How to Wash Your Dress Shirt Properly?

Washing your dress shirt should be as simple as a regular load of laundry, but often times is not. It proves to be a particularly problematic task if you have stained your shirt. So instead of loading it in the washing machine, you need to separate your dress shirt and wash it, preferably by hand.

But is this the only way?

How to Wash your Dress Shirt with Care

Prepare Your Soiled Dress Shirt

White dress shirt on the bed

Take your dirty dress shirt and turn it inside out. Place it on a basin or sink. Then add one cap-full (or ml.) of laundry soap. Make sure not to use too much or have soap residue on your shirt.

Add Soap and Water

Dissolve the soap by adding tepid water until one-quarter inch over the stained area. For example, if you use a sink with two sections for water, fill one side with hot water and the other side with cold water. Then, dissolve the soap in the sink having cold water. If you use a washing machine, add your shirt to the washer and fill it with cold water.

When Using a Washer:

Filling washing machine with detergent

If you have a front-loading one, put the shirt in the washer and add enough water to cover it. Ensure you are not loading too many, or the clothes will not be clean. Add the laundry soap to the washing machine. Select the ' delicate cycle' and set the water temperature to cold.

If you are hand washing your shirt, add the soap to a basin of cold water and stir until you dissolve the soap.

Soak and Wash

Shirt soaked in soap and water

After the soap is dissolved, place the shirt in the water and stir it for two minutes. It means that you need to move the shirt up and down in the water to wash it thoroughly.

Drain and Rinse

Once the two minutes are up, drain the sink or washer and fill it with tepid water. It doesn't have to be too warm because you want to maintain the integrity of the shirt fabric. After filling it with tepid water, agitate your shirt for two minutes again. Drain this water and refill the basin one more time with tepid water.

Hand washing clothes over soapy water

This time, do not agitate or move the shirt around in the water. Drain this basin and remove your shirt from the water.

Remove Excess Water

Make sure to squeeze all of the moisture out of your shirt without wringing it tightly. It means, you need to remove as much excess water from your dress shirt as possible without breaking the fabric.

Hang and Dry

Lastly, hang your dress shirt on a hanger and put it away until you need to wear it again. Do this properly to retain its shape and avoid deforming it.

Type of Water to Wash Your Dress Shirt

There is a difference between soft water and hard water. When you dissolve the soap in soft water, it produces a lather that is easy to rinse away.

Otherwise, the hard water has a sticky scum that is difficult to rinse away. For this reason, it is essential to use cold water when washing a dress shirt because it will help dissolve the soap.

Sink with water flowing from the faucet

If you are washing a dress shirt in hot water, the soap won't dissolve, which causes it to stick to your shirt. If you can't remove the soap, treat with hairspray or laundry stain remover.

Instead of using brand-name laundry detergent, generic brands are just as good at getting stains from clothes.

Male hand setting washing machine's button

In addition, they often work better because they are more concentrated. When using a washing machine, use the delicate cycle to prevent your dress shirt from becoming misshapen.

Now you know how to wash a dress shirt like a pro! Just remember these simple tips, and you'll be able to keep your dress shirts looking sharp for years to come.

Factors to Consider When Washing Your Dress Shirt

Man wearing a white dress shirt

Wash your dress shirt before wearing them. It should be clean and free of stains or odors. These criteria are integral components of the appearance expected from men's formal clothing, such as a dress shirt.

There is also an aesthetic component for washing a dress shirt because it will lose some of its crispness and luster with each wash.  How you wash your shirt will also determine its lifespan.

There are various factors to consider when washing a dress shirt: the fabric, the color, the type of stain, and the care instructions.


Different dress shirts in wardrobe

Different fabrics react differently to water and detergents. As a result, some colors may run or fade in the wash.

Cotton is ideal for keeping a man's dress shirt looking its best. Wool is another possibility, but it can be less forgiving than cotton when it comes to wrinkles. Linen is a breathable fabric that is wrinkle-resistant, but it can also fade in color over time.


Different types of stains will require different methods of cleaning. Care instructions will indicate the proper way of washing, whether in hot or cold water, and whether it should be line-dried or machine-dried.

Coffee stains on dress shirt

You can remove blood, wine, and coffee with cold water or club soda. However, treatment of more stubborn stains like oil may require detergents. It would be best to treat spots or streaks because they are more difficult to remove when the shirt is dry.

Type of Water

Generally, you must wash your dress shirt in cold water and line-dried. However, if you have a shirt made of synthetic fabric, it should be laundered in warm water and dried in a dryer.

Ironing Method

Dress shirt and iron on ironing board

While still damp, you can iron it to remove wrinkles and restore its original crispness and luster.


Dress shirts are the traditional option for men, and they come in various colors. Some colors may run or fade in the wash, so it is best to follow care instructions for colored shirts more carefully.

Care instructions

Care instructions will indicate whether you need to wash the shirt in cold or hot water and whether it should be line dried or dried in a dryer.

