How to Perfectly Iron a Shirt Every Time
Ironing a shirt is a more intricate process than you might think. Involving more technique than simply swiping a hot iron across a garment, ironing a shirt, like many laundry-related duties, can be tricky. Even so, you don't have to be afraid of pressing your favorite shirts at home. With the help of our tried-and-true ironing techniques and tips from Luxi Jin, the CEO of the contemporary women's clothing brand Lucy Paris, you can learn how to iron a shirt to successfully in the comfort of your own home–no dry cleaner needed.
Our cardinal rule for ironing perfection is to start with a well-laundered and damp shirt, as it will make pressing out any stubborn wrinkles much easier. Another key step is spreading a terry cloth towel over your ironing board as the extra padding helps to avoid pesky creasing. Jin says to iron almost all fabrics from the inside out, but if you absolutely have to iron from the outside, cover the buttons with the towel to prevent damage.
Starting with the sleeves, work from the cuffs to the armhole seam and make quick strokes with your iron, applying steady pressure as you go. Remember that it's important to work quickly so as not to burn the fabric. Repeat with the other cuff and sleeve. If the shirt has a yoke (a panel of fabric across the upper back), push the iron horizontally, moving parallel to the stitching. The rest of the back can be ironed in a vertical direction from the yoke to the bottom of the shirt. Then, iron the inside of the front tab of the shirt. Don't forget to iron the pocket from the inside, too. Repeat everything on the other side.
The last step is to iron the collar. Start on the underside, foregoing starch and dampening the fabric with a bit of laundry sizing, which helps achieve a perfect press without the stiffness. Next, turn the collar over and iron across the other side. Finally, fold the collar neatly down and iron across the stitching. If at any point you have trouble with a wrinkle, spray the area with a burst of moisture from the steam function or your spritzing bottle. Don't be afraid of a little wetness, water is your best friend in the journey to producing the perfectly laundered garment. Once you are done, place the shirt on a hanger, buttoning only the top button to keep it in place.
How to Maintain Your Iron
Jin recommends cleaning your iron every few months to prevent it from transferring any rust or minerals onto your clothing. To create your own iron cleaning solution, mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a tablespoon of water, and apply the mixture to the iron. Then, wipe the iron off with a damp cloth and clean the vents with a wet cotton swab. If that doesn't do the trick, fill the steam reservoir with distilled water, release a large amount of steam, and pass the iron across a dry towel. This will help to dissolve and pull out any clogs in the vents.