Once they get the hang of it, many men find ironing to be relaxing, almost meditative, in its execution. It’s an opportunity to transform something unsightly in its dishevelment into a uniform of order and authority…OK, so you ain’t buying it. Fine. Then we’ll make it real simple: You could be the savviest man in your division, but if you come in every day looking like you’ve just returned from sleepaway camp, you’re asking to get treated like a junior counselor. A cleanly pressed shirt is as essential to proper business attire as brushed teeth are to personal hygiene. So if you’re no longer living at home, and you can’t afford a valet, you better pay attention to the following:
Fill an iron with distilled water (sold in bottles at the grocery store), especially if you plan on using the steam setting (almost always recommended, especially for novices, as you are less likely to burn fabrics with the addition of mist and steam).
Set the iron to the temperature recommended on the care tag. 100% cotton and linen will need a high setting; cotton blends call for medium heat; and polyester, rayon, nylon, silk, acetate and acrylic, will all need a low heat setting. If you are unsure about the setting, be safe and use a cool iron.
Unbutton the shirt and unfold the collar.
Use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen cotton shirts (and only cotton shirts).
Iron the backside of the collar first, then the topside.
Unbutton the cuffs and iron the inside, then the outside.
Iron sleeves by sliding the sleeve over the point of the ironing board. Only the top of the sleeve will fit. Rotate the sleeve around until all sides have been pressed.
For the remainder of the sleeve, place it flatly on the ironing board, making sure that both the top and bottom layers are straight and smooth. Gently iron the sleeve without ironing a crease into the edges. Flip the sleeve and repeat.
Lay one side of the shirt’s front on the ironing board, gently stretching the cloth flat against the board. Move the iron smoothly, at a medium speed, over the cloth. Never let the iron stop moving--it will leave a burn mark.
As you move the iron, make sure the fabric stays flat so you don’t accidentally iron a wrinkle into your shirt. If you do, spray it down and re-iron it.
Repeat steps 10-12 for the back of the shirt and the opposite side.
Make sure to iron around the buttons, not on top of them.
Always iron all parts of a shirt, even though a coat and tie will cover certain areas.
Hang up your shirts immediately after ironing to keep them wrinkle free. Button the top and center buttons.