our everyday life

How to Wash a Tuxedo Shirt

by S.R. Becker, studioD

Just because your tuxedo is expensive doesn't mean you have to dry clean your tuxedo shirt. Most modern tuxedo shirts are made of a blend of cotton and polyester fibers, which makes their care relatively easy. So nix the trip to the dry cleaners -- in fact, it's best not to dry clean your shirts in order to avoid putting unnecessary chemicals into the items that spend time next to your skin. Whether you're going to the prom or a black-tie dinner, laundering your shirt the right way at home will keep you looking sharp.

Wet the armpits or collar with cold water if the shirt has perspiration stains. Sprinkle the stains with powdered meat tenderizer and rub the fabric together to work the powder in. Let the tenderizer sit for 10 minutes.

Blot any lipstick stains with a baby wipe or a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a washcloth. For red-wine stains, cover the stain with salt then soak in cold water and blot with a clean cloth until the stain comes out.

Fill your washing machine with warm water if you're using a top loader. While the machine fills, add laundry detergent according to the package directions. If you're using a front-loading machine, add the detergent to the dispenser while the empty machine is still turned off. If desired, add a scoop of oxygen bleach.

Place the shirt in the washing machine with other white clothing. Fill the machine no more than two-thirds full so the clothes can agitate easily. Run the machine on a regular cycle according to the shirt's care label.

Dry the shirt in the dryer on low heat. If desired, add a fabric softener sheet. Remove the shirt from the dryer as soon as it's dry.

Iron the shirt with an iron set to medium heat. Use the steam setting to ensure a crisp finish. After ironing, hang the shirt on a hanger until you're ready to wear it.

Items you will need
  •  Meat tenderizer
  •  Laundry detergent
  •  Iron
  •  Oxygen bleach (optional)
  •  Fabric softener sheet (optional)


  • Always read the care label of your tuxedo shirt before laundering, as it usually tells you the fiber content and laundering instructions.
  • Never rub stains as that will just grind the stain deeper into the fibers.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images