How to Wash a Dress Shirt

With proper care, custom dress shirts can last many years, so please follow the care instructions provided below. We recommend a wash and press before your first wear.

Option #1: Professional Laundry

Your local dry cleaner is a great option. It will result in minimal shrinkage and keep the ironing board in the closet. However, this is not "dry cleaning" as the cleaner will use water and detergent unless you specifically request dry cleaning for the shirt.

Option #2: Wash at Home

We recommend a cold water wash for darker fabrics, but warm or hot water is okay for white shirts or lighter colors. To minimize shrinkage, we recommend letting your shirt air dry on a sturdy hanger. If you do use a dryer, we recommend low heat and you should remove the shirt while it is still damp. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s best to iron the shirt while it is still damp. It makes ironing easier and keeps shrinkage to a minimum.

Some fabrics have different care instructions (generally shirts that are not 100% cotton), so make sure to look at the care label on your specific shirt for additional instructions.

Shrinkage/Stretching and Other Considerations
  • Most fabrics shrink 1-3% over the first few washes. This is normal and expected. We factor expected shrinkage into your shirt size, so please only evaluate fit after at least one wash.
  • Fabric shrinkage is most noticeable in the "length" areas (sleeves, collar, overall body length).
  • The way you care for a shirt can significantly impact how much a shirt shrinks. Casual fabrics are often more susceptible to high rates of shrinkage if cared for improperly (high dryer heat, for example).
  • We have seen an increasing amount of dry cleaners stretch shirts during their pressing process. If you notice that a shirt seems bigger after a trip to the cleaners, it may be worth inquiring with your cleaners about their pressing process.
Other Important Tips
  • Remove collar stays before washing or ironing.
  • Pre-treat or alert your cleaner to stains.
  • Hang your shirt on a wooden hanger when it’s not being worn.
  • Try to not leave shirts in the hamper for too long. Body oils can absorb into the shirt resulting in yellowing around the collar.

If you have any questions, we’re always available to answer them at customerservice@ratioclothing.com