White shirts are a wardrobe staple, and there is nothing quite like the feeling of pulling on a crisp white shirt as part of your formalwear attire. So whether you only wear one for formal occasions or have a few on rotation weekly, we’re guessing you’ve landed here because you’re hoping to find out how to maintain a crisp white shirt.
How do you keep your shirts crisp?
A white shirt is easily spoiled by staining and incorrect care. However, as is the case with any garment, the more you look after something, the longer it will last and continue to look good. Save yourself time and money by trying these simple at-home approaches to ensure your white shirts are always ready to wear.
First, let’s look at some common reasons why your white shirt is not looking its best, including yellowing around the collar and armpits, incorrect washing methods and more.
What causes yellow staining on white shirts?
As with any light-coloured garment, stains, marks, and creases appear more obviously on white shirts. One of the most common issues is yellow staining around the collar area, neck, and armpits.
Yellow staining on your white shirt can ruin your entire look. Not only does it look unsightly, but not taking the proper measures to prevent yellow staining can also mean you need to spend more money replacing your stained white shirts.
So what causes yellow staining?
A build-up of dirt and oils from your skin can cause your shirt to turn yellow, and another culprit is potentially the type of deodorant that you use. Now, of course, we would never advise you not to wear deodorant to keep your shirt white as, luckily, there are things you can do to help this one.
How to stop white shirts from turning yellow
- Use aluminium-free deodorant
The aluminium that is included in many popular deodorants is the main culprit for causing yellow stains in the armpit area of your white shirt. The chemical reaction between your natural sweat and the aluminium causes the yellow staining to appear.
By using an aluminium-free deodorant, you can help combat this chemical reaction. Alternatively, some deodorant brands are specially formulated to reduce sweating and prevent yellow stains. Next time you're shopping for deodorant, check the label for ‘Anti-yellowing’ or ‘Anti Staining.’
- Wear an undershirt.
Depending on the material and opacity of your white shirt, you may wish to wear an undershirt or vest to act as a barrier between your skin and your shirt. Wearing an undershirt can help protect your shirt from sweat and staining from aluminium-based deodorants and other body products.
- Wash your white shirt immediately after wearing it.
Try not to let your white shirt fester at the bottom of the washing basket for too long. By washing or dry cleaning it as soon as possible, you are helping to treat any staining or discolouration before it develops further. We also recommend using an on-the-spot stain-removing product on any affected areas before washing.
- Use the sunlight.
This is a very seasonal approach; however, you can utilise the bright sunlight to help naturally bleach stains out of your white shirt. Simply wash your shirt and hang it on the line or drying rack in direct sunlight to air dry.
How to wash a white shirt to keep it crisp
It goes without saying that you should always follow the care instruction label on each specific shirt you are washing. However, if you’re looking for some general ideas on maintaining a crisp white shirt at home, here are a few recommendations.
- Soak your shirts ahead of washing.
Before washing your shirt, soak it in hot water with two cups of baking soda mixed in. Leave it in the water for a couple of hours before putting it through the washer with other whites.
- Use white vinegar.
Some people swear by white vinegar to help remove yellow or greyish tones on a white shirt. Try it out by adding half a cup of white vinegar to your wash and let the magic happen.
- Use a starch solution.
Starch not only helps your white shirt stay creaseless after ironing, but it also keeps your shirt cleaner for longer by actively repelling sweat. To starch your white shirt, firstly wash and dry your shirt, then lay it flat on an ironing board. Mix up a starch solution (starch + water) or use a pre-mixed starch spray. You can find these at the supermarket or online. Apply the starch evenly to your shirt and wait 10 seconds for the product to soak in before ironing as usual. Once ironed, hang up your freshly starched shirt to air out.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful and have discovered some practical ways to keep your white shirts bright and crisp. If you’re looking for the best selection of suits, waistcoats, shoes and more, browse our fantastic range of men's formalwear.