Tips for laundering collared shirts

Wow, exciting post, huh? But seriously, this tip was a major win for me when I discovered it.

I’ve been using home-made laundry liquid for about a year now. It’s so, so much cheaper than using ready-made liquid or powder. And it’s pretty quick and easy to make!

After a few months of trying my own liquid I decided to stick with it. Shortly after that, my husband started wearing collared shirts to work. Yay for me! He looks great in collared shirts (as opposed to t-shirts, which he also looks good in, but not exactly “smart” if you know what I mean). On the flip side, there’s more laundry work involved in collared shirts. And ironing! Hmm, well I don’t iron them anymore, and he seems to be coping. πŸ˜€

Dirty shirt collar
Dirty shirt collar

I found after only a couple of washes that the collars and sometimes the cuffs would get dirty and grey where the fabric rubs a lot against the skin. Let’s not go into what causes this, shall we, and skip right ahead to how I deal with it. πŸ™‚

A measure of laundry liquid ready to go
A measure of laundry liquid ready to go

First up, I measure out my 1/2 cup of laundry liquid that I usually add to every wash (this is a very small teacup). Then I take an old toothbrush, dip it in, and scrub along the areas where I know the grey dirt builds up.

Rubbing with a toothbrush
Rub the dirty area well with the toothbrush

It only takes a minute to do a shirt. I will often also scrub the tag, because those are mostly polyester and tend to get dirty faster than the shirt itself.

Tags get dirty too
The tag often gets dirtier than the shirt

I also check the cuffs at the same time, especially if they require cuff links. This particular shirt seems to get dirty faster than the others he owns, and the cuffs need a scrub today.

Check the cuffs too
These cuffs also need a quick scrub

Once I’ve done each shirt I poke it into my front loader and move on to the next one. I wash on the “easy-care” cycle (hoping to avoid some ironing, and assuming it is a gentler cycle). Handkerchiefs and other delicates go in with the load, but I make sure not to put too much into the drum, otherwise it just doesn’t wash well.

I tip the rest of the teacup into the laundry liquid slot on my machine, and wash on cold. This gets those marks out of his shirts every time! And since I do this every wash, I have to squint to see the grey marks that appear after only one wear. I guess it’s one of those jobs that’s easier if you keep on top of it πŸ™‚

I find this toothbrush technique works really well on other stains too:

  • blood (always use cold water when laundering these stains),
  • washable markers
  • chocolate
  • light mud soiling, etc.

I dry collared shirts in sunlight, on a hanger. I find this means I rarely have to iron the shirts because any wrinkles fall out under the weight of the damp cloth. Most shirts labelled “Easy-care” work well for this, but the mostly-cotton shirts do okay as well. I find the easy-care shirts suffer more from the grey marks than the cotton ones.

So there you go – a simple tip that really helped me feel satisfied with my frugal laundry routine. I hope you find it useful too. πŸ™‚

4 thoughts on “Tips for laundering collared shirts

    1. Thanks Jo! I hope it works for you, too πŸ™‚

      BTW, I checked out your blog and it looks like I’ll have to explore some more about permaculture! Lots of lovely images πŸ™‚

  1. Hey Jess, can we have the recipe for your home-made washing detergent please? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to know what it is. Thanks!

I really love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s