Ironing a shirt, like quickly chilling beer and jump-starting a car, is one of those skills that you’ve just got to know how to do.
Most of us aren’t still living in the Mad Men days of wearing a starched white dress shirt every day, and if you are, there’s a good chance you’ve got a good dry-cleaner who takes care of the pressing for you. Even if you're a wrinkled shirt and jeans guy like us, though, there are times when you’ve got to suit up with a well-ironed option. Don't have an ironing board? No worries -- neither did we. You can do this on any flat, heat-resistant surface, just put a towel underneath your shirt to absorb the heat and keep from scorching your dinner table.
First, here are the easy-to-remember tips you should know before you get started:
- Cotton can take a beating, heat-wise. Set your iron to the highest setting, unless your shirt is made out of polyester (hint: it shouldn’t be).
- Use plenty of steam and water, but don’t leave unused water in the iron when you put it away. It’ll rust the surface, which will stain your shirts.
- Don’t iron a dirty shirt. It’ll set any stains in, and you won’t be able to get it clean.
- Use spray starch if you want your shirts extra crisp, but don’t overdo it or else it’ll flake onto your other clothes.
- Hang your shirt up right away once it’s done, and button the top button so that it keeps its shape.
- Iron the collar going towards the center from either corner to keep the edges from puckering.
And now, the steps. We’re going to start with one half of the front, then work our way around.
Lay one half of the front flat and iron that section.
Carefully shift the shirt over if you're using an ironing board, or fold the front underneath if you're on a table, making sure you don't wrinkle anything you've already done. Then iron one half of the back.
Now the other half of the back.
Move up to the yoke, which is the panel above the back but below the collar.
Keep going to the second half of the front. Make sure to get in between the buttons.
Now spread the collar onto your surface and iron it inwards from either end.
Lay your sleeves out flat with the seam all the way at the edge and iron them flat up to the cuffs.
To keep the cuffs round and crease-free, unfurl them and iron flat.
And that's all there is to it. Now you're ready to impress a date, ace an interview, or tackle whatever else you've got planned.