Caring for your Shirts

This entry was posted on May 9, 2011 under Product Care. Written by:

Two hundred years later, George Bryan “Beau” Brummell is remembered as the most elegant man who ever lived, and one of the reasons was his emphasis on the importance of dress shirts. Brummell insisted on plenty of fresh shirts, and supposedly sent them from London to be laundered in the country where the air was fresher.

When it comes to caring for dress shirts, time, money and effort all collide. While you’ll ultimately choose the method of care that best fits your lifestyle, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Dry Cleaners Versus Washing at Home

The first thing to decide is whether you want to care for your shirts yourself or leave it to the professionals. It’s a question of time versus money: The dry cleaners offer convenience, but at several bucks a shirt, you could be adding hundreds of dollars to your monthly budget.

If you decide to go the professional route, you’ll want the cleaners to launder your shirts, not dry clean them. Dry cleaning is not only more expensive but also harsher on shirts (especially buttons), can leave a yellowed appearance, and is less effective at removing sweat stains, which are a dress shirt’s main enemy.

Starched Or No, Boxed or Hanger

Starch is a stiffening agent that gives cotton shirts a paper-like crispness. Some men like this, others don’t. If you do like starch, bear in mind that it does impact the life of a shirt. Request very light starch to go easier on your shirts, and don’t starch them every time.

Boxing refers to getting your shirts back folded. Neater and easier to carry home, boxing will also leave creases. If you go with hangers, as most men do, you’ll want to transfer them to proper wooden hangers for long-term storage, as thin wire hangers are bad for a shirt’s shape.

Home Washing: Machine Versus Hand

If you’re willing to trade time for money, your first choice is hand washing versus machine. Hand washing is by far the gentlest way to care for your shirts and will prolong their life the longest. Use your regular detergent and wash them in the sink or bathtub in cold or lukewarm water.

For machine washing, use the gentle cycle. Remove collar stays if possible, as leaving them in can warp the shape of a shirt’s collar.

Whites and Colors

Obviously you’ll want to separate your white dress shirts from your colored ones. Bleach can help prevent yellow perspiration stains at the neck and armpits, but it’s a harsh chemical that breaks down fibers and should only be used sparingly.


Like hand washing, line drying is the safest option for your shirts. If you opt to throw your shirts in the dryer, put it on the delicate setting.

Paul Fredrick Non-Iron Dress Shirts

Technology makes life easier, and that’s certainly the case with non-iron shirts, which are among our most popular shirts. To help them keep their wrinkle resistance, wash in warm water. Tumble dry, remove shirts immediately, and put on a hanger, pulling seams to straighten the shirt out. We do not recommend dry cleaning, nor the chemicals in bleach or starch, which break down the wrinkle-free finish. The same rules apply for our wrinkle-resistant sport shirts.

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22 Comments to “Caring for your Shirts”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I will apply those things. Great post!

  2. LauraF says:

    @playmobil zoo – Thank you for your feedback! We are glad that you found the post to be helpful!

  3. John says:

    I have always taken high-quality shirts to the dry cleaners to be starched and pressed. They look so nice when they are crisp, and these shirts from Paul Frederick at a perfect shirt to have cleaned this way.

  4. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your feedback, John. We are delighted to hear that you are pleased with the dress shirts!

  5. Neil says:

    Very interesting.

    For washing at home, what is the best way to care for a high-contrast collar / cuff shirt?

  6. Neil says:

    Sorry; another question. What is the best way to wash & iorn a 2-ply broardcloth shirt (eg. Item #300)? It maintains it’s creases very well!!

  7. LauraH says:

    Thank you for your questions, Neil!

    The care instructions for a contrasting collar/cuff dress shirt are exactly the same as any other dress shirt. When laundering our dress shirts at home we suggest machine wash warm water on the delicate cycle and tumble dry on a low heat setting. Remove shirts promptly from the dryer and use a cool iron if needed.

    If you have any additional questions, please let us know!

  8. Larry Newman says:

    Washed and boxed by commercial laundry or dry cleaner, the only way to go for me. Easier to handle, store and pack when traveling.

  9. LauraH says:

    Thank you, Larry! We appreciate you sharing your feedback with us!

  10. Gary Lee Fischer says:

    I like my new shirts as I am a first time customer. What is Te average life expectancy of your dress shirts?

    I’ve had Men’s Wearhouse shirts in the past and I’m lucky to get four uses out of them before the collars don’t look crisp.

    Thank you.

  11. We are delighted to hear that you are pleased with your new shirts, Gary!

    The wear expectancy of a shirt is approximately two years or 35-50 washings. To get the longest life expectancy from your dress shirts, we recommend cold water washing and tumble dry low on delicate cycles. Remove the shirts and use a warm iron while slightly damp. If you prefer to have them professionally laundered, we suggest cool water and very light – to no starch.

    If you have any questions or need further assistance, please let us know!

  12. Crane says:

    Great post. Boxed shirts are best for travel!

  13. Thank you for your feedback, Crane! We are glad that you enjoyed our post.

  14. Steve says:

    I am having troubles with my brand new $19.95 introductory shirts looking very wrinkled after just an hour of wear. I see that starch is recommended only very lightly, but that did not seem to help. Would heavier starch solve this?

  15. Thank you for your question, Steve! Our dress shirts are 100% cotton and will experience wrinkling. Heavier starch certainly may help with the wrinkling; however, it won’t eliminate the wrinkles.

    We do have a collection of non-iron dress shirts available which may be more to your liking. To view our Non-Iron Collection, please click here.

    If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to email us at or by calling us at 1-800-247-1417. Any of our representatives will be happy to assist you!

  16. Cmb says:

    You fail to mention non-iron shirts are double the price from the &30 to $60 range
    That covers $30 of dry cleaner bills
    Is it worth the difference?
    Does non iron warrant double the cost?

  17. Thank you for your comments, Cmb! Our non-iron dress shirts maintain a sharp, crisp look all day long. Designed to resist wrinkles, our collection of non-iron dress shirts are both stylish and functional, as well as, an excellent value at $89.50 each. They are only $20.00 more than our 80′s pinpoint oxford dress shirts and $10.00 more than our Imperial 100′s dress shirts, both of which require the added time/expense of having them ironed or dry cleaned. When ordering more than one shirt, our non-iron dress shirts are also offered at the special price of 3/$179.00, which is a fantastic deal!

    If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to email us at

  18. Judith Bradman says:

    I absolutely love Paul Fredrick dress shirts! I don’t really pay attention to fabric content, non-iron, etc., of shirt (relying on PF quality) & tend to buy what I like to see my husband wear. The shirts are laundered w/light starch & he looks polished every day. I’m so glad I finally discovered Paul Fredrick! And your sales are really sales!

  19. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, Judith. We are delighted to hear that you and your husband have been so pleased with the shirts you have ordered from us!

  20. Thanks for all the advice. I knew all of these care points except for the wooden hangers. Never thought about that. Good points!

  21. Edward F. Ulon says:

    I am always looking for a better education in taking care of my clothes. I thank you for posting this information. I’ve known some of the things you mentioned but there were some very useful information on dry-cleaning, dry cleaning suits/sport jackets etc. Thanks once again.
    PS Paul Frederick is a wonderful company to do business with and I highly recommend them to the person who wants to look his best.

  22. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us, Edward! We appreciate hearing your feedback and are happy to hear that this post was helpful.

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