Dress shirts and blouses require extra care to keep looking crisp and new. Follow these techniques to properly wash button ups at home and at the laundromat.

Why Button Ups Need Special Handling

The construction of button up shirts makes them high maintenance:

  • Delicate fabrics like silk, rayon, and linen wrinkle easily
  • Details snag like front plackets, rounded hem bottoms, and decorative stitching
  • The heavy use of collar, cuffs, and sleeve hems leads to build up
  • Sheer fabrics show sweat, oils, and antiperspant stains readily
  • Tightly woven fabrics resist absorbing moisture leading to long dry times
  • Stiffness and sizing from new shirts requires gentle washing

Handle with care to make dressy shirts look polished start to finish.

Washing Button Ups at Home

Follow these steps to launder nice shirts at home:

Preparing Shirts

  • Pretreat any stains and heavily soiled areas
  • Unbutton collars and cuffs to access dirt in creases
  • Button front placket to prevent tangling and twisting

Washing Process

  • Sort by color and fabric delicacy – lights together, silks separate
  • Use a mesh garment bag for each shirt to prevent stretching and damage
  • Wash on delicate or permanent press cycle in cool or warm water
  • Mild liquid detergent – powders can leave residue behind
  • Extra rinse cycle – prevents detergent buildup on fabric

Drying Tips

  • Line dry is ideal to prevent heat damage
  • Iron while still damp if machine drying, use lowest heat setting

Home washing requires extra steps but saves on dry cleaning costs.

Hand Washing Fancy Shirts

For delicate dress shirts, hand wash with care:

  • Fill sink with cool water and mild detergent
  • Submerge shirt in a mesh bag, gently swish
  • Soak for 15 minutes only
  • Drain dirty water, refill to rinse thoroughly
  • Roll shirt in towel to absorb moisture
  • Lay flat on a sweater rack or towel to air dry
  • Once nearly dry, iron flat

The manual process allows customized delicate care.

How to Dry Clean Button Ups

For frequent crisp cleaning, opt for dry cleaning:

  • Point out any stains needing special attention
  • Ask for light starching for very crisp finishes
  • Remove accessories first like collar stays
  • Request press cloth to avoid shiny collars and elbows
  • Air out after cleaning to eliminate chemical smells

Pros do the pressing so every wash feels like new.

Storing Button Up Shirts

Maintain crispness between washes:

  • Dry thoroughly before hanging to avoid closet humidity wrinkling
  • Straighten seams and hems before hanging while still slightly damp
  • Use padded hangers to avoid divots from wires
  • Alternate light and heavy hangers based on season
  • Allow space between shirts for air circulation
  • Put silks, rayons in garment bags before storing

Proper handling makes the next wear feel freshly ironed.

Common Laundering Questions

What temperature should you wash dress shirts?

Whites and light colors in hot water. Darks and brights in cool or warm water. Hot water can fade dyes over time.

Can you put nice blouses in the dryer?

Occasionally on very low heat, but air drying is safest for delicates. Check for wrinkles and immediately steam or iron after machine drying.

How do you keep collar tips straight in the wash?

Button the top button so the collar ends stay aligned. Or use collar stays on the ends while washing and drying.

How do you get dingy shirt collars white again?

Scrub with laundry pre-treat paste before washing. Soak in oxyclean and hot water. Dry in direct sunlight. May need professional shirt cleaning for severe yellowing.

Can you iron dress shirts while damp?

It’s best to iron button downs completely dry. Wet fabric takes longer to press correctly and can shrink if heat dried while damp.

How often should you wash button up shirts?

1-2 light wears for white and light colors. 2-3 wears for darker colors and casual shirts. Less if dealing with heavy sweat or grime.

Look sharp while minimizing laundry work. Why slave over the washboard on your day off? Entrust your finest dress shirts and blouses to the laundry.

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