How To Starch a Shirt at Home For a Dry-Cleaned Look

Published October 5, 2020
Shirt Rack

Don't want to spend your hard-earned money at the dry cleaner? Learn how to starch a shirt so you can still get that fresh, dry-cleaned look without the cost. Here are the best methods to starch your shirt and collar, even if you are in a hurry.

How To Starch a Shirt Like a Pro

When you're learning how to starch a shirt, it will take some time and patience, but it's completely doable with the right steps. Before you begin, make sure you have the following supplies:

Materials To Starch Shirts

  • Liquid starch (commercial or DIY)

  • Sink

  • Ironing board and iron

  • Hanger

  • Spray bottle

Step 1: Getting the Right Material

To get that crisp look in a starched shirt, it's really all about the material. You won't be able to obtain that starchy stiffness in knit materials. Therefore, this method of starching your shirt works best on natural fibers like cotton and linen. You can technically use this method on natural blends, but just remember you won't achieve a perfect look.

Step 2: Start With a Freshly Laundered Shirt

Always wash your shirt before starching it for the best chance of success. You'll want to make sure to remove any stains

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'll need a liquid solution that can be mixed into a sink or tub that you can dip the whole shirt into.

Step 4: Apply the Starch

Mix about 4 gallons of water with 3 cups of liquid starch of your choice into a tub or large sink. Use your hand to mix it well, 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 it's time to iron. 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 a Washing Machine

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

Step 5: Set Up Your Ironing Station

An ironing board is essential for an extra crisp shirt. Don't try to iron your shirt on your bed. Additionally, make sure that your iron is on the correct setting for your shirt's material.

Step 6: How To Iron the Shirt

After you've starched your shirt, it's time to iron it using the same methods you do for regular ironing. Unbutton the shirt and slide it onto 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 is busy and 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. You can use DIY liquid starch or experiment with different commercial versions to find the best starch for ironing shirts.

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

  2. Spray the starch onto 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 you get from letting the entire garment to soak and dry in the starch.

How To Starch a 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.

Understanding Starch in Dry Cleaning

Are you wondering what exactly starch is and why you should using it on your clothing? Starch is a natural chemical produced by green plants. Not only does starch make your clothes look wrinkle-free, it also provides a protective layer from dirt, sweat and stains. It is often used by dry cleaners to add a crisp, structured look to clothing, but you can also easily use it at home. So, if you like the sound of a fresh, stain-resistant wardrobe, give starch a try.

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. Discover the best way to starch a shirt, grab your supplies, and get to work!

How To Starch a Shirt at Home For a Dry-Cleaned Look