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How to Starch a Shirt at Home (For a Dry-Cleaned Effect)

Jennifer L. Betts
Shirt Rack

When it comes to how to starch a shirt, this might be something you are paying a dry cleaning service for. However, you don't have to waste your hard-earned money when you can starch your clothes at home. Learn the best methods to starch your shirt and collar, even if you are in a hurry.

How to Starch a Shirt

When it comes to how to starch a shirt, it's a step-by-step process. This is especially true if you want that crisp, stiff fabric look. However, this is a method that takes time and patience.

Materials to Starch Shirts

  • Liquid starch (commercial or DIY)

  • Sink

  • Ironing board and iron

  • Hanger

  • Spray bottle

Step 1: Getting the Right Material

When it comes to a crisp shirt, it's all about the material. Knit materials just won't give you that stiff starch look. Therefore, this method works best on natural fibers like cotton and linen. You can use this method on natural blends, but just remember you won't achieve that perfect look.

Step 2: Start With a Freshly Laundered Shirt

Just like anything else, you want to start with a shirt that's been freshly washed. A freshly cleaned and stain-free shirt gives you the best success for the look you want.

Step 3: Selecting the Best Starch for Clothes

To starch your shirt, you can use a commercial or DIY starch liquid made of cornstarch and vodka. However, when it comes to getting that stiff professional look, you want to grab a liquid solution that can be mixed into a sink or tub and the whole fabric can be dipped in.

Step 4: Apply the Starch

In a sink or tub, you'll mix about 4 gallons of water with 3 cups of liquid starch of your choice. Use your hand to get it good and mixed up, then submerge the entire shirt into the solution. It's important to make sure every part of the shirt is fully saturated with the mixture. Wring out the mixture and hang the shirt to dry for a few hours. You want it to still be a little damp when ironing. You can also use a water bottle to mist the shirt before ironing if you let it dry for too long.

How to Starch Clothes in Washing Machine

Rather than using a bath to apply starch, you can also add 2 cups of liquid starch to the washing machine before the final rinse. This can save you having to wring the clothing out.

Step 5: Set Up Your Ironing Station

When trying to get crisp shirts, an ironing board is essential. Therefore, you can't forgo the ironing board and try this on your bed. Additionally, you need to ensure that your iron is on the correct setting for the material of your shirts material.

Step 6: How to Iron the Shirt

When ironing your shirt to create a fresh, crisp look, follow the same methods you do for regular ironing. Unbutton the shirt and slide it on to the ironing board. As with ironing any collared shirt, start with the collar first. Press the collar down before moving down to the shoulder, then across the back to the other shoulder. Once the collar is complete, lay the sleeve flat on the board and move down the fabric to the cuff. Repeat with the other sleeve before moving on to the body of the shirt.

woman ironing on board

How to Starch a Shirt in a Hurry

Life moves fast. Therefore, not everyone has time to soak their shirt in starch and wait for it to dry. In these instances, having a spray bottle of starch can make for a much quicker process.

  1. Put the shirt on the ironing board as you would for normal ironing.

  2. Spray the starch on to the shirt in light, even coats, covering all areas of the shirt.

  3. Follow the ironing procedure as you normally would.

  4. While this method works in a pinch, it doesn't provide the crispness that received from allowing the entire garment to soak and dry in the starch.

How to Starch a Shirt Collar

Do you want a crisp shirt collar? Some people like to have a stiff collar on their shirt, but not a stiff shirt. To keep your collar looking fresh, you just need to follow a few simple steps.

  1. Lay the shirt on the ironing board.

  2. Position the shirt so the inside is facing up.

  3. Saturate the entire collar in starch.

  4. Iron the collar flat.

  5. Flip the shirt over and spray the outside with starch.

  6. Continue to iron the collar until the collar is completely dry.

  7. Viola! Perfectly starched collar.

Flawlessly Starching Your Shirt

When it comes to starching your shirts, you don't need to dole out hundreds of dollars to a laundering service when you can do it at home. Now it's time to grab your starch and get to work.

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How to Starch a Shirt at Home (For a Dry-Cleaned Effect)