How Do I Properly Wash and Dry a Dress Shirt?

How Do I Properly Wash and Dry a Dress Shirt?

So you’ve just purchased a nice dress shirt – congratulations! But after the initial excitement of your new gear, the question may have crossed your mind about how to wash and dry it properly. Should you hand or machine wash it? What if you want to bring it to the dry cleaner? And do you really need to wash it after each wear? We explore some of the answers to the most common questions we get here.

There are three main ways that you can wash your men's dress shirt, each of which we will detail here - including Washing Machine, Hand-Washing, and Dry Cleaning. Choose which way is best for your preference and convenience!

 Machine Wash Shirts

Machine Washing

Yes, most dress shirts (including our performance xShirt 2.0 and xShirt 3.0 options) can be thrown into the machine for washing (check the tag to make sure). This is the easiest way to take care of your shirt, and the method that most of our customers prefer. To do so, first unbutton the shirt’s buttons and pre-treat any marks with a cleaning pen or other substance. After that, set your washer to regular cycle and with cold water temperature (default for most newer washing machines).

[wait patiently for the washing machine to go or catch up on some Netflix episodes]

OK, all done! Now time for the drying. You can also dry your shirt in the machine, but we have found that hanging it to dry provides the best effect for long-term wear. Anyway, it is quite simple to do, especially if you have an xShirt - which has strong water and wrinkle-resistant qualities, so you don’t need to break out the iron. To dry it this way, simply take it out as soon as possible after washing, shake it a few times, and put it on a hanger (better to use a nicer hanger instead of those metal, wire-y things). Soon it will be all ready for your next use.


  • Wash on cold and low cycle to keep a longer lifespan if not stained (i.e. just dirty from normal wear)
  • If you encounter a stain that is particularly stubborn, pour boiling water over it and soak with some baking soda or vinegar, then put it through the wash as normal.
  • As with other clothes, be sure to separate your washing load for white shirts and dark ones, to avoid fading. When washing plain white shirts, you can use detergent with bleach in it to make it brighter. Otherwise, use detergent that is bleach-free.
  • xShirts are made to be durable, but its not a bad idea to put them in a washer bag to prevent them from getting caught on anything

Hand Washing Shirts

Hand Washing

Some people like to hand-wash their nicer clothes, and there is nothing wrong with that. This process can give you a real feel for the clothing and understanding of the process, but on the downside it takes a bit more time and effort.

If you are such the “hands-on” type, you can use a sink or a plastic basin, which you should fill with cold water. Then add about 1 tbsp (15 mL) of a mild detergent to the water, with bleach component optional for white shirts. If you have any stains of the shirt, you can pre-treat them with a stain remover or stain-removing laundry bar. Next, press the shirt into the detergent and water, and swirl and turn it around in the sudsy water. This can be a bit of a soothing experience, so you might want to throw on some nice and relaxing music in the background! After doing this for a few minutes, you can let the shirt soak for 10-15 mins. 

After the shirt is done soaking, drain out the dirty water and run the shirt under some cold water to remove any soapage. At this time, you are ready to dry it – you can follow the same as the air-drying process above in the machine wash section for that!


  • Its possible that some material shirts will require warm water to wash – you can see the label for this indication
  • Don’t make yourself too uncomfortable by using freezing cold water… its not necessary and it should be comfortable for you to do 

 Soaking Shirt in Suds

Dry Cleaning

The third option to consider is taking your shirt to the dry cleaners, or similarly having a hotel or clothes pick-up service do it for you. This might be the easiest for you – especially if you have other clothes to dry clean – but is also the most expensive method.

And also, there’s actually a catch! Most likely, the cleaners are not going to actually “dry clean” your shirt, as it’s not necessary. More commonly, they will do a wash and press, which will give not-that-much different results than the machine wash method above. But anyway, if you feel free to leave it to the professionals and get a nicely pressed shirt back in the dry cleaning bag, feel free to go ahead with it. 

 Shirts Hanging in Room

Do I Need To Wash My Dress Shirt After Each Wear?

While some people prefer to err on the side of washing their dress shirt after each wear, you can likely be totally fine with giving it 2-4 sessions. This is especially if you have an xShirt, which keeps odors and wrinkles away – so nobody will ever know. If you wear an undershirt tee, then this is especially the case, as it will protect most of the sweat or other body marks from getting on the shirt.

Of course, there are a few exceptions to this. If it is a particularly hot and sweaty day, or you’ve done a lot of outdoor activity, or have any types of stains – then you’ll be better off washing it. But if you are just sitting in your office or doing a few Zoom calls, there is no need to wash it each time. Afterall, each wash cycle gives the shirt some wear, and it also uses the time and environmental energy that may not be needed.

All this talk of shirts got you motivated to upgrade your dress shirt game? Check out our post about the 6 Key Factors That Make Up an Awesome Men’s Dress Shirt to learn some more how to select a perfect option to make you look and feel great.