Guide to Starching a Dress Shirt

How to Starch a Dress Shirt

dress-shirt-ironingWeather you use a dry-cleaner or decide to wash and iron your own dress shirts knowing how to properly use starch will do two things: 1. it will add a crisp and elegant touch to the shirt, and 2. if done right and in moderation, it will help protect the fabric.

What is Laundry Starch?
Laundry starch is the same as the type of starch found in pasta, potatoes, and grains. Simply put, it is a complex carbohydrate found in nature. Using starch to stiffen fabrics has been known for centuries. Although it is a process that has been used for a few hundred years not much has changed over time. Almost 90% of all commercial laundry starch used today is made from corn. Corn is dried and then ground into a fine flour-like powder. After impurities are removed this powder is then mixed with water and some fragrances before it is filled into aerosol cans.

Why we Use Starch for Dress Shirts
Using starch will add a stiffer feel and crisper look to a dress shirt. In addition it will make ironing easier. Another benefit of using starch, one most people don’t know about, is that starch can protect the fabric from stains. The starch seals the textile making it much more difficult for stains to soak into the fibers.

Guide to Using Starch
Starch is most commonly used on the classic white dress shirt. When using starch on other colors make sure to spray it on evenly to avoid visible white-grayish stains. Most difficult are solid black shirts. If you want to use starch on a black dress shirt then further dilute the starch with some distilled water before spraying it onto the fabric. Starch is best used for natural cotton and linen. Synthetic fibers will not take on the starch as well leaving stains. Silk should also not be starched as it will cause the delicate fiber to permanently harden.

Problems of Using Starch
if used on a regular basis starch will reduce the lifetime of your dress shirt. The biggest problem of using too much starch on a regular basis is fraying. The fabric will dry out and eventually break. Another challenge of adding too much starch is the discomfort of the harder fabric on neck and wrist.

Other Suggested Articles:
Guide to Dress Shirt Collar Styles
Silk Tie Cleaning Tips

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