How To Iron a Shirt 

By  Enda McLarnon

Believe it or not one of the most frequent questions that I am asked on here is how to iron a shirt or a blouse. Now, if you are an experienced person who has ironed a lot of these, you may well laugh, but if you have never done it before, there are a few useful tips that can make this job a whole lot easier.

Well-ironed shirts certainly contribute to a polished and professional look, making a positive impression in various settings, including the workplace and formal events. In addition to that, wearing a well-pressed shirt helps boost confidence, creating a sense of self-assurance and making individuals feel more together and ready to tackle the day.

Proper ironing also helps maintain the shirt's fabric integrity, preventing premature wear and tear, and ultimately extending the lifespan of the shirt.

Now trying to explain this in words is not easy so I will also use a couple of videos here to explain how to iron shirts properly so as they always look really good

Now if you have a good steam generator iron you can forget about the spray water bottle as that will take care of just about any wrinkle or crease that you can throw at it. As he says in the video avoid using the point of the iron as it does cause really annoying wrinkles at the seams, which I personally hate.

Benefits of learning how to iron shirts

  1. Learning to iron efficiently can save both time and money spent on professional dry cleaning services, allowing you to maintain your wardrobe at home.
  2. Knowing how to iron a shirt provides you with the ability to personalise your wardrobe, ensuring the clothes you choose reflects your unique style and preferences.
  3. Acquiring ironing skills is always going to be a life skill. Not an exciting one I agree, but it's always a useful thing to know.

Tools Needed

You do need a few basic things to iron any type of clothes:

  1. Ironing board - There are a couple of choices here, a full-sized ironing board, or a tabletop or compact ironing board  which are more suitable for smaller spaces or quick touch-ups. Just make sure the ironing board can be adjusted to a comfortable height to prevent back strain during use, and that it has a stable and sturdy base for safety.
  2. Steam Iron - There are lots of these to choose from on the UK market and they cost on average between £20-£30. Read about those here. Ideally it needs to have adjustable steam settings for different fabrics, adjustable temperature settings to accommodate various fabrics and a non-stick soleplate to prevent fabric damage and ensure smooth gliding. Most irons do have these, but avoid buying really cheap irons.
  3. Clean Water - In the ideal world use distilled water to prevent mineral deposits that can affect the iron's performance. Most people use tap water which does work but it may start to build up limescale in your iron and reduce its lifespan.
  4. Hangers - Choose a hanger made of a durable material to support the weight of the shirt. Padded or contoured hangers are ideal for maintaining the shirt's shape.

Quick Preparation

Here are some simple preparation tips:

  1. Identify shirt fabric - Examine the fabric content label on the shirt to identify the materials used (e.g., cotton, linen, silk, synthetic blends). Different fabrics may require specific ironing settings, ensuring the best results without damage. Match the temperature control to the shirt fabric.
  2. Ironing board - Place the ironing board in a well-lit area as that makes it easier to spot wrinkles and creases on the shirt. Any type of natural light or a bright overhead light source is best.
  3. The iron - Wipe the outside of the iron with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue. Check the soleplate for any sticky residues or build-up; clean it with a mild cleaning solution if needed. Turn on the iron and check that it heats up properly. Finally do a quick test on the steam function and temperature controls to ensure they are working effectively.
  4. Water -Follow the manufacturer's instructions for filling the iron with water. Avoid overfilling, as it may lead to water leakage during the ironing process.

Step by Step Ironing Process

List of Steps

Step 1 - Collars and Cuffs

  • Lift the collar and place it flat on the ironing board. Begin ironing from one collar point to the other, using smooth, controlled strokes. Pay attention to both sides of the collar, working from the centre outward to maintain symmetry. Press gently to avoid flattening the collar too much while ensuring the removal of wrinkles.
  • Unbutton the cuffs of the shirt to lay them flat on the ironing board. Smooth out the fabric and ensure it is tight without any wrinkles. Iron the inside of the cuffs first, then the outside, using the same smooth strokes.  Pay special attention to the edges of the cuffs to achieve a crisp, polished look. When ironing around buttons, use caution to avoid the buttons themselves. If the shirt has removable metal collar stays, take them out before ironing.
  • On some shirts the cuffs are designed to be ironed while buttoned. In that case insert the narrow end of the iron into the cuff to reach all areas without unbuttoning.
  • If the shirt has a collar stand (the strip of fabric that connects the collar to the shirt), iron it carefully to main
  • After ironing the collar and cuffs, double-check for any remaining wrinkles.

