Today I'm going to be answering a viewer's question: “Antonio, when should I wash my dress shirt?”
Basically the gentleman had spent quite a bit of money on a very nice dress shirt and was wondering how often he should wash it and also how he should wash it.
It seems like a simple question, but once you start spending good money on clothing you start to worry:
“Am I taking care of it the right way?” “Is it going to last as long as I want it to?”
This question came from a gentleman in my “Build your Wardrobe” program, which is a private, online Facebook group which you can join if you graduate from my Personal Image System.
That gives you direct access to me and hundreds of other men that have been building their wardrobes. This is a great place where you can ask these kinds of questions and get solid responses.
The reader who asked me this question said to me
“Antonio, I just spent $100 on a really nice dress shirt.
How often should I wash it? How should I wash it?”
How Often Should You Wash A Dress Shirt?
So let's answer the question on how often you should wash your dress shirt.
Sounds pretty simple. Deceptively simple, right?
The answer is: only when it's dirty.
I know it sounds like a bit of a cheat answer.
You see, I've got shirts right here in the studio that I'll probably wear twenty or thirty times before washing them (I only wear them for about an hour). This is usually when I'm filming or I have to get on a live webinar. Often I'll come in not dressed in a suit.
So if I'm wearing a sweater, but I want to film a video with a nice shirt, I'll throw on the shirt. If I'm doing a batch filming set, I'll wear three or four in a row.
Now I'm not going to take those shirts and wash them, because they're not dirty.
It helps to think of clothing as having a limited number of washes in its lifespan.
So if you think of it that way, you want to wash your clothing as little as possible (Obviously without wearing anything dirty!)
For shirts, the first thing I'll look at is the inside of the collar and the cuffs.
That's where I'll first start to see sweat stains, or if I wear it for a full day or for a couple of days.
Another thing that I do to lengthen the time period between washing my dress shirts is that I always wear an undershirt.
As you know I'm a big fan of Ribbed Tee. Mike has been supporting me for years, sending me free undershirts to test.
The best part of an undershirt is that it protects your more expensive dress shirt by preventing sweat stains by absorbing the sweat. If you're wearing deodorant it's also not going to allow that to be passed to the dress shirt as easily.
3 Tips To Safely Wash A High Quality Dress Shirt
There are three things you can do to maximize the life of your dress shirt when you have to wash it.
1. Use less detergent
When you do have to wash the dress shirt, use less detergent than is recommended and do some spot cleaning. I always use something like Shout (a localized stain remover) for that.
Also try to use a good detergent like Tide. If you have to use a less expensive one, be careful of overdoing it. A lot of times as gentlemen we want to overdo things.
For me it goes back to that TV show, Home Improvement – I always want to overdo things. So if they say one cup of detergent, I'd want to throw in two just for good measure.
But that can have a detrimental effect on your clothing because it's a base, it can start to eat into the clothing. So you want to be careful about overdoing it.
I recommend using half the recommended amount and to use something like Shout. Spray some in the collar area and around the cuffs and anytime you have a spot stain.
2. Use a laundry bag
The second thing you should do is to use a clothing or laundry bag. They're pretty cheap: you can get them for around $5 from Amazon.
The reason you want to use these is that this is going to protect the shirt from getting caught in other clothing.
3. Use a modern washing machine
You want to use a modern and safer washing machine.
Why? A lot of the older machines have center agitators. The problem with this is that a dress shirt can get caught in there, especially if you're not using a laundry bag.
This can lead to it getting ripped or torn. You can also lose quite a few buttons.
Finally – don't use a drying machine (drier). Instead hang dry and your shirts will last longer and maintain their shape better.
If you follow these tips your clothing is going to last longer. You're also going to be happier with it because you're going to end up saving money.
If you liked this article please feel free to let me know how I'm doing or if you have any tips or anything you think I can improve upon.
What do you do when your trousers shrink in the wash? Click here to view the article.