How to perfectly iron your shirt

Like most men, the thought of doing my own ironing quickly surfaced feelings of rancor and vexation. The shirt would always end up slightly ironed, but in the process, I'd create a whole slew of unexplainable wrinkles in previously ironed over areas. And although your mom/ girlfriend/ roommate Randall makes it look about as uncomplicated as using a microwave, it never really is... Until now!

Follow this handy 6-step guide to ironing and you'll be wrinkle free and slightly more useful to your mom/ girlfriend/ roommate Randall!

What laundry care labels actually mean

Step 1

Check the laundry care label. If it indicates that you can iron the shirt, cover the ironing board with a towel. This is going to provide extra protection for your shirt, especially the buttons. 

If your shirt is damp and/or just out of the washing machine, you’re good to go to step 2. If not, use a spray bottle to spritz it down with water, roll it up in a ball, and let it set for 10 minutes. Always iron a damp, not dripping wet or bone dry, shirt.

Step 2

Pop your collar and start with the underside, maneuvering your iron from one collar point to the other. Turn your shirt over and iron the outside of the collar in the same way.

Step 3

Unbutton the cuffs and, same as the collar, start with the inside and then iron the outside. As you iron, push all the uneven wrinkles to the edges of the fabric. 

Step 4

Time for the front. Start by ironing the side that has the buttons on it, and work the front of the iron around the button area. Never iron directly over the buttons. Once that’s done, work your way back and forth from the shoulder to waist until, well, there are no longer wrinkles. Repeat on the other side of the shirt. There is no need to iron the inside of the front of the shirt.

Step 5

Flip the shirt over with the collar resting on the point of the ironing board, and the two unbuttoned front parts of the shirt hanging off the side. Start from the top of the shoulder area and slowly work your way down to the bottom of the shirt. Repeat as necessary. 
First Class Ironing Service

Step 6

This is the toughest part, but your ironing confidence should be through the roof by now. The problem you're about to encounter is that you're ironing two layers of fabric at once, so it is imperative that the sleeve lays flat and totally wrinkle free.

Take the sleeve and place the cuff on the non-pointed end of the ironing board. Match the crease up when folding the sleeve on the board. Once that's done, work your way from the shoulder area where the sleeve is attached to the shirt down to the cuff. Turn the sleeve over and repeat the process on the other side. If you’d rather not have a crease, you can always insert a rolled up towel inside the sleeve and proceed to iron crease-free. 

6 warnings

1. Never iron a dirty shirt. You’ll set the stains. 
2. The iron is hot enough when you drop a bit of water on it and the water sizzles. 
3. If you accidentally iron in a big wrinkle into the shirt, spray it down with water, wait a minute, and iron the area again.
4. Always keeps the iron moving on the shirt to avoid burning/scorching.
5. Empty the water from the iron while it’s still hot. This’ll reduce moisture buildup in the water compartment.
6. Heavy duty irons are going to be more expensive, but you'll get better results in less time. Use $20 as a benchmark and you'll get find some great options.

Christopher DiScipio is a staff writer for Thrillist Media Group and he struggles ironing his sleeves. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisDiScipio