But it is time to man up, & master these skills. Ironing is a necessary life skill in order to maintain your classy, gentleman status.
What do wrinkles say about you? A wrinkled shirt is a sign of defeat. Wrinkles draw the eye in like nothing else, so it significantly defeats the purpose of wearing an expensive designer shirt, because the only thing people will notice is the wrinkles, just before they move on to judge your sloppy demeanour.
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you covered. Here is your guide to ironing your dress shirt in 5 minutes.
First, here is a quick run through of what you’ll need equipment wise…
- – Iron
Quality here is pretty important in order to ease the ironing process & reduce the risk of damaging your shirt. Obviously, an iron that reaches higher temperatures increase efficiency. However, the lower priced/watt models can have an equal impact, it will just take longer. It would be wise to avoid irons under $20 because the poor quality soleplate could damage the fabric.
- – Ironing Board
This is a pretty basic part of the equation. You just need to make sure the board is sturdy, smooth, and unstained (stains could transfer onto your shirt from the board)
*Trick: put aluminum foil on the ironing board, it reflects the iron’s heat back on itself, allowing you to iron both sides at once.
- – Spray Bottle
This is another item you’ll need. It is very important that you use moisture on your shirt, because it protects the shirt, and largely contributes to defeating those wrinkles. Spray water evenly all over the shirt so it is damp (not soaking wet).
Now that we’ve covered the basic supplies, let’s break it down…
First thing’s first. Read the label.—this is where you’ll find the fabric details and the necessary heat settings to prevent damage. (most are cotton or cotton blends, which can withstand pretty high temperatures)
*if there is no label information: start with a low setting (2-3), and continue to increase the setting until the wrinkles begin to disappear.
Fill the iron with water, plug it in, and wait for about 5 mins for it to heat up.
Spray your shirt evenly with water using your spray bottle. You want it to be lightly damp, NOT wet. This is an efficient way to moisten the shirt and not have to steam from the iron, because to produce steam it has to be on a high setting not appropriate for all fabric types.
Make sure to use a clean spray bottle and fill it with drinking water. A lot of irons can only produce steam at the highest heat setting, but if the fabric need a lower setting, the spray bottle is key. If the fabric’s label says it can withstand high temperatures, you can skip this step and just use the iron’s steam. (30 seconds)
Step 1: Collar
Iron the collar first, the collar is the most visible part of the shirt and it frames your face making it a critical part. Also, it is a sturdy part of the shirt and less likely to be wrinkled as you iron the rest of the shirt. Pop the collar & iron the underside first (this prevents puckering). Slowly press iron from one side to another using the tip of the iron, flip and repeat on the outside. Press any wrinkles to the bottom, where they will be less visible.
*Tight for time? Iron the collar, cuffs, and area right below the collar. Done. Throw on a jacket and skip the rest.
Step 2: Cuffs
These are also very visible, especially when you are wearing a jacket. Start with unbuttoning the shirt and laying it flat on the board. Iron the inside first with the tip of the iron, then the outside (this prevents puckering). Repeat on the other cuff. Carefully iron around the buttons (never iron over the buttons! It could melt them or leave a mark on the shirt)
Step 3: Front of Shirt
Start with the button side, lay it flat on the board, & carefully iron between the buttons using the tip of the iron. Then begin at the shoulder and work down from here using back and forth strokes, never circular, this will stretch the fabric. Repeat this on the other side of the shirt.
Step 4: Sleeves
This is the hard part!
Unless you have a sleeve board (which you probably don’t), you will need to lay the sleeve as flat & smooth as possible onto the board, and iron through both layers of fabric. Take the sleeve by the side seam, and lay it onto the board, this will create a clean crease on the side of the sleeve. Iron, starting at the top working your way down. Turn the sleeve over, making sure the crease is lined up the same, and repeat.
* If you don’t want the side crease, but you don’t have a sleeve board, you can improvise! Roll up a towel and put it in the sleeve, then you can iron around it, crease free!
Step 5: Back of Shirt
Lay the shirt flat on the board. Position one of the sleeve heads into the square edge of the board. Start at the top with the yoke, and slowly work your way down. You will need to iron the back of the shirt in sections (unless you are an XXS or have an XL ironing board). Do this by rotating the shirt slightly, once you have finished each section.
(Images courtesy of Google & D’Marge)
Step 6: Skim over & Hang
Give your shirt a good inspection. If you see any wrinkles, smooth them out with the iron. Once it looks completely wrinkle free, button it on a hanger and walk away.
Step 7: Pat yourself on the back and grab a drink.
Some critical points to remember…
- – do not iron a dirty shirt, the heat will set the stains
- – do not iron over buttons
- – when in doubt, iron with a lower setting
- – high pressure for a short time period is better for the shirt
- – keep the iron in constant motion, never leave it on one spot for more than a couple seconds
- – silk is tricky, and unless you are a confident ironer (aka, not reading this article), I would recommend having a pro do it.
Now, you are ready to go! The key is practice. The first time could be a minor struggle, but soon you’ll be a pro and can drop that 5 minutes down to 3! Make Mom proud.