Whether you need to look good for the office or want to dress sharp in your Sunday best, a well-ironed shirt can complete your look. Even the dressiest suit won’t look as nice when you wear a wrinkled shirt beneath it. Of course, if you don’t normally break out the ironing board on a daily basis, the thought of ironing your nicest clothes might be a little daunting. However, you can easily iron your shirts in no time by breaking the task down into a few simple steps.
First, you need to gather your tools. You will need an iron and ironing board, a spray bottle of drinking water, a press cloth and starch. Purchase a spray bottle that has never contained other chemicals, since even rinsed out cleaning bottles can still contain old chemical residue. It is also best to use drinking water rather than tap water, since tap water can contain more particulates.
Next, you need to read your shirt’s care tag. Yes, those labels actually have a purpose besides scratching your neck throughout the workday. The label will tell you the fabric composition of your shirt and may also let you know what heat setting to use on the fabric. As long as you know the type of fabric you're working with, you should be fine. Your iron will usually have a listing of fabric type next to each heat setting. In general, delicate fabrics such as silk, wool and rayon require low heat settings and a press cloth to dilute the heat, while hardier fabrics such as cotton and linen will use a higher heat setting.
Your shirt will iron best if you wash and dry it before ironing. If you iron a dirty shirt, you may end up setting stains and dirt into the shirt as you iron, causing nearly permanent damage to the garment. Lightly mist your shirt and press out the wrinkles. The mister feature generally works better than the steam setting and gives you plenty of control as you iron. Start with the collar, cuffs and button front of your shirt as you iron, since these are the first places that other people will notice when they greet you. Remember never to iron directly over a button even if it's covered. The heat of the iron may cause a permanent imprint on the shirt or melt the button.
Finally, simply press out the rest of the shirt, starting with the front and working your way to the back and sleeves. Be aware of folds and creases and move wrinkles close to the seam if you can’t fully get rid of them. If you want to use starch, keep it light so that it doesn’t flake or feel too stiff. All you have to do is add a little starch to your spray bottle and apply it before you iron.