Working Stiff

I like my shirts crisp! Can starching them shorten their life or damage the fabric?

There is nothing like a crisp white shirt to tell ‘em you mean business.  A well-made shirt needs no extra starchy fortification to keep it on the straight and narrow.  A fine fabric is resilient; it wants to look its best for you, and it needs very little help to do its job.  Remember, cotton is super absorbent—think bath towels—so it will soak up each spritz. Over time, the starch build-up will make a shirt brittle and even more wrinkle prone.

Any cleaning process—dry cleaning, laundering, ironing, beating it against a stone by the river—causes some harm to the fabric, i.e. normal wear and tear.  Maintaining a garment begins with the mindful heeding of care instructions. These instructions, often stitched into clothing, illustrate proper care through words and standardized symbols.  Cracking this code will ensure you don’t offend your shirts delicate sensibilities.  Case in point, starch is actually the sworn enemy of most Non-Iron shirts, radically shorting the lifespan of the shirt.

A well-crafted shirt can last for years, even decades.  As with any long-term relationship, longevity begins with respect.

TAGS: Dress shirts | Dry cleaning | ironing | Laundry | starch
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