How to Wash Dress Shirts Without Ironing

Whichever way you wear your dress shirts, whether it’s for formal occasions or for casual evenings, dress shirts need good maintenance if you want them to last long.

Part of this entails knowing how to wash them, dry them, and still rock them wrinkle-free.

What are the ways you can wash dress shirts?

You can wash your dress shirts by dry cleaning, hand washing, and machine washing. They can be carried out at home but it is best to allow professionals to dry-clean your clothes.

What to Do Before Washing Dress Shirts

What are the steps to take before washing dress shirts?

1. Check for the care recommendations.

2. Check for stains.

3. Sort them by light and dark colors.

Check For The Care Recommendations

Make sure to check the shirt label for care instructions. Some shirts require dry-cleaning, some machine wash, others hand washing only while some can be cleaned in any way.

Also check for bleaching, drying, and ironing instructions. Doing this is important to avoid ruining the shirt.

If there is no instruction or the label has somehow fallen off, then it is advisable to stay in the safe zone by using mild cleaning materials and processes.

Check for Stains

Whatever method of cleaning you choose, check for stains to ensure that the shirt fabric is colorfast (the colors don’t run).

This should be done especially if you’re washing with other clothes, to prevent the color from running into other clothes and ruining them.

Can You Wash Dress Shirts at Home?

You can wash your dress shirts at home in a washing machine or you can decide to wash them with your hands. The choice of what method to use depends on the instructions on the care label.

We’ll explain this a little further in the next section.

How to Wash Dress Shirts at Home

How do you wash dress shirts at home using the washing machine?

To machine-wash your clothes, use the setting for the type of fabric that you want to wash. Ensure that you use the right detergent. If you have to wash the dress shirt with other clothes, don’t forget to sort the clothes by color. This prevents fabric colors from running into one another. However, if you’re sure that the clothes are colorfast, then go ahead and wash them together.

How do you wash dress shirts by hand?

To wash your dress shirt with your hands, you need a tub, some water, and detergent. Submerge your dress shirt in the soapy water and swish around gently. You can run it gently between your palms and scrub carefully to avoid stressing and distorting the fabric. Be sure to pay attention to tough parts, like collar stays, armpit, and cut-off areas. Once you are done with all that, rinse out the soap with water.

If there are stubborn stains on the shirt, pre-treat them by rubbing some detergent on the spots.

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Alternatively, you can soak them for a while in an oxygen-based bleach — as long as the care label states that it is okay to use bleach on the material.

Hand-washing helps you save on energy costs that you would have incurred from your washing machine.

Drying Dress Shirts

How do you dry your dress shirts?

Once the washing is over, remove the shirt and get most of the water out by flapping the shirt. To do this, hold the shirt at the shoulders and swing swiftly in the air in an up-down motion. This is better than squeezing, which will introduce wrinkles into the cloth. Hang the shirt in the shower or basement to drip-dry or on a clothesline in sunlight if it is a white shirt.

You want to avoid using an iron, so we recommend that you let the shirt air-dry on a plastic or wooden hanger, and not a wire hanger. This is because wire hangers are too thin for the purpose and can distort the shirt fibers, or even leave ugly marks on the shirt.

Is it OK to Put Dress Shirts in a Dryer?

It is not ok to put dress shirts in a dryer when it is wet. If you want to put your dress shirt in a cloth dryer, then let the shirt drip dry till it is just damp. Then dry it using the permanent press option. Permanent press option is a slow spin which will prevent the formation of creases. The heat will also melt any wrinkles that might have formed during the washing process.

By the way, this method is one of the few alternatives to ironing a dress shirt.

Dry Pressing Dress Shirts

How do you dry press your dress shirt?

To dry clean dress shirts, wash them with normal detergent, appropriate for your shirt fabric, in a washing machine to remove stains. Once that is done, most of the water is removed in the spin cycle. The pressing comes next. To get this done, the damp shirt is placed on the shirt press while the door is closed over it for a while. This removes the remaining moisture as well as wrinkles; giving you a clean and nicely pressed dress shirt.