Step 2 - Yoke and Shoulders

  • Start at one shoulder and gently press the iron onto the fabric, moving towards the centre of the back. Continue across the yoke to the other shoulder, using smooth and controlled movements. Repeat this process, gradually moving downward towards the middle of the shirt back. Pay attention to any seams or wrinkles, adjusting the shirt as needed to ensure even ironing.
  • As you iron the yoke, make sure the sleeves are hanging off the sides of the ironing board, ready for the next step in the ironing process.
  • Make sure the collar is laid flat over the yoke and ironed seamlessly to create a polished appearance. Check for any creases or wrinkles near the collar and address them during this step.
  • If the iron has a steam function, consider using it to help relax and smooth out any stubborn wrinkles on the yoke and shoulders. Hold the iron at a slight angle to allow steam to penetrate the fabric without excessive moisture.
  • After completing one side of the yoke, repeat the process for the other side to ensure uniform ironing. Maintain a systematic approach to cover the entire yoke area before moving on to other sections of the shirt.

Step 3 - Ironing the sleeves

  • Start ironing from the shoulder and work your way down towards the cuff in a smooth, continuous motion. Pay very close attention to the sleeve seams, ensuring they lie flat and are free of wrinkles. If the sleeve has pleats or details, iron them carefully to maintain their structure. Flip the sleeve and repeat the process for the other side, maintaining a consistent and controlled ironing technique.
  • If the cuffs were unbuttoned during the previous steps, reposition them so that they hang off the ironing board. Iron the cuffs using the same smooth strokes, paying attention to both the inside and outside surfaces. Ensure the edges of the cuffs are crisp and well-pressed.
  • Use the steam function of the iron to address any stubborn wrinkles on the sleeves. Keep the iron moving to prevent excess moisture buildup.
  • After completing one sleeve, repeat the process for the other sleeve, ensuring uniform ironing. 
  • After ironing both sleeves, double-check for any remaining wrinkles or creases. Make sure that the sleeves are smooth, well-pressed, and free of any wrinkles before proceeding to other parts of the shirt.

Step 4 - Front and Back of the Shirt

  • Lay the shirt's front panel on the ironing board, starting with one side. Smooth out the fabric, ensuring it lies flat without wrinkles. Begin ironing from the top near the shoulder, moving downwards towards the lower hem.
  • Pay attention to the area around buttons and the placket, using caution to avoid damaging the buttons. Glide the iron over the front panel in a systematic manner, addressing seams, pockets, and any details.
  • Lay the back panel on the ironing board, making sure it is evenly spread and free of wrinkles. Iron from the top near the shoulder, moving towards the lower hem with smooth and controlled strokes. Pay special attention to seams, ensuring they lie flat, and iron around any details on the back of the shirt.
  • Smoothly iron over the side seams as you work on both the front and back panels to maintain consistency.
  • Take care when ironing over buttons or the placket, lifting the iron slightly to avoid damage. Iron around the placket for a neat finish, ensuring the buttoned areas are well-pressed.
  • Use the steam function to address persistent wrinkles on the front and back panels.
  • After completing one side (front or back), switch to the other side to ensure uniform ironing.
    b. Maintain a systematic approach to cover the entire front and back panels of the shirt.
  • Have a final check for any overlooked wrinkles or creases on both the front and back panels. b. Ensure the shirt is uniformly ironed, paying attention to details around buttons, pockets, and seams.

