How to Starch a Shirt

Starching a shirt is one of the best ways to provide the garment with a look that is crisp and fresh. Apart from minimizing wrinkling and providing a more polished appearance, starch also can help protect the fiber of the shirt and make it possible to enjoy more years of wear. The secret to getting the most out of starching a shirt is knowing how to prepare the garment, managing the proper mixture of the starch and applying just the right amount to the surface of the fibers.


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    Prepare the shirt in advance. In order to get the best results, wash and thoroughly dry the shirt before attempting to apply any type of starch to the garment. Washing removes any dirt or grime that could interfere with the stiffening properties of the starch, as well as inhibit the ability of the product to protect the fibers in the weave of the shirt.
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    Mix the starch. Laundry starch is available in a powdered form that comes with instructions on how to combine a measured portion with a certain amount of water. Follow the instructions carefully, making sure the 2 ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour the combined mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Image titled Starch a Shirt Step 3
    Position the shirt on an ironing board. Lay the garment on the board so that the 2 halves of the front are hanging over the sides, while the back of the shirt is flat on the surface of the board.
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    Spray the starch on the back of the shirt. Apply the starch in a light and even coat across the expanse of the shirt back. Wait a couple of seconds to allow the product to seep into the material of the garment, and then press lightly using an iron set to the recommended heat level for the material.
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    Do the front of the shirt. Turn the garment so that 1 side of the front is flat on the ironing board, and then apply an even coating of starch. After ironing, reposition the shirt and repeat the process with the other side of the shirt front. Continue the process by starching and ironing each arm, finishing the job with an application of the starch to the collar.
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    Hang the shirt immediately. Place the garment on a shirt hanger, and allow the garment to be exposed to fresh air for a couple of moments before placing it in a closet. This will provide time for the starch to finishing adhering to the fibers of the garment and provide a superior hold, creating the crisp texture and look that you want.


  • Not all types of materials should be starched. Garments made with natural fibers like cotton are ideal for starching, while some synthetic fibers may look worse; with those types of shirts, ironing alone is normally the best approach. Silk is another example of a fiber that should not be starched.
  • If you don't want to mix your own starch, it is also possible to purchase starch products that are already mixed. Some are available in spray pump bottles, while other spray starch products are sold in aerosol cans. Use these types of starch products in the same manner as the starch and water combination you would mix yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Starch
  • Water
  • Iron and Ironing Board

Article Info

Categories: Ironing