Male hands holding dress shirt's care instructions label

You can clean most dress shirts in cold water and line-dried, but synthetic fabrics should be laundered in warm water and dried in a dryer. Also, you can iron some dress shirts while still damp to remove wrinkles and restore their original crispness and luster.

Washing a dress shirt is not as difficult as it may seem. By following the proper steps and considering the different factors involved, a man can keep his dress shirts looking their best for many years.

Important Things to Remember

  • Use a mild detergent - again, to protect the shirt's fabric.. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener - both of these can damage the shirt's color.
Pouring laundry detergent into washing machine
  • Pay attention when selecting the washing machine setting - select the correct water temperature for a specific fabric. Select the "gentle" or "delicate" setting to protect the shirt from excessive wear and tear.
  • Don't overload the washer - this can cause the shirt to become twisted or stretched out of shape.
  • Use a mild detergent - again, to protect the shirt's fabric.. Avoid using bleach or fabric softener - both of these can damage the shirt's color.
  • If you are using a dryer, remove all unnecessary items from the pockets. Don't use heat if the label says to "line dry."

Guide in Maintaining Your Dress Shirt

Read the Label Before Washing Your Dress Shirt

Clothing label

It will tell you what type of washing machine it is okay to use, what temperature setting to choose, and whether or not you should lay the dress shirt flat afterward. If there are no washing instructions on the label, select a delicate cycle in cold water and lay the dress shirt flat later to dry.

Some dress shirts will be marked with a care label that says "dry clean only" or "machine wash cold, gentle cycle." Always follow these instructions to keep your dress shirt looking crisp and professional.

Wash Your Dress Shirt According to Specifications

Clothes washing instructions

Fill your washing machine halfway with water. Next, add your regular detergent, and then add the dress shirt.

If the dress shirt is white, you may want to add a small amount of bleach to the wash cycle.

However, be careful not to use too much, as this can fade the color of the dress shirt.

Run the washing machine on a delicate cycle and choose the cold water setting.

Follow the Correct Drying Method for Your Dress Shirt

Clothes label with care instructions

After the wash cycle is complete, you may either lay the dress shirt flat to dry or put it in the dryer.

If you choose to lay it flat, make sure it is lying on a towel to not stick to itself as it air-dries.

If you are drying your dress shirt in a dryer, choose the lowest heat setting and remove it from the dryer as soon as possible.

Then, hang on a hanger or lay flat to ensure it doesn't wrinkle before putting it back on.

Dry Clean for Better Results

It will give you ideas of what type of ironing board, iron, and other tools are best for the job.

If you are unsure how to properly care for your dress shirt or want to keep it in excellent condition, have it dry cleaned.

Many cleaners offer quality dry cleaning with same-day service, so afterward, you can pick up and wear your dress shirt right away.

There you have it! With a few simple tips and tricks on washing a dress shirt, you will always look sharp and professional.

Follow these guidelines every time you do a load of laundry, and your dress shirts will last much longer. 

Benefits of Washing Your Dress Shirt Properly

A dress shirt is a must-have for any man's wardrobe. You can wear it with or without a tie, and you might even wear it on the weekends with jeans.

Because of its classic style and versatility, it pays to take care of your dress shirt. Ensure longevity by laundering your dress shirts according to the tags' instructions so they last longer.

Less Wrinkles

Clothes steamer on top of a dress shirt

Wrinkles fall right out when washed according to the care tags' instructions. For dress shirts made of wrinkle-resistant fabric, follow the same steps as you would for a cotton dress shirt.

It is essential always to follow the care instructions on the tag of your dress shirt. Different fabrics require different laundering methods, and failure to adhere to the guidelines can result in a ruined shirt.

Dress shirts should be machine-washed in cold water and hung to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the no-heat setting.

Easy to Press

Dress shirts come in a wide variety of fabrics, designs, and patterns—the ones with simple styles are made from non-wrinkle materials that are easy to iron.

Iron your dress shirt right out of the dryer, so it doesn't get wrinkled while still wet. If you must use an iron, set it to the lowest heat setting to remove wrinkles from your dress shirt.

You can also use a steamer to get rid of wrinkles, but be careful not to get the fabric too wet.

When you take care of your dress shirts, they will last longer and look great every time you wear them.

Man in dress shirt

Follow the guidelines for washing and ironing to ensure that your dress shirts always look their best.

With proper care, your dress shirt can be a wardrobe staple for many years to come. Washing a dress shirt is an essential task for any man, as proper care of this garment can result in longer life and better appearance. 

If you have a non-wrinkle dress shirt, you can hang it to dry after laundering. However, if your dress shirt is made of wrinkle-resistant fabric, it should be dried in an electric or no-heat setting since normal heat will damage the fibers.

Then, hang it, so wrinkles fall out naturally when your dress shirt is still damp from the washing machine.

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