We have already discussed in previous articles the best way to remove a stain from a dress shirt, and here we want to answer the question - what is the best way to wash a dress shirt? If you look after your shirt and wash it properly, you will be able to go on wearing it for several years, while maintaining it's fresh and clean look.
Many people just hand their shirts straight over to the dry cleaners, whether they be dress shirts, work shirts, or other. Dry cleaners don't however necessary 'dry clean' shirts unless this is what you have specifically asked for. Many will wash the shirt in a regular washing machine with detergent, and then press it. Depending on the method the cleaner uses, this can be hard on the shirt, perhaps shortening its life, however it is convenient and relatively inexpensive too, and so favoured by many people despite the downside. It is possible to dry clean dress shirts, however we don't really recommend this. While it may prolong the life of the garment, it will be difficult to remove water-based staining and grime, and they may not appear as fresh as when laundered in a regular way. This can also be an expensive way to get your shirts cleaned too.
Washing a dress shirt yourself at home is far from the inferior choice. By washing the shirt at home, this allows you to have control over the temperature your shirt is washed and ironed at, potentially extending it's life beyond that which professional cleaners might give it. Any stains on the shirt should be pre-treated first, before machine washing it, and then considering they are not grimy, it is recommended that dress shirts are washed in the machine on a delicate cycle. If they do require more cleaning, then a normal cycle should be good enough - you don't want anything too harsh. Similarly, the detergent you use should be high quality to ensure that the shirt gets clean on a delicate wash at a low temperature. This means that it will be more gentle on the fibres too. It is recommended that you unbutton all buttons on the shirt, including collar and cuffs, before washing it. We think it best that you don't tumble dry your shirts, basically because air drying is always best for the fibres of the garment.