How to wash a shirt? Like an Expert!

Whether a cotton dress shirt, knit top, delicate blouse, or woolen sweater, you can wash your shirt at home, either hand washing or machine-wash them. Trust me. It’s okay. It saves money and time and is environmentally friendly, as dry cleaning causes tons of water and detergent wastage. Yes, it’s true. As this is not “true dry cleaning,” the cleaner will use water and detergent unless you especially request dry cleaning for the shirt.

10 simple steps to hand-wash a shirt

There is no rocket science behind hand washing a shirt. Choose a small sink or basin with just a splash of laundry detergent for hand washing. Soak your shirt in soapy water first, then follow up with a few rinses. Squeeze out the water before air-drying your shirt, and that’s it. Congratulations, you did it!

Let’s discuss this procedure in detail to learn it deeply.

Step 1: Choose a tub or small basin

If you have a small-sized basin, go with it. But make sure the sink stopper is set before you put the clothes in; otherwise, the shirt may catch on the plug and rip.

Alternatively, use a small-sized tub. I specifically use the word ” small” to avoid water wastage. Live green and save water.

Step 2: Choose between cold and warm water.

Check the garment care tag and what it recommends. If it’s cold water, then go with cold because the cloth fabric may shrink on using warm water. Cold water means fresh cold water. It does not mean you rush towards the refrigerator for cold water.

If water temperature is not mentioned on your top’s tag, I recommend cold water wash for darker fabrics, but warm or hot water is okay for white shirts or lighter colors.

I recommend filling the tub with 4 liters of water to wash a single shirt.

Step3: Choose a liquid or powder detergent that is mild

Depending on the type of garment, try specially designed detergent for delicate and woolen clothes. For other clothes, go with mild detergents. 

Splash the detergent with your hands to mix it in with the water.

wash a shirt

Step 4: Use stain-remover for stains

To treat stains, spray stain remover on the spot and allow it to sit on the fabric for at least 10 minutes. Then gently rub the material’s surface to agitate the fibers and scrub away at the stain.

Step 5: Soak soiled clothes in water for 10 minutes

If your shirts are soiled with dirt and debris, it is better to soak them in water before putting them in soapy water. It will remove the loose dirt from your shirt and save your detergent.

Step 6: Dip and soak the shirt in soapy water

Dip and agitate your shirt gently with your hands in soapy water around all parts of the fabric. Pay extra attention to the underarms region.

Soak your delicate blouses in soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes while leaving your dirty garments to soak for at least 1 hour. Trust me. It works wonders in the washing procedure.

Step 7: Drain the water and refill with cold water

Rip the shirt out of the water and gently squeeze it to release some moisture. Drain the basin or water tub to remove the dirty and discolored water and refill with cold water.

Step 8: Rinse the shirt in water

Rinse and agitate the shirt in water to ensure all the soap is out. If the water gets discolored, you must perform this procedure 2 to 3 times. Alternatively, use running water from the faucet to rinse off each part of the shirt. But do it gently so that you may not tear your vest with the tap.

Step 9: Squeeze the shirt

Hold it over the basin and use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible.

Step 10: Roll the shirt in a dry towel and Air-dry the shirt

  • After squeezing the water out gently, put your shirt on a clean, dry towel. Roll up the towel with the shirt inside, and press down on it to absorb the remaining moisture. 
  • Use a plastic or wooden clothes hanger to adjust them for woven shirts. Dangle the hanger from a shower curtain rod or an area where air can pass through the garment.
  • For knit sweaters, jersey tops, t-shirts, and sweatshirts avoid hanging up to avoid stretching out. Instead, set the damp shirt on the dry towel. Smooth out any creases on the shirt and allow it to dry in this position overnight. That’s all. 

I If you want to know how to wash your shirt in a machine, keep reading!

10 simple steps to machine-wash a shirt

Washing a shirt in a washing machine is like a waft. You must make some slight adjustments between washing standards for delicate and dress shirts. Let’s learn with me in 10 simple steps.

Step 1: Check the garment care tag first

It’s the essential step in machine washing a shirt. Refrain from machine-washing shirts that say “Dry Clean Only” on the tag. But if the label says the shirt is “Machine Washable,” then move with this.

Step 2: Separate the shirts according to their color and fabric type

To prevent dye from staining the white ones, separate the white shirts from the colored ones. Also, separate shirts made of silk, wool, cashmere, or other delicate materials as they require different wash cycles. Take help from the garment tag that mentions “delicate material.”

Step 3: Prep your shirt

Before washing dress shirts, you must prep them before putting them in the washing machine. Like, as unbuttoning all buttons, including cuff buttons and collar buttons. Plus, remove any collar stays and put them in a safe place.

Step 4: Treat stains

Check the shirts for stains or areas of soiling before laundering. Wet the shirt in cold water, then mist the stain remover spray on the color. Let it settle for 5 minutes. Then heed towards the next step.

Step 5: Turn clothes inside out.

Clothing prone to fading or odor retention will benefit from washing inside out. Make sure to pull the sleeves, so the entire shirt is inside out.

Step 6: Set up your washing machine

Add liquid or powder detergent to the detergent drawer of the washing machine. Be sure not to use any chlorine-based detergents or cleaners, as these will cause discoloration to many shirt fabrics. Then set the device according to your garment material. Like,

  • For lightweight and fine fabric shirts, use the Delicate cycle.
  • If the shirt is made from a heavier-duty fabric or is dirty, choose the Normal cycle.
  • Whites and light colors can use hot water. Dark-colored shirts that you don’t want to fade should be washed with cold water.

Step 7: Use washer bags for delicate clothes

Place delicate shirts in a washer bag to prevent them from tearing. It allows the water and detergent to clean the shirts while protecting them from getting caught on anything.

Note: Don’t overload the bags.

Step 8: Drying the shirt

  • Wash the shirts in the washing machine, then let the spin cycle wring most of the water out of the garment.
  • The shirts will be tightly crumpled in the washing machine, so you’ll want to remove them promptly to avoid wrinkling.
  • Turn the shirt right-side out. Letting the shirt dry inside out causes more wrinkling.
  • Hang the shirts up or lay them out so they can air dry.

Note:  Be careful about hanging the shirts on a sharp hanger or tight clothespins, as this can distort the fabric or leave a mark on the shirt.

Step 9: Iron the dress shirt when it is still wet

  • Place the dress shirt down flat on an ironing board.
  • Use a hot iron on a low steam setting for crispy results
  • Skip this step for t-shirts or other tops. 

Step 10: Hang the shirts to air dry

Take a wide plastic hanger, put the dress shirt onto it, and let it air dry. Avoid hanging T-shirts and other tops like this. Instead, place them on a flat surface or a clean towel to dry overnight.

Takeaway Tips:

  • To avoid yellowing collar bands, don’t leave dirty white shirts in the hamper for too long before washing.
  • Avoid starch altogether, as the material gets embedded in the shirt fibers and acts like a million little knives that crack the fibers over time.
  • Immediately treat the stain with water or stain remover solvent. If you are not at home, you can try dishwashing detergent, lemon juice, or vinegar.
  • Avoiding high heat or over-drying the shirt. Use the dryer to get most of the moisture out of the shirt, and then iron the shirt immediately to remove the rest of the water and any wrinkles at the same time.

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