Welcome to our article on how to starch a shirt at home. 

Starching your shirts makes it easier to iron them. After your shirt is starched, it will help keep dirt and other airborne residue stuck to it, allowing you to get a few more wears out of it before it needs to be washed.

Washing a shirt can be done at home. However, it’s not as simple as throwing a t-shirt into the wash. Because of this, I like to take my dress shirts to my local dry cleaners. 

This is how much a dry cleaner can cost. And this is how long a dry cleaner can take.

Table of Contents

How To Starch A Shirt At Home

How To Starch A Shirt At Home

Total Time: 3 hr 30 min

Cost: $0.53 (for an ounce of starch)

  • Buy corn starch for $9.59

Supplies & Tools

  • Liquid starch
  • Washing machine
  • Clothes hanger
  • Iron
this is a photo of liquid starch that is needed to starch your shirt at home
Liquid starch
this is a photo of a clothes hanger which is needed to starch your shirt at home
Clothes hanger
this is a photo of a washing machine which is needed to starch your shirt at home
Washing machine
this is an iron which is needed to starch your shirt at home

1. Make your starch to use on your shirt

Make your starch mixture out of cornstarch and water. Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 cups of water. Stir it until it looks milky. Pour the mixture into a bowl. Add warm water until the bowl is nearly filled.

this is a photo of homemade starch to use on a shirt

2. Hand starch your shirt

If the shirt is coloured, turn it inside out. Then, submerge the shirt into the water. Work it through and then squeeze out the excess water. You should only put one shirt into the water at a time.

this is a photo of a bowl of liquid starch and a shirt

3. Machine starch your shirt

You can also choose to starch the shirt in the washing machine. Put the shirt through one regular wash cycle and then pause it as it reaches the final rinse through the drum. Then, pour the mixture into the fabric softener dispenser or directly into the water.

this is a photo of a shirt going into the washing machine to be starched
this is a photo of liquid starch being added to the second rinse cycle of a wash to starch a shirt

4. Dry your starched shirt on a hanger

Put the shirt on a hanger and let it dry until it is damp. 

this is a photo of a starched shirt drying on a hanger

5. Iron your starched shirt while still damp

Remove it from the hanger once damp and iron your dress shirt at this time. This will make the shirt crisp and wrinkle-free.

this is a photo of an iron on a starched shirt while its damp

How to starch a shirt at home: quick tips

  • You should have enough water in the bowl or sink so that the shirt can move freely. Not enough water can result in a stiff shirt.
  • Use distilled water if you have hard tap water. If not, tap water should be fine to use.
  • Do not pour the mixture in and allow it to sit in the dispenser throughout the washing cycle, or it may cause clogging.
  • Make sure not to use too high of a heat setting if your shirt is made of a delicate fabric.
  • You can use the amount of water and starch recommended above, but you should check the directions on the starch label before creating the mixture.
  • Avoid putting the shirt into the dryer unless necessary. If you put it in the dryer, use a low heat setting (tumble dry low).
  • If a heat level is not recommended, use a high heat setting so that you will cook the starch.

While you are starching your shirt, you can look at starching other clothes you have.


Starching clothes at home is a simple process that you can do using store-bought powdered or liquid starch. Or use the corn starch in your kitchen cupboards. Put the clothes in the starch/water solution, then rinse and iron.

You can’t starch a shirt without starch. This will instead be called washing your shirt and ironing it.

To professionally starch your shirt, you must take it to your local dry cleaner.

No, you can’t starch your shirt without ironing. You need the heat and pressure of the iron to make the starch chemicals sit into the fabric of your shirt.