An industrial shirt press is used to simultaneously dry and straighten out the shirt.

Getting a wash and press at a dry-cleaning outfit is a common and cheap way to get your shirts clean, and transform them from drab to fab, all without coming in contact with an iron.

6 Ways to Avoid Ironing Your Clothes

Let’s face it, ironing isn’t so much fun; especially if you have to do it often.

But then again, how can you pull off a neat and tidy appearance without getting your clothes under an iron?

What are the ways you can avoid ironing your clothes?

1. Do not load your laundry machine with too many clothes at a time.

2. Use a cloth steamer or the steam-feature in your dryer.

3. Fold your clothes once they are out of the dryer.

4. Skip folding the clothes and hang them instead.

5. Use a wrinkle release spray.

6. Invest in wrinkle-free clothes.

1. Don’t load your laundry machine with too many clothes at a time.

Well, this is a no-brainer because when you send so many clothes at once through the spin cycle, you can bet your last buck on it that the clothes will come out wrinkly.

2. Use a cloth steamer or the steam-feature in your dryer.

Garment steamers will come to your rescue on days when you need to do a quick touch up on your clothes and need to remove wrinkles.

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Plus the heat takes out funky smells from clothes.

So, invest in one if you can.

However, if your cloth dryer has a steamer feature, then use it.

This feature will help to remove creases from clothes.

3. Fold your clothes once they are out of the dryer.

It is not uncommon to leave a pile of clean clothes in a basket or on a couch especially when laundry made you a bit tired.

But that doesn’t rule out the fact that clothes are more likely to get wrinkled in a pile.

So, if you want to avoid ironing your clothes, fold them as soon as you are done drying them.

Video: How to Fold Your Shirts

Check out this video for tips on how to fold your shirts.

4. Skip folding your clothes and hang them instead.

There are only very few people who don’t like neatly folded clothes.

But you’ll agree that when your wardrobes become messy, folded clothes are likely to get wrinkled in the melee.

So, instead of folding your clothes after drying them, you can hang them in your wardrobe to avoid ironing them.

5. Use a wrinkle release spray

Using a wrinkle release spray is another quick and effective way to avoid ironing your clothes.

Misting with a good spray can transform a badly wrinkled cloth in no time.

Cold Iron Wrinkle Release Spray Unscented 3-Ounce Travel 2-Pack

6. Invest in wrinkle-free clothes

If you don’t ever want to have to deal with wrinkles, then you may be better off buying wrinkle-free clothes, going forward.

However, more often than not, these clothes have care instructions on their labels that must be followed or you may be back to square one — looking for how to remove wrinkles.

Do you also want to ditch ironing your tablecloths? Then check out our post on how to wash tablecloths without ironing.

For more ironing tips, check these articles below:

Quick Recap

Dress shirts can be rocked as formal or casual wear. Knowing how to launder them without ironing is quite easy and this will help you get good long term use out of them.

This can be done with a machine or hand wash. You can also choose to take to the dry cleaner for a wash and press.

Whatever method you use, ensure that the garment care instructions are followed to keep your dress shirt in good condition for long term use.

How to Wash Dress Shirts Without Ironing — Related FAQs

Can I Put Dress Shirts In the Washing Machine?

You can put dress shirts in a washing machine. You should set the cycle of the washing machine according to the thickness of the cloth and the type of dirt on it. 

Before you wash your dress shirts, unbutton them and remove all detachable collars. You can apply stain remover on stain spots before putting them in the washing machine. 

Remember to sort the dress shirts by color. Wash light-colored dress shirts in warm water and cool colored shirts in cold water. Do not mix other fabrics that might run their color into the dress shirts. 

How Do You Wash a Dress Shirt Without Ruining the Collar?

