Here is a step by step guide on how to iron a dress shirt properly. Enjoy. Work has been transcripted from the Art of Manliness Video.
1. Read the Shirt Label
You really need to do this step because you have to understand what type of fabric the shirt is made of before ironing it or you could possibly destroy it.
2. Prepare The Iron
Ensure the iron has water in it and then plug it in and set it to the lowest heat setting that you will need.
3. Check for Stains
If you have a shirt that has a stain, the heat from the iron can set the stain making it hard to remove later so always give your shirts a good check before you apply the iron to the shirt.
4. Moisten the Shirt
This will enable you to dry iron without having to worry about your iron’s steam function. The easiest way to get a moist shirt is to simply pull the shirt out of the dryer before it’s completely dry.
If your shirt is already dried, moisten it with a spray bottle and keep that spray bottle by you throughout the ironing process so you can dampen the shirt if necessary.
5. Iron the Collar
If your shirt has collar stays remove those first. Iron the underside of the collar first slowly pressing the iron from one point of the collar to the other. Flip your shirt over and repeat on the outside of your collar
6. Iron Shirt Cuffs
Unbutton one cuff including the gauntlet button (which is that button about a quarter way up the sleeve). First you want to iron the inside of the cuff and then move on to the outside. When you get to the buttons you want to carefully iron around those because you don’t want to iron over buttons because that can leave a mark.
You also need to repeat this on the other cuff. For French cuffs you just want to open the cuff fully and it’s recommended that you don’t press the edges of a French cuff because it steals the life and body from a smooth fold.
7. Iron Shirt Front
Start with the size that has the buttons and carefully work the iron point around the button area but again never iron over the button. Move back up to the top of the shoulder and work your way down the shirt with the iron.
Repeat this process on the other side and if you have a placket (which is that material that goes down the length of your shirt) press the material under the placket with the iron point and then over the top. It’s also good to spend a bit more time on the front placket in areas near the collar as they receive a high percentage of visual attention
8. Iron the Yoke
The yoke is the fabric on the back of the shirt right underneath the collar that spans with your shoulders. You iron that by pressing from one point of the yoke to the other.
9. Iron Back of Your Shirt
Start at the top, meet the yoke and slowly slide the iron down. If you have a sinner box pleat, you’ll have to spend a few seconds ironing around it.
10. Iron Sleeves
Sleeves are tricky because unless you have a sleeve board, you will be ironing two layers of fabric at the same time. The key to ironing sleeves is to be sure the fabric is flat and smooth before you apply the iron or you get messed up creases.
Take either sleeve by the seam and lay the whole sleeve and most of the shirt flat on the ironing board. If you can see the creases on the top of the sleeve from the previous ironing match it again so that you have a single crease line. Start ironing at the top where the sleeve is sewn into the shirt and work your way down to the cuff.
Turn the sleeve over and iron on the other side then repeat the process with the other sleeve.
11. Inspect and Hang
Inspect the shirt and spot iron where necessary. Finally place the shirt on a hanger as soon as you can so it doesn’t get wrinkly.
Iron shirts in batches. Ironing actually just takes a few minutes but half of that time is taken up with preparation like getting the ironing board out, warming up your iron, filling it up with water etc so use your time more effectively by ironing all your shirts in one batch instead of whenever you need one.
If you are in a hurry and you’re planning on wearing a jacket that day you can get away with just ironing only your collar, the front area right below the collar and your cuffs.
If you literally have no time to iron then at least throw the shirt in the dryer while you throw on the rest of your clothing. Five minutes of stumbling in the warm air will help loosen some of the worst wrinkles.
Finally you can always use starch as an option that will give you a nice crisp shirt but you got to be careful don’t apply too much because it can really get stiff.
Well that’s how to iron a dress shirt so now you have no more excuses for looking like a schlub