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What Is the Correct Way to Iron a Man's Long-Sleeve Dress Shirt?

By A. Scott Walton ; Updated July 18, 2017

For many men, slipping on a freshly pressed dress shirt starts the day off right. A well-pressed shirt is key to a professional appearance, and can add to overall confidence. Sometimes, though, your clean but wrinkled shirt needs to be ironed with quick efficiency. Simple steps prepare you to iron dress shirts correctly with a minimum of stress and exertion.

What You Need

Iron your dress shirts on a flat work surface. A sturdy standard ironing board works best. In a pinch, a desktop, table or mattress serves the purpose when covered with a clean, thick cloth. Use an electric iron with a clean faceplate and reliable heat and steam regulation. Low-budget irons produce low-budget results. Different shirts may require varying heat and steam levels to remove wrinkles. Pump or aerosol spray starches add crispness to shirts, and dedicated spray bottles containing clean water assist in eliminating stubborn wrinkles.

First Steps

For best results, prepare a deeply wrinkled shirt with a spray mist. Use the lowest heat setting necessary to remove wrinkles, but set the iron on high to induce steam. If time permits, iron the shirt inside-out first, then re-iron it from the outside in. Start by ironing the shirt collar while it is laid out flat. The collar frames the face, making it important. Next, iron the shirt cuffs -- these are likely to be noticed when poking out of jacket sleeves. Unbutton the cuffs and iron them flat.

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Final Steps

Next, iron the front body of the shirt one side at a time. As with the cuffs, take care to iron around buttons rather than over them because they might warp or break. Use smooth and steady passes, never allowing the iron to rest in one spot too long. Iron the top portions of the shirt with more care because they're more likely to be noticed than the shirttails. Finally, iron the sleeves, working from the shoulder seams downward to the cuff and working with the grain of any pleats built into the sleeves. If time permits and a jacket won't be worn, iron the back of the shirt by laying it flat and open over your work surface.

Tricks of the Task

To save time and money, iron clean dress shirts in bulk while watching television or listening to music. Prepping to iron 10 shirts takes the same time as prepping to iron just one. Use an iron that shuts off automatically in case you get distracted from the task. Ironing shirts that are soiled increases the risk that stains and odors will set in. Keep the ironing surface and the iron's water reservoir clean and free of residue.

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