Ironing clothes is a daily task that doesn’t take much thought. Usually, it’s early in the morning, you’re immersed within your morning routine, and it’s easy not to think twice about taking out that old ironing board and taming those pesky wrinkles. However, in the process of going about the hustle and bustle of daily life, you might be surprised to learn that there is an actual strategy for perfectly ironing a dress shirt in a way that is super simple and not time consuming. Here is a step-by-step guide to make sure you are wrinkle free and ready for your day.  

First, it is important to lightly moisten your shirt. Spraying a small spray bottle of water mixed with a small amount of cornstarch from about two feet away will make the fabric easier to flatten, and when dried by the iron, the fabric will stay in its new state. And, although we might not always follow the directions on the label, it is important to know what fabric your dress shirt is made of. It really does matter what material you’re working with, because applying heat or even steam can ruin certain fabrics. Knowing this information will direct you on how much or how little heat you can apply. If your shirt is mostly made of cotton you’re in the clear to apply higher heat and more pressure. Be gentle with polyester fabrics.

While it’s tempting to start your ironing with the back of the shirt, as it is usually what takes up most space on the board, it is actually the collar that you should start with. Collars are often forgotten in the ironing process, and if not ironed, can look slouched and crumpled around the neck. For a more professional look, ironing your collar will make the crease sturdier, and the collar itself stand straighter. To iron the collar, you will unfold it and iron both the outside and the inside evenly. Another important and often forgotten part are the cuffs which many times are ironed while buttoned, which doesn’t do much for them. First, unbutton each cuff and repeat the steps of ironing the collar, by starting on the inside, and then ironing the outside. Similar to the collar, the cuffs will be stiffer, and easier to button, and most importantly they will keep their shape once buttoned.

Next you will iron the front of the shirt. This part is usually the most rewarding, as this is where many of the most difficult and visible wrinkles reside. Starting with the more difficult side, the one with the buttons, you will lay this section of the shirt on the ironing board so that every part is resting on it, with the shoulder and sleeve folded off the table, and away from the shirt. Work your way starting from right below the collar, to the shoulder, and between each button with the pointed part of the iron. Try to get as close as possible to the fabric between the buttons without actually going over the buttons, as this can damage them.

Once you’ve work your way to the end of the shirt, make sure you iron the end from the back seam to the buttons, so the kinks in the bottom seam of the shirt are smooth. Repeat the same steps for the other side, however because there are no buttons, make sure to smooth down the outside and inside of the seam where the buttons meet. Doing so will keep that area of the shirt crisp and buttons will stay in their respective places.

Now the back of the shirt can be ironed, but try only putting half on the ironing board. Putting the entire back of the shirt on the board leaves the outer areas where wrinkles can reside such as shoulders and sides to be overlooked. By sectioning by half, that problem is solved. Once both sides are finished, make sure there is no middle crease.

Last, sleeves should be laid flat across the length of the ironing board, and ironed from shoulder down to the cuff. To avoid unwanted creasing, roll a small towel within the sleeve and iron over, or even rolled socks to achieve a completely straight sleeve.

After all is said and done, hang your shirt on a hanger and button, or if you’re in a hurry, put it on and get on with your day!