How To Iron A Shirt Properly
How to iron a shirt properly
If you’re getting ready for an important event, like a job interview, a meeting or a formal event, it’s important to make a good impression. You’ll need to look presentable, and that means turning up with a crisp, freshly ironed shirt.
Yes, it means ironing. Sorry about that. Luckily, we know a thing or two about how to get a shirt looking spick and span. Read on to find out how to iron a shirt properly.
Before you start ironing
It might sound like a no-brainer, but there are certain things you’ll need before you start ironing your shirt. To start with, an ironing board – preferably with a cover that fits properly. An ill-fitting ironing board cover means your shirt (and your iron) slipping all over the place, and this doesn’t make for great ironing.
Also, obviously, you’ll need an iron. Open the cap, which is usually found near the handle, and fill it with water. You’ll want it to be about half full.
Important: always read the label. If your shirt says it’s non-iron, then don’t iron it. You may want to take it to a dry cleaner so that they can steam it if that’s the case, but it’s likely that it’s anti-crease so you won’t need to.
What temperature should I iron my shirt at?
Your iron will have a number of temperature settings, which you should pay attention to. Different heat settings determine how hot the iron will get, and this is something that’s different for different fabrics. As a rule, you should start at a low temperature, especially if your shirt is made of a cotton blend, as this is fairly easy to iron.
If the shirt doesn’t seem to be ironing out, feel free to move the heat up to the next setting and/or to give it a little shot of steam. Cotton blends should generally be ironed on a low setting. Whilst shirts that are pure cotton can take higher temperatures. Don’t be afraid of moving the dial right to the top if this is the case.
Silk shirt: Silk is a difficult fabric to iron, and you’ll need to be very careful so that you don’t damage it. Firstly make sure the shirt is damp, and then cover it with a sheet, for example, a pillowcase. Iron the pillowcase, and don’t stay in any area more than a few seconds.
Linen shirt: Linen shirts might not always need ironing as they’re relatively casual, but if they do, they are fine to be ironed on a high setting.
Nylon or polyester shirt: Need to iron your gym kit? Do so on the reverse side, and as always remember to fire off some steam. These fabrics shouldn’t need too much time to get looking neat.
Say goodbye to wrinkled clothing – Getty Images.
How to iron every bit of a shirt, from collar to cuffs
Before you start ironing your shirt, make sure all the buttons are undone. This way, you’ll be able to get inside and into all the corners – armpits, for example.
First, “pop” the collar open to make it as easy as possible to access with your iron. You then want to start by ironing the underside of the collar, working from the outer edge to the middle, and then repeat for the upper-side.
Make sure you get right into those corners! As Good Housekeeping points out, the collar is one of the first parts of your attire that people will see – so you can’t scrimp when preparing it.
The cuffs of your shirt are likely to be stiffer than the rest of it, so don’t be afraid to turn up the heat here if needed. It’s important to make sure your cuffs are laying completely flat on the ironing board before you start so that you don’t accidentally iron creases into them.
The main section of the shirt might seem like it’ll take you the most time, but it’s actually fairly simple so should be relatively fast. Lay the shirt lengthways on the ironing board, with the button close together but still undone, and iron swiftly from the top to the bottom. Again, pay attention to corners as these are the part that will catch you out.
When you’ve ironed the lapel areas, open the shirt and iron the inside, again from the top to the bottom.
Lastly, flip the shirt over and iron the back, again starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom. Bear in mind that you might need to move the shirt around the ironing board a few times in order to get every part looking smooth.
Sleeves can seem like a bit of a pain, but really ironing them is fairly simple. The main thing you need to make sure of is that they’re completely flat and laid out straight on the ironing board. Pay particular attention to making sure that they are flat on the underside because otherwise, you’ll be ironing creases into them. And this is something you definitely don’t want!
When you’ve made sure the sleeves are positioned correctly, start from the top of the arm (near the shoulder) and sweep your iron downwards all the way to the cuff. Remember that you might need to go over the sleeve a few times to make sure it’s perfect. You might also need to flip the shirt over to iron in the same way on the other side.
Obviously, getting around buttons can be tricky. You have two options here: either turn the shirt over and iron it from the reverse side, so that your iron avoids touching the buttons completely. Or use the sharp, front end of the iron to carefully iron around them. The second option is a bit fiddly – but we’d recommend it for the cleanest possible finish.
And finally… don’t forget your pocket!
If there’s a pocket on your shirt, don’t neglect it! Stretch the corners taught with your fingers (careful you don’t burn yourself) and again, make sure you get right into the corners with the pointy end of the iron.
How to iron a dress shirt
If you’re ironing a dress shirt that has been made-to-measure or tailored for you, you’re likely to be being extra careful about how you handle it. In reality, though, exactly the same rules apply. If you’re unsure, consult the tailor you bought it from for confirmation on how you should go about ironing it.
How to iron a short-sleeve shirt
There isn’t much difference in ironing a short-sleeve shirt. One thing to consider is that a short-sleeve shirt might be made of a lighter fabric, as it’s likely to be designed for summer. This might mean that your iron needs to be at a lower heat, or that you need to pull out the pillowcase and iron over it as you would with a silk shirt.
Also, remember your pockets – they’re more likely to be present on a short-sleeve shirt than a long-sleeved one.
Ironing a shirt without an ironing board
Don't you have an ironing board? All is not lost, we promise. All you need is a flat surface that’s resistant to heat (so wood or metal ideally, and definitely not plastic) and to make sure you’ve got that trusty pillowcase on hand again.
Lay out your shirt on the heat-resistant surface, place your pillowcase or sheet over the top of it, et voilà – you’re ready to get ironing.
How to iron a shirt quickly
The best way to make sure you can iron your shirt quickly is to make a series of sensible choices during the washing process. Firstly, don’t overload your washing machine, and don’t let the washing sit in a pile for a long time after it’s been cleaned. Make sure you straighten the creases out of wet clothes quickly, preferably by hanging them up, upside down, outside.
Following these steps earlier in the process will make ironing your shirt much quicker – we promise!