Introduction: How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Knowing how to iron a shirt is an essential skill everyman should have in his arsenal. Presenting yourself well starts with a clean and crisp shirt. It is time to be self-sufficient, and not have your significant other or mother handle your business. Once mastered, ironing becomes an easy task, and you are able to take pride in your work rather than tipping your local dry cleaners. The following information is a step by step guide to ironing a shirt, and the first step to dressing for success.

Step 1: Materials

A well ironed shirt starts with the correct materials. Therefore, you will need the following: an iron, ironing board, starch, and water (preferably bottled water).

1.) Iron: A steam iron. A good quality iron prevents damages to your clothes, and allows you to iron delicate material.

2.) Ironing board: A slightly wider ironing board is best, because it allows you to iron a larger surface area.

3.) Starch: Any brand will suffice. The purpose for starch is to make sure your ironed shirt remains crisp and fresh for a longer period of time.

4.) Water: What type of water you should use depends on the model of your iron. Bottled or distilled water is preferable because it prevents calc build-up within your iron. Calc built-up eventually clogs the pores of the iron.

Step 2: Preparation

We need to make sure all of the materials are correctly prepared before we start ironing. This allows us to iron more efficiently, prevent damage to clothes, and produce the best result. First, unfold the ironing board, and place on a stable surface. Next, fill the iron's water tank with either tap or distilled water, depending on the iron, to the maximum water level of the iron. Then finally, plug the electrical cord of the iron into an electrical socket, and let the iron stand upright. Turn the dial of the iron to the highest level, make sure the steam is turned on. Wait at least 1 minute for the iron to heat up.

Step 3: Safety

To prevent damage to yourself, clothes, or the area around you while ironing make sure to follow the following safety tips. Never leave the iron unattended while the iron is turned on. Do not leave the iron flat on its metal plate unattended. When taking a break, pause, or leaving the iron unattened place the iron on its butt; making sure the metal plate is not touching any surface. Always use the Iron grip when handling the iron.

Step 4: Prepare Shirt

Now it is time to prepare the shirt. Unbutton the shirt completely, which includes the cuffs and collar. Unbuttoning the shirt completely allows for easier access and manoeuvring while ironing. Next, spray the shirt with water from the water spray nozzle on the iron to dampen the shirt.

Step 5: Cuff & Sleeves

First start with the cuff of the shirt. Iron the inside of the cuff with the heel of the iron. Then align the sleeves, so the fabric is flat and has no creases. Lightly spray the starch and water onto the sleeve, and iron immediately. Repeat the following steps for the opposite sleeve.

Step 6: The Yoke

The yoke of the shirt is the shoulders and upper back of the shirt. Align the corner shoulder of the shirt with the triangular corner of the ironing board, spray with water and iron. Use starch if desired. Repeat process for opposite shoulder.

Step 7: Collar

The collar is considered the trickiest part when ironing a shirt. First lay the collar flat on the ironing board. Then steam the collar, and spray it with starch. Using the heel of the iron, iron from one side of the collar to the other. Lastly, fold the collar and press the iron along the centre back of the collar.

Step 8: Collar Trick

Now that the collar is done, button the top button. This allows us to iron all around the shirt faster.

Step 9: Front of Shirt

Align the front of the shirt along the ironing board. Note, it is important to iron the inside of the shirt because it helps prevent damaging the shirt. Spray the shirt with water and starch. Iron the front of the shirt in a back and forth motion, making sure there are no creases. Pull the shirt taught from the seems when ironing. Turn the shirt over and iron the front pocket. Do not iron over the buttons, always iron around the buttons. Repeat this process for the opposite shirt front.

Step 10: Back of Shirt

Align the back of the shirt along the ironing board. Again, always iron the inside of a shirt to prevent damage to the fabric. Spray shirt with water and starch. Now iron the back of the shirt in a back and forth motion. Remember, pull the shirt taught from the seems when ironing. Make sure to iron out all of the creases.

Step 11: Inspection

Any quality skill requires inspection. Now that the job is finished inspect your work to make sure there are no wrinkles or unnecessary creases.

Step 12: Let Shirt to Rest

For the best results, let your shirt hang (preferably on a hanger) for five to fifteen minutes after ironing. This allows for the fabric to cool down, and the starch to settle within the fabric. Therefore, allowing your shirt to look clean and crisp for a longer period of time.

Step 13: Finished

You are now ready to go and conquer the world with a clean and crisp shirt. Remember, ironing is an important life skill. Everyone should be self-sufficient when it comes to dressing themselves. The first step to dressing for success is complete. Now it is time to go get a suit and tie.