How to Iron a Dress Shirt: 6 Easy Steps!

Learn how to iron a dress shirt in 6 easy steps.

How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Collared Shirt

Start by completely unbuttoning the shirt and laying it face down on the ironing board so that you can iron the back. From there move on to the sleeves and cuffs. Make sure the sleeve is flat and folded at the hems while you iron. Continue by ironing the front side of the shirt, as well as the yoke and shoulder areas. Finish by carefully ironing the collar.

This is How to Iron a Dress Shirt.

Dress shirts are quite versatile and can be worn with a suit, jeans, a blazer, shorts, and more. However, the fastest way to ruin your outfit is by wearing a wrinkled dress shirt. 

Using an iron is the best way to get wrinkles out of a dress shirt, with a steamer being a great alternative. 

Before you get to the step of ironing out the wrinkles, let’s make sure you have cleaned and dried the shirt properly.

You might want to take the easy way out of all this work. If this is so, then google your local dry cleaners.

Ironing your dress shirt is not difficult and can be done in 6 easy steps. Although the order of these steps can be modified, the actions remain the same. 

I prefer to start with the back of the shirt, and then move on to the sleeves and cuffs, followed by the front of the short, and then the yoke, shoulders, and finally the collar.

In addition to learning how to press and iron your dress shirt, you may also want to learn how to wash your dress shirt, so that you can look as fresh as possible at all times!

How to Iron a Dress Shirt

Follow the 6 steps below to successfully and efficiently iron your dress shirt so that it looks sharp and wrinkle-free!

To prevent wrinkles and creases from forming on your dress shirts in the first place, make sure you learn how to hang your dress shirts as well as how to fold a dress shirt incase you are traveling or storing them on a shelf.

If you are looking for a new dress shirt, make sure you know how a dress shirt is supposed to fit before you buy one. 

Let our other guides on making sure your dress works for you.

Follow our other ironing guides to make sure each piece of clothing is ironed properly.

1. Prepare the Iron

Get your ironing board set up and plug the iron in. Be sure that the iron’s water tank is full of fresh, clean, tap water so that the steam function works properly. Steam is a crucial component for ironing dress shirts properly. Before you start, make sure the steam function on your iron is fully activated. 

Some people think that the iron needs to be set to the highest heat setting when ironing cotton dress shirts, however, I do not believe that the highest heat setting is necessary. 

(Note: most dress shirts are made of cotton, however, be sure to check the garment’s fabric and care label before beginning).

I use a lower heat setting for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I find the wrinkles on dress shirts come out relatively easily, and come out just fine using a lower heat setting and steam. The second reason is that cotton is a natural fiber that is prone to shrinkage. Using the highest heat setting can shrink your cotton shirt which may eventually make it too small to wear. For these reasons, I set my iron to level 3 heat, with the maximum being level 6. 

Find what works for you. If you find the wrinkles are not disappearing, try turning up the heat gradually until you find the sweet spot. If you have severe wrinkles or stubborn creases on your shirt, you may need to use a higher heat level. 

If your iron has a cotton setting, you may also elect to use that (assuming your shirt is made from cotton). 

heat dial on an iron

2. Start With the Back

Begin by completely unbuttoning the front of the shirt and setting it face down on the ironing board so that the back of the shirt is facing skywards. Spread the shirt so that it is flat and even, and make sure the shoulders are resting on the narrow part of the ironing board. 

Start ironing the shirt by sliding the iron downwards from top to bottom as you remove the wrinkles from the fabric. The back of dress shirts can become quite wrinkled since they are usually jammed between your back and a chair, so if you find that there are creases that are difficult to get out, try using a spray bottle to add some moisture, and then re-iron. 

3. Iron the Sleeves and Cuffs

Lay one of the shirt’s sleeves horizontally along the length of the ironing board and make sure the sleeve is flat and folded along the hem at the bottom.

Start by pressing the iron around the armpit area, and then slowly work your way down towards the cuff. Keep the sleeve flat and even the whole time.

If you cannot keep the sleeve flat, try manipulating the buttons on the cuff in different ways in order to get a position you like. Some shirts are easier to iron with the button cuffs undone, and sometimes it is easier to iron with the cuff done up. 

the sleeve of a dress shirt laying on an ironing board

4. Iron the Front of the Shirt

Spread the front of the shirt on the ironing board, making sure it is laid flat and evenly. If your shirt has a pocket, make sure that it is not folded or puckered in any way. Your shirt should still be completely unbuttoned, as you are only ironing one side of the front at a time. 

Start by placing the iron near the collar, and begin to work your way down to the bottom of the shirt. If you are able to, use your free hand to pull and stretch the fabric as you run the iron over it. Doing this will help the iron do its job and should result in a very flat, wrinkle free, front side.

5. Iron the Yoke and Shoulders

The yoke and shoulders of the shirt are a little fussy to iron, but it is important that you take your time and iron these areas properly since they are so visible. 

Place the yoke near the narrow part of the ironing board so that the shoulder areas are fully exposed and as flat as possible. Use your hands to pull and stretch the shirt to decrease pouting. The collar should be sticking up and it is your job to gently and smoothly iron around the curve of the collar. Take your time and be detail oriented when pressing this portion of the shirt. 

6. Press the Collar

Finally it’s time to iron the collar. If your shirt has collar stays, remove them. If your collar is a button down collar, unbutton the buttons. 

Unfold the collar so that it is straight up and lay it evenly on the ironing board with the backside facing skywards. Use a spray bottle filled with water to add some moisture to the collar so that it will lay flatter. Start in the middle of the collar and begin ironing outwards towards the collar points. Once you are finished, put the collar stays back in, or fold the collar down and fasten the buttons once again. 

You may also iron the edges of the collar once it is folded back down, making the collar look sharp and creased. 

How to Iron a Dress Shirt FAQ

Start by completely unbuttoning the shirt and laying it face down on the ironing board so that you can iron the back. From there move on to the sleeves and cuffs. Make sure the sleeve is flat and folded at the hems while you iron. Continue by ironing the front side of the shirt, as well as the yoke and shoulder areas. Finish by carefully ironing the collar. 

Start by completely unbuttoning the shirt and laying it face down on the ironing board so that you can iron the back. From there move on to the sleeves and cuffs. Make sure the sleeve is flat and folded at the hems while you iron. Continue by ironing the front side of the shirt, as well as the yoke and shoulder areas. Finish by carefully ironing the collar. 

Remove wrinkles from dress shirts either by steaming, ironing, or dry cleaning. When steaming, use long downward strokes as you work your way from the top to the bottom of the shirt. With the iron, use a medium heat setting and make sure the steam function is fully activated. 

Ironing from the inside or outside of the shirt mostly depends on which fabric the shirt is made from. If the shirt is cotton, you may iron from the outside. If the shirt is made from polyester or silk, you may want to iron the shirt from the inside. Check the care label before ironing and use the appropriate methods based on the fabric type. 

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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