To wash a dress shirt without ruining the collar, do the following:

  1. Always dry your shirts in the shortest possible time in the dryer. The longer your shirt stays in the dryer, the more the collar of the dress shirt is likely to wrinkle.
  2. You can dry clean your dress shirts. Dry cleaning is not done with water. Instead, it is done with chemical solvents. It preserves the collar of the shirts
  3. You can remove the collar if it is a collar stay. Collar stays are rectangular materials designed to be put in collars and are removable.

How Do You Clean A Shirt Without Washing It?

You can clean a shirt without washing it by finding out the type of dirt on it first. If there is a makeup stain on your shirt, place it on a towel and dab the stain out with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.

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If there are sweat stains on your shirt, sprinkle some salt and lemon juice on it. Use a clean white towel to clean the stains out.

Coffee stains can be removed by sprinkling salt and club soda over the spots. Leave overnight for better results. Then wipe with a clean towel.

Does Cotton Shrink Every Time You Wash It?

Every time you wash cotton, it does not shrink. It shrinks only once and its size remains the same until it begins to get old and wear out.

When cotton fabrics wear out, they become loose and can tear with little strain. To prevent this, do not wash your cotton fabric often. Also, wash them with cold water and dry them with cooler temperatures.

To make your cotton fabric last longer, you can pre-wash it. You pre-wash a garment by washing it in warm or hot water and ironing it when it is dry.

Is It Better To Dry Clean Or Launder Shirts?

It is better to launder shirts than to dry-clean them. This is because dry cleaning is done with chemical solvents which can deteriorate fabrics over time. Dry cleaning is ideal for clothing made with natural fibers such as wool or silk and cotton, it causes more damage to the fabrics than water will do over time.

Laundering, on the other hand, is done with water and detergents that are gentler than the chemical solvents. Although laundering is not as effective in removing stains as dry cleaning, it is more effective in removing oils and sweat from garments.

What Cycle Do You Wash Dress Shirts?

To prevent your dress shirts from wearing out quickly, wash them with the delicate cycle of your washing machine. If the dress shirt is made from a heavy fabric, you can use the normal cycle of your washing machine. 

Set the time to the shortest one possible. For efficient cleaning, pre-treat stain spots before putting the dress shirts in the washing machine. This is done by using a stain remover pen or bleach to dissolve the stains on the cloth before washing them.

Can You Wash Blue And White Dress Shirts Together?

You can wash your blue and white dress shirts together when:

  1. The blue dress shirts have been washed for at least 4 times and are not losing color anymore.
  2. Cold water is to be used in washing them.
  3. You set your washing machine to a short and cold washing cycle, using a little detergent.

If these conditions are not met, it is not a good idea to wash your blue and white dress shirts together. If you are not really sure if the blue shirts are no longer losing color, use a product known as ‘Shout Color Catcher’ while washing them. This product absorbs the color present in the washing water so that other fabrics do not absorb it.

Should I Starch My Dress Shirts?

If the dress shirt is white and made of 100% cotton, you can starch them lightly before ironing. But if the dress shirt is made from a mixture of cotton and polyester fibers, is colored and thick, then do not starch. 

Starch leaves stains on colored shirts and leaves a shine on thick shirts. Fabric blends of cotton and polyester do not absorb starch.

Furthermore, if you have sensitive skin, it is best not to starch your dress shirts. Also, if you want your dress shirts to last longer, it is best not to starch them at all.

How Do You Dry Clean Your Own Clothes?

Dry cleaning your clothes do not mean your clothes will not get wet. It means that it does not get wet with water. Rather, chemical solvents such as perchloroethylene are used to wash the clothes.

You should pretreat stains before soaking them in the solvent. The solvent is removed by using a cloth dryer and the cloth is spread so that air will get rid of the solvent as much as possible. 

Check the cloth for traces of the solvent after dry cleaning since some of these solvents can irritate the eyes and the skin if they are still present in garments in noticeable quantities. 

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