give the stains (if any) some early treatment by using a little detergent. Alternatively, you can use a stain remover pen to spot-clean those ugly stains.
- Set up the washing machine. Make sure you know what settings you should use for the type of fabric you’re going to wash. A ‘Normal’ setting would be a safe choice for heavy and thick fabric, while setting the cycle to ‘Delicate’ is ideal for a lightweight shirt.
- Choose a high-quality detergent. Stay away from chlorine-based detergents or cleaners. They may cause discoloration to a lot of fabric types.
- Hang the shirts. Be sure to choose the right hanger. Hangers with sharp points may deform your shirt. Tight clothespins are also a big no-no as they may also deform the fabric or leave nasty marks.
Really? Storing? You bet. Caring for your shirt is not just about cleaning it. It’s also about keeping it in a space where elements and creepy-crawlies cannot wreak havoc on your shirts. You either want to hang it, or fold it properly for storage.
Also, after using a shirt, don’t let it sit in your hamper for a long time before washing it. Doing so may lead to some ugly premature yellowing of the collar band.
Dodge the Sludge
Not literally, hopefully. Of course, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Once you’ve put on your dress shirt, try your best not to have it come into contact with anything that can soil, stain, smudge or smear it (gotta love the alliteration there). This will save you lots of time cleaning it if you avoid dirty stuff to touch your shirt to begin with.
With proper care, your valued shirt can last for many years and continue to look awesome and kept.