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Article: Taking care of the shirt extends the life of the garment

Paidan huoltaminen pidentää vaatteen ikää

Taking care of the shirt extends the life of the garment

I decided to write a story about something as simple as shirt maintenance, i.e. how to keep the shirt clean from wash to wash and ironed correctly.

Wash cycle

For cotton and linen shirts, I use it as a rule of thumb to wash it when something other than the smell of cleanliness has stuck to it. That is, if the armpit area smells something other than the mild smell of laundry detergent, the shirt can be washed. In winter, the same shirt can last a few days, but in summer, the shirt may have to be washed after one day of use. It depends a lot on what you do with the shirt.

With or without an undershirt?

One way to extend the wash cycle is to wear the t-shirt under the shirt as an undershirt. Some consider this "wrong" and others consider it a normal way to save clothing. Personally, I don't like that the seams of the undershirt show, so I like to go without a t-shirt. But many may need to wear an undershirt due to, for example, sweating or chafing of the nipples. However, remember to wear a deep V-neck shirt if you are wearing an undershirt, as flashing your undershirt is considered a style mistake.

If we look again at the history of the men's shirt, initially only the better-off could afford an undershirt and the working class always wore the shirt without an undershirt. Of course, at that time you never wore a t-shirt in public anyway, because it was an undershirt. But I saw a little perspective on the use of the undershirt.

The undershirt is also used for warmth in winter and to protect against deodorant staining. After all, deodorant can ruin an expensive shirt, and it's often caused by aluminum in the deodorant. I definitely recommend giving up aluminum-containing deodorant, because it does turn t-shirts yellow from the armpit really quickly. A good-quality deodorant does not contain alcohol or aluminum, like, for example, Cefiro by Floris.


Let's get back to that washing. Good quality cotton and linen shirts withstand washing well, which means they won't change shape, shrink or fade. Always follow the washing instructions and wash clothes in groups of the same color. I personally wash all white and light-colored shirts and t-shirts at once, because they are all pure cotton and they all have the same washing instructions. Remember to remove the detachable collarbones before washing. If there is a special stain on the shirt, I recommend taking it directly to the laundry. By washing myself, I have rarely succeeded in removing real stains. It is also good to remember to wash the shirt "fresh", i.e. you should not collect dirty shirts for many weeks, but the shirt should be washed as soon as possible after use.

Mixed shirts are more challenging, i.e. shirts with some artificial fiber in addition to cotton or linen, so I have given up using them completely. The biggest problem with these is that, in my opinion, they don't breathe properly and it's hard to be with them.

I usually treat the parts of the shirt that get dirty with a stain remover, even if the dirt is not necessarily visible. These points include the cuffs (especially if you wear a watch and/or bracelets) and the collar opening where the neck meets the shirt. I don't have to treat my armpits because a good quality deodorant doesn't stain.

When the shirt comes out of the wash, I shake it well and hang it on a hanger to dry. It's good for the hanger to be wider than the model, so that it doesn't press drying marks on the shoulders of the shirt, and anyway the shirt can dry more freely.

Unfortunately, a poor-quality shirt can only be recognized after a couple of washes. The fabric deteriorates and the shirt may lose its shape. Pure cotton alone does not guarantee good quality, because cotton fabrics are also of many qualities.I personally use Reykjavik District and Giovanni Rosmini shirts, which are proven to be excellent casual and party shirts

värikkäitä kauluspaitoja


Actually, I was originally supposed to write this article just about ironing a shirt. Of course, the shirt must always be clean and ironed. The shirt can be helpfully ironed with a normal iron and ironing board. In this case, you will only get ironing stripes on the sleeves, unless you are really careful. However, there is a tool for this, the sleeve board.

The sleeve (or the leg of the pants) is threaded onto the sleeve board and it can be comfortably ironed there without having to iron the "press seam" at the same time. This board in the picture is the one I inherited from home, but a quick google revealed that sleeve boards are still available for sale. So some good things seem to be preserved.

But a better solution than a sleeve board for ironing a shirt is definitely a steam iron (see the following pictures). A steam iron is a device that blows hot steam, which straightens the fabric. The steam iron is not pressed against the fabric, but the hot steam straightens the fabric. The fabric does not get wet and is immediately ready for use. With such a device, we actually "iron" all the clothes that come to the boutique that might get wrinkled during transport. The steam iron is suitable for many types of fabrics, but I would be very careful with silk, because the steam is still at 100 degrees. With the device, even thicker fabric can be straightened, such as, for example, wool fabric or a wool blazer.


The Singer brand steam iron in the picture was bought from Ompelukone in Turku. As I recall, the price of the device is a little over one hundred euros, so it is not a very expensive purchase. On the other hand, placing the device in a small utility room can be a bit tricky, because it cannot be made smaller in practice without unreasonable effort. I personally consider a steam iron the best way to iron any garment.


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