our everyday life

How to Starch Dress Shirts for a Professional Look

by Chance Henson, studioD

You are starting a new office job -- perhaps your first office job -- and making a good first impression is a top priority. Many men forget that a leather briefcase, new suit and fresh haircut can be tragically wasted if you stroll into the office sporting a wrinkled shirt. Looking like a professional takes more than new clothes and accessories -- it takes starch. Put your best sleeve forward by using iron-on starch to give your shirt a crisp, professional look that your new boss won't soon forget.

Read the garment care tag, which is attached to the collar or a seam inside your shirt. Determine the fiber content of the shirt, such as cotton or silk, so that you know the appropriate temperature on which to iron it.

Plug an iron into an electric outlet and adjust the temperature setting to correspond with the fiber content of your shirt. Set the ironing board into the upright position and ensure that the surface is clean and dry before you begin the starching process.

Lay one sleeve of your dress shirt evenly along the length of the ironing board and smooth out bumps and wrinkles with your hand. Spray the sleeve cuff lightly with the starch and wait for the fabric to absorb the starch to prevent flaking. Softly rub the starch into the material if the shirt is made of a synthetic fabric such as nylon.

Press the heated iron against the starched cuff until the fabric is smooth and wrinkle free. Lightly spray the front of the shirt sleeves with starch and iron them with smooth, even motions to remove wrinkles. Flip the shirt over and repeat the process on the back of the cuffs and sleeves.

Stretch the shirt's collar so that it lies flat on the ironing board and spray it with a coat of starch. Wait for the fabric to absorb the starch and then press the hot iron along the full length of the collar until it is smooth and wrinkle free. Flip the shirt over and repeat the process on the other side of the collar.

Lay the shirt lengthwise on the ironing board so that the front right panel is flat and there is no shirt material under it. Spray the panel with starch. Wait for the fabric to absorb the starch.

Press the hot iron against the material and use smooth, even motions to firmly press out all wrinkles or creases. Repeat this process for the left panel, side seams, back panel and yoke.

Items you will need
  •  Iron
  •  Ironing board
  •  Spray starch


  • Turn the steam setting off on your iron when using starch. The spray provides adequate moisture for the process.


  • Never leave an iron unattended.
  • Exercise caution when using an iron; touching its hot surface can result in severe burns.

About the Author

Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images