How to Keep Cotton Shirts From Wrinkling

by Sarah Vrba

Durable cotton clothes ten to wrinkle and crimp over the course of a long day. Whether you’re wearing your favorite breathable cotton shirt on a hot day, packing it in a suitcase or hanging it in the closet, keep it wrinkle-free and ready to wear with a few preventive measures.

Iron It Out

The trusty ironing board and iron remove wrinkles that are already there, of course, but they can also help prevent future wrinkles from forming. Mist the cotton shirt with some distilled water from a spray bottle before pressing with the iron. The moisture helps set fabric into place and ensures a completely smooth finish.

Hang the shirt up on a thick hanger after you iron it. Allow it to set and cool for about 10 minutes before wearing to ensure the fabric stays crisp longer.

Tips

  • Add a little fabric softener to your load of cotton shirts for smoother fabric and less likelihood of damp wrinkles that tend to set into place in a pile of wet laundry.

Hang It Right

Hang your cotton shirts on plastic or wooden hangers, rather than the thin metal kind you get at the dry cleaners. The thicker hangers fill out the shoulders of shirts more smoothly so harsh wrinkles and lines don’t develop along the shoulder seams. If you're hanging a dress shirt or blouse, button the first couple of buttons to keep the garment hanging straight.

Maintain a bit of space between the shirts hanging in your closet. Wrinkles and folds develop when garments are pressed side by side or cramped into small areas. Avoid folding and storing your cotton shirts in drawers, which ensures wrinkles when you pull them out to wear.

Tips

  • Invest in cotton shirts with a tight weave and fine threads. These fabrics resist wrinkling more effectively and retain that freshly ironed look, even after you've been sitting for hours at the office or cramped on an airplane.

Travel Light

Suitcases invite wrinkles, especially in cotton fabric, which means clothing mayhem when you arrive at your next conference or vacation. Don't pack your suitcase to total capacity, which causes increased compression and more wrinkles.

Keep the cotton shirts you do pack tidy by rolling them instead of folding. Start by laying the shirt flat with the back facing you. Fold the shirt in half lengthwise so that the two sleeves are one on top of the other. Fold the sleeves back over the folded body of the shirt along the shoulder seam. Roll the shirt up, starting from the bottom. Keep the roll smooth and avoid rolling too tightly. Don't roll the collar, which can crush the structured shape. You can use this technique for skirts and dresses too.

Tips

  • Place each dress shirt or blouse in a separate dry cleaner bag when you pack to reduce static electricity and to keep garments from wrinkling.

Day to Day

Wrinkles loom on the sidelines during long days that include sitting, standing or walking for hours. Take some time regularly throughout the day to get up, walk and stand so your shirt can hang straight.

Promptly remove your jacket or overcoat whenever you are inside to allow your shoulder seams and sleeves to move naturally. This technique keeps those dreaded shoulder and sleeve wrinkles from forming behind the scenes.

Tips

  • Keep a wrinkle-release spray with you in your purse or at the office. If you notice an area that tends to wrinkle easily, spritz a bit of the product onto the area and gently pull the fabric taut. Once it's dry, any impending wrinkles should be history.

About the Author

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.