All Hugh & Crye shirts are made of 100% cotton and should be cared for as a living, natural garment. In our experience, the best way to keep your shirts as fresh and crisp as the day that you got them is a cold wash, hang dry and iron.
1. Go ahead and throw your shirts in the washing machine with a mild detergent on a cold cycle, making sure to wash similar colors together. (You can wash the whites on warm).
- Always remove the collar stays before you launder your shirts, they're super important for maintaining a crisp, straight collar.
- Unbutton all the buttons on the shirt, including those on the cuffs and the collar (if it has any).
- The best way to get rid of collar ring (the stains on the inside of a collar) is to pre-treat the collar with by rubbing detergent or stain remover into the collar and letting it sit for a while before laundering. Doing this with every wash will keep collar ring from becoming a problem.
- If you have particularly sweaty, musty or smelly shirts, soak your shirts in a mixture of borax and white vinegar. You can do this in the washer and then run them through the wash cycle. Your shirts will come out fresh and odorless.
2. Once washed, hang the shirts up to dry, in your closet, the bathroom or outside--wherever you have space really. Do this as quickly as possible to prevent the shirts becoming musty.
- Heat is the enemy of all cotton garments. Avoid the dryer at all costs. The heat fundamentally changes the cotton in the weave, noticeably causing the sleeves to shorten and changing how the shirt feels when worn.
- Most washers have a spin cycle that gets most of the water out of the shirt. If not, go ahead and give the shirt a squeeze after washing to get the excess water out.
3. The best time to iron is when the shirts are still slightly damp. Take a cool iron to them and they will look brand new. If the shirts have dried up a bit, use a hotter iron with steam. Particularly tough creases may need a spray of water to release them.
- Iron the collar first, then cuffs, followed by the body of the shirt and finally the sleeves.
- Use only bottled water in a steam iron, this prevents staining of your shirts.
- Our dress shirts are well interlined, so starch isn't really necessary. If you follow the above instructions, you'll be able to get that perfectly crisp look without using starch.
Ironing Dress Shirts
Ironing dress shirts. It's a guy's retort to “child birth" in the competitive gender-based onesupmanship of Who Has It Worse (ok, maybe not). Still, ironing your shirts is a pervasive fact of life. Even those formaldehyde-soaked death shrouds we warned you about – despite the “non-iron" label - need pretty regular touching up. But ironing does not have to be a total chore, and no, you do not have to suck at it.
A few tips quick tips:
- A spray bottle with water works wonders.
- Spend a disproportionate amount of time on the collar – it's the part of the shirt closest to your face, and thus people are most likely to notice it.
- Starch is your frenemy (we wrote about this once before). A little can go a long way, but too much can shorten your shirt's lifespan. Caveat emptor.
There two types of ironers. One type irons them for the week on a Sunday afternoon, the other incorporates ironing into his morning routine. Peace of mind through daily ironing – who knew?
Whatever hardware you use and whenever you choose to iron, a couple more tips will serve you well:
- Stitching puckers in the wash. Stretching the seams at the collar, cuffs, sleeves, sides, and front placket will help restore your shirt's proportions before ironing.
- Iron your shirts when damp, but not soaked. Either let them hang dry for awhile after washing or let them spend 10 minutes tumbling in the dryer on low heat. Or, if they're dry, get out the spray bottle.
- Press the collar & cuffs from the ends toward the middle, first from the underside and then flip over to iron the outsides.
- We find the following order reduces do-overs to an absolute minimum: collar, yoke (the fabric covering your shoulders), back, left cuff & sleeve (front then back), right cuff & sleeve, left shirt front, right shirt front (left or right is inconsequential – the trick is to alternate sleeves and then fronts).
- Letting your shirt rest on a hanger for 30 minutes before wearing will help keep the shirt from wrinkling as soon as you put it on. The fabric needs to rest.
- For ironed shirts I don't plan to wear, I hang and button the top, middle, and bottom buttons. Good hangers help.
Why Our Shirts Aren't Wrinkle Free
Ok, perhaps that title is somewhat hyperbolic. But it contains an element of truth.
We get it. Ironing is a drag and getting your shirts pressed by the dry cleaner is expensive. There is perhaps no worse feeling than rolling out of bed, late for work, with nothing but wrinkled shirts to choose from. "Non-iron" or “wrinkle-free" shirts are convenient.
But, convenience always has a cost. Your button-down's state of permanent crispness is achieved by applying a thin film of a chemical compound composed of one part carbon, two parts hydrogen, and one part oxygen, more commonly known as formaldehyde. That's right, the same stuff embalmers used to keep grandma looking so fresh and so clean long after her expiration date and Young Frankenstein used to keep his experimental brains preserved is rubbing up against your precious skin every time you wear a non-iron shirt.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen – hence the post title. In addition to its cancer causing potential, it can also cause “burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation."
At Hugh & Crye, we're not just obsessed with creating shirts that fit. We are 100% dedicated to not killing our customers. It's just a matter of principle, and it's why we don't sell non-iron shirts.
Ironing sucks, but cancer sucks infinitely harder. The next time you're smoothing out the wrinkles of your gently rumpled H&C shirt, just think: spend 10 minutes ironing now and add years to your life later.