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7 Dress Shirt Care Tips to Make Them Last Longer

It can be easy to overlook the small details that keep dress shirts looking their best. We all have one or two favorites – the ones that held their shape and aged well – but the truth is, most dress shirts are treated as disposable, even if the income we spend to replace them isn’t. Properly caring for dress shirts can be a bit tricky, sure, but with the right approach you can ensure all of your dress shirts (not just your favorites) hold their shape and last for years. Here are 7 essential care tips on how to make your dress shirts last longer:

  1. Regularly Clean the Insides of Dress Shirt Collars - This area is particularly prone to staining. Sweat, colognes, and lotions all contribute to the buildup of grime, so to keep collars looking their best, be sure to pre-treat them before washing. That goes double for those harboring stains.
  2. Get the Right Dress Shirt Washing Routine – First off, get a mesh laundry bag. They’re great for dress shirts, slacks, delicates and whatever else you might want to wash separately. For dress shirts, unbutton and place them in the bag with like colors. Add your fabric softener. Once the cycle is finished, hang the dress shirt and give the collar, cuffs, and front placket a few gentle tugs.

Pro-tip: Invest in wooden hangars. They’re generally built thicker to help your dress shirt hold its shape better.

  1. Wash Dark Dress Shirts Inside Out - This will prevent fading and keep your dress shirts looking new for longer.
  2. Avoid Using Dryers on High Quality Dress Shirts - The heat can cause shrinkage and do damage to the fabric. If it’s dry clean only, then dry clean only. But for most other cases, it's perfectly fine to air-dry dress shirts. When in doubt, place the shirt in question on a wooden hanger and let it dry naturally.
  3. Pre-Wash and Rewash Stains – Heating stains only causes them to set in further. If you have stains on your dress shirts, pre-wash and rewash them. Make sure all stains are gone before you start any drying process, ironing included.
  4. Ironing Out Your Dress Shirts - Ironing is an important step in keeping dress shirts looking their best. Do it in this order:
  • Unbutton the shirt and lay it flat with the tag facing down.
  • Open the collar and lay it flat. Iron – in a straight line – both sides, starting with up-facing side.
  • Unbutton and lay out cuffs.
  • Iron the inside, then the outside.
  • Move on to the front of the dress shirt.
  • Iron the back of the dress shirt.
  • Iron the sleeves.

Be sure to check the dress shirt’s care instruction tag and use the iron’s appropriate heat setting for the fabric.

  1. Pack Seasonal Dress Shirts Well - Fold them neatly, but avoid stacking them. Consider using thin, acid-free tissue paper to separate the layers of shirts in the case of prolonged storage. Finally, store your perfectly prepped dress shirts in a cool, dry, environment. This will prevent discoloration and damage.

Pro-tip: If you’re using a vacuum seal bag, pop a couple of dryer sheets in with the dress shirts. They’ll come out smelling as fresh as the day you put them in.

By following these 7 simple tips, you’ll see more favorites, and less churn and burn in your wardrobe. Simply put: take care of your dress shirts and they will take care of you for years to come.

At Original Stitch we offer a fully customizable collection of premium quality dress shirt, suit blazer, and pant fabrics. Use them to create a wardrobe that is completely unique to YOU. Our high-quality yarns are hand-selected from – and tailored in – Japan to be extra resistant to wear and tear while maintaining a softer feel than their off-the-rack counterparts.