A Mans Shirt Is A Womens Problem.

By Alison May 16, 2006 No Comments 4 Min Read


Good HouseKeeping Magazine, 1951.

Most men are particular about their shirts. They seem to get as much psychological uplift from the knowledge that the whole shirt is perfectly laundered from top to tail as a woman does from sheer silk undies.

The uninitiated quail before the formidable example of a well-finished, professionally laundered shirt, but, if the task is tackled step by knowledgeable step, the results will soon please the most exacting husbands.

Washing. Use a good soap—either soap jelly or soap flakesand hot water and enough soap to make a " live " lather. In a hard-water district, soften the water or use a soapless detergent. Cuffs, neckbands and collars need the closest attention, so scrub with a soft brush. If you are using a washing machine, rub soap on the soiled parts before putting the shirt into the machine.

Perspiration stains are not always removed by routine washing. It helps to soak the affected areas in borax and water (1 oz. to 1 gallon) before washing.

Rinse the shirts well and boil for a short time if they are of white or fast-coloured cotton or linen. White cotton or linen shirts need to be bleached occasionally. For this use a good proprietary bleach (one with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Guarantee) and follow the maker’s instructions carefully. After using a bleach, rinsing is most important; at least two clear waters are necessary and, if there is the slightest smell of bleach, rinse again.

Starching. Starching is the next step, and it needs a little experience to get the right stiffness. Individual preference counts for quite a lot. Normally 1 part full-strength starch diluted with 6 parts of water is sufficient. To make full-strength starch, mix 1 tablespoonful of powder to a smooth paste with 3 table-spoonfuls of cold water and then pour on boiling water until the starch clears. Immerse the whole shirt in the correctly diluted starch and move it about freely to ensure that every part is starched, and then put it through the .wringer to remove the excess. Collars need a full-strength starch unless they have a special finish which makes starching unnecessary. Rub the solution well into the collar and then squeeze before drying.

Drying and Dampening. Shake before hanging out and peg to the line by the tails. A shirt correctly dampened makes all the difference to ironing. Use warm water, in a bottle with a sprinkler top. Moisten the shirt evenly, roll loosely and put aside for a few hours before ironing. A word of warning here: beware of mildew, especially in warm weather. A damp shirt left for a couple of days may produce a crop of mildew stains which will be almost impossible to remove.

Ironing. Now for the ironing. Leave yourself enough time to do it properly and remember it is essential to iron each part until it is absolutely dry. If you do not, the garment will be limp.

First iron double parts, that is the seams, hems, yoke and front pleats, on the wrong side. Turn right side out and iron the neckband on both sides and the yoke on the right side. Iron the cuffs on both sides and round the placket. Begin at the edge and iron towards the centre to avoid little creases at the edge. Iron the way of the buttonhole to avoid gaping. So that there will be no crease down the sleeve, lay the sleeves along the board with the under-arm seam towards you and press to within £ inch of top fold. Turn and iron on the other side, pressing well into the gathers. Then refold and press the unironed strip. Next the body of the shirt is ironed, the back first and then the front, stretching the front facing well. If you are ironing on a table, iron the back on the same principle as the sleeves, folding in halves so that you can work first on one half, then on the other, and doing gusset and hem first. Finally, button the shirt and give the finishing touches with a warm iron. Air without crushing.

Collars must be ironed on the wrong side first, pushing the fullness over the top and lower edges. Then iron on the other side until the collar is quite dry. Press heavily to get a good shine…

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