Step 5 - Final Touches

  • Have a good look at the entire shirt, focusing on all sections, including the front and back panels, collar, cuffs, sleeves, and yoke. Identify any areas where wrinkles or creases may still be present.
  • If you spot remaining wrinkles, lay the specific area flat on the ironing board. Use the iron to gently and carefully smooth out any creases or wrinkles, applying controlled pressure.
  • Pay extra attention to details such as seams, buttons, and edges to ensure a polished appearance. Adjust the ironing technique based on the fabric type and the severity of the wrinkles.
  • Recheck the collar and cuffs for any creases that might have reappeared during the overall ironing process. Smooth out these areas using gentle strokes to ensure a crisp finish.
  • Stand back and assess the shirt as a whole, ensuring a consistently smooth and wrinkle-free appearance.
  • Once satisfied with the ironing results, either hang the shirt on a sturdy hanger or carefully fold it to prevent new wrinkles from forming.

How To Iron A Shirt Professionally in 90 Seconds

Tips for Different Shirt Fabrics

Fabric Type

Ironing Tips


Use a high-temperature setting on the iron. Mist the fabric with water before ironing for better results. Iron the shirt while it is slightly damp for smoother results. Pay extra attention to collars, cuffs, and button areas


Use a high-temperature setting on the iron. Iron linen shirts while they are still damp for better results. Mist the fabric with water or use steam during ironing. Be cautious with excessive pressure to prevent fabric damage.


Use a low-temperature setting to avoid damaging the delicate fabric. Place a clean cloth or press cloth over the silk while ironing. Iron on the reverse side to protect the fabric's sheen. Avoid using steam directly on silk; use a gentle mist if needed.


Use a low to medium-temperature setting to prevent melting or damage. Iron inside out to protect the outer surface of the synthetic fabric. Avoid prolonged ironing in one spot to prevent overheating. If in doubt, check the care label for specific ironing instructions.

These tips are general guidelines, and it's always advisable to check the care label on each garment for specific recommendations. Adjust the ironing settings based on the specific requirements of the fabric to achieve the best results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Underheating or Overheating the iron -  Adjust the iron temperature according to the fabric type. Too low may not remove wrinkles effectively, while too high can damage or scorch the fabric. Always test the iron on a small, area before ironing the entire shirt.
  2. Always read and follow the care labels on clothing for specific washing and ironing guidelines. Different fabrics may have distinct care requirements, even if they look similar. Check labels individually for accurate instructions.
  3. Ironing over stains can set them permanently. Address stains separately before ironing to avoid making them harder to remove. Ironing over a wet or fresh stain can spread it to other parts of the fabric. Allow stains to dry before attempting to remove them.
  4. Ironing clothes that are too damp can result in water stains. Ensure clothes are only slightly damp or use a misting spray for better results. Ironing excessively damp clothes may result in steam burns. Allow clothes to air dry a bit before ironing.
  5. Rushing through the ironing process can lead to wrinkles being overlooked. Take your time to ensure each section is adequately ironed. Hasty ironing increases the risk of accidents, such as burning yourself or damaging the garment.
  6. Ironing directly on delicate fabrics without a press cloth can lead to scorching. Use a clean cloth or press cloth to protect sensitive materials. Irons can sometimes transfer residue or color onto light-colored fabrics. A press cloth helps prevent this issue.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a more effective and safe ironing process, preserving the quality and appearance of your shirts.

Hopefully I have provided you with enough information on how to iron a shirt. It does take some practise and the key things to remember are, not to rush ironing these. Shirts are not cheap to buy so you want to avoid any silly ironing mistakes. A properly ironed shirt looks great, so worth taking the time to do properly.

Enda McLarnon owner of the Steam Gen Reviews UK website

Enda McLarnon

I hope that you find my How to articles helpful as I know that laundry can be a real chore. On this website, I have tried to help out with buying guides and reviews for the many forms of ironing and other laundry issues.

Enda McLArnon

We have chosen products we think you will really like and may earn a commission from links on this page. Read about why you can trust our reviews and recommendations.

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January 30, 2024

If you have ever wondered how to iron

September 16, 2023

In this article we explain how to wash

March 6, 2018

Aside from ironing board covers, and cleaning a

July 28, 2017

It is a fact of life that most