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How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Few things in life are as satisfying as slipping on a crisply ironed shirt—except maybe getting the shirt that way in the first place.


  • Step 1: Start w/ clean, damp shirt Start with a clean, damp shirt. Either remove the shirt from the dryer before it's fully dry or wet it with a spray bottle of water before ironing.
  • TIP: Most irons now have a water reserve for a steam and spray function--use it to keep your shirt damp while you iron it.
  • Step 2: Put iron on appropriate setting Put your iron on the appropriate heat setting: high for 100% cotton, and medium for cotton blends.
  • Step 3: Lay shirt face down While the iron heats up, lay the unbuttoned shirt on the ironing board "face down" with the collar spread out.
  • TIP: If you want to starch your shirt, spray it and roll it up while the iron heats so the starch has time to soak in.
  • Step 4: Iron back of collar Iron the back of the collar with the nose of the iron, smoothing the fabric with one hand to avoid creases.
  • Step 5: Iron cuff, placket, & sleeve Unbutton and open a cuff; then iron the inside of the cuff, placket, and sleeve.
  • TIP: Put a towel under the sleeve to cushion the face-down buttons.
  • Step 6: Iron back of sleeve Place the same sleeve parallel to the ironing board, with the back of the sleeve face-up, and iron it.
  • Step 7: Iron front of sleeve Then flip the sleeve and iron its front.
  • Step 8: Iron outside of cuff Finish the sleeve by ironing the outside of the cuff.
  • Step 9: Iron other side Now iron the other sleeve, again beginning with the inside of the cuff, then the outside of the sleeve, and then the outside of the cuff.
  • Step 10: Iron inside of shoulders & back Iron the inside of the shoulders and the inside of the entire back of the shirt.
  • Step 11: Iron outside of shoulders & back Flip the shirt over and iron the outside of the shoulders and the back of the shirt.
  • Step 12: Iron front panel Drape the shirt so that one front half lays flat on the board and the rest hangs below. Iron this front panel.
  • TIP: Don't iron over the buttons -- use the nose to work around them.
  • Step 13: Iron other front panel Move the shirt to iron the other front panel.
  • Step 14: Iron outside collar Finish the shirt by returning to the collar -- iron the outside of it.
  • Step 15: Button top button & hang shirt Immediately after you're done, button the top button and hang up the shirt.
  • Step 16: Unplug iron Turn the iron off and unplug it.
  • FACT: Before the electric iron came along, miniature flat irons were used to iron collars and between buttons.

You Will Need

  • A dress shirt in need of ironing
  • An ironing board
  • An iron
  • A spray bottle of water
  • Spray starch
  • A towel

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