How To Skip The Dry Cleaner And Wash Your Dress Shirts At Home
It’s easier than you think (+ the environment)
Machine washing dress shirts Is A-OK…especially when they are made by a quality shirtmaker, like, say Eton of Sweden, one of our favourites here at Harry HQ.
Here's a thing you may not be aware of: When dress shirts go to the dry cleaner, they're generally not dry cleaned. Say what? It’s true. Dry cleaning is a very specific operation that involves the use of solvents, rather than water-based cleaners, in machines that look and function similarly to washing machines. But dry cleaning is not the only service that dry cleaners offer and, especially in the case of dress shirts, the cleaner will more often than not perform what's called a "wash and press" service.
"Wash and Press" sounds exactly like what it is — your shirt will be laundered in a machine with water and detergent, the way you do at home, and then it will be pressed straight out of the washing machine, while it's still damp. The service you're paying for, essentially, is the pressing, which takes a toll on your shirts, as well as the convenience of having someone else handle the laundering for you.
"Invest in a quality shirt, like the aforementioned Eton and you’ll reap the rewards of not having to iron."
While it's perfectly fine to continue to send your dress shirts out, you can certainly replicate the process at home to save money or just for the convenience factor of not having to make all those trips to the cleaner.
If you do decide to take shirtcare into your own hands, here are your washing instructions:
1. Pretreat any stains prior to laundering, including ring around the collar and cuffs.
2. Wash shirts using cold water.
3. When you remove the shirts from the washing machine, grab them by the shoulders, and give them a good snapping shake to uncrumple them.
4. Transfer the shirts to a hanger (I place mine on the shower rod to dry) and give them a good tug at the sleeves and button placket to ease any wrinkles.
5. Give them a light pressing.
Eton shirts are specially crafted using a centuries old process that encourages the wrinkles to release with your natural body heat as you wear it. Most lesser non-wrinkle shirtmakers use harsh chemicals like formaldehyde to be wrinkle-resistant. But do you really want to be wearing that next to your skin? We didn’t think so.