Non Iron Wrinkle Free dress shirts seem to be all the rage now. They are easy to wear and easy to care for but not every shirt is worth your time, money... or even your health!
100% Cotton Might Not Mean 100%
The vast majority of Non Iron Wrinkle Free dress shirts on the market are made of a combination of cotton and synthetic fibers, even if the label reads 100% cotton. Due to loose regulations a shirt maker is only required to list additional materials in the fabric if the secondary fibers exceed a certain percentage of the entire garment, meaning that 100% of any one material may not truly be 100%.
This greatly affects the quality of the garment and may result in shirts that don't last as long as they should. The synthetic fibers are not as strong or breathable as cotton and could warp or even break. They are mostly found in big box and department stores.
Most No-Iron Shirts Are Treated With What?
Most non iron wrinkle-free shirts are treated with a chemical bath of resin and formaldehyde. The resin hardens the fibers and creates ladder like cross-links between them while the formaldehyde "embalms" them. The result is a botox-like effect that freezes the fibers in place. This is what makes the shirt maintain its shape. Keep in mind that this process works great for making the shirt do what it's labeled to do, but all those chemicals can be absorbed into your skin or inhaled.
To keep it in perspective, be aware that formaldehyde is not only used for dead things in jars in the high school science lab, but is a common additive to plastics, particle board and plywood. There's no hard evidence that shows the levels of toxins in the shirts are harmful, but the thought of putting those chemicals on or in my body makes me shudder. Small amounts have shown to cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. If you have a pesky cough or mystery rash, we might have found the culprit.
High Temperatures Not Best For Non Iron Shirts
Many no iron wrinkle free shirts are not designed to be cleaned and pressed at a professional dry cleaner or laundry. The higher temperatures of the hot water used to wash shirts and the higher temperatures of the steam presses to press the shirts at a professional laundry can cause discoloration of the resins used to hold the seams during manufacturing.
We Found A Good One
As a Professional Dry Cleaner in Birmingham Alabama, we've seen tons of different dress shirts. We've found one brand that is made differently from what I described above. Andrew J shirts are a Non Iron Wrinkle Free choice made using high heat instead of chemicals. During my research I spoke with Ken at Metzgers, a retailer of fine men's and women's apparel in Mobile Alabama. I learned that due to their quality, Andrew J shirts are the only Non-Iron Wrinkle Free shirts he'll carry. And they have the added benefit of being stain resistant!
Non Iron Shirts Not Best For The Professional Laundry
If you plan to take your dress shirts to a professional laundry for washing and pressing, I suggest you not buy Non Iron shirts, other than Andrew J. Since other Non Iron Dress Shirts are not intended to be washed and pressed at the higher temperatures at a professional laundry, why buy these No Iron shirts anyway?
Wash New Shirts Before Wearing To Remove The Chemicals
Either way you go, we recommend that you (or your professional laundry) wash your dress shirts before wearing. Stop by Champion Cleaners, a Professional Dry Cleaner in Birmingham Alabama for all your Dress shirt needs.
Professional Shirt Laundry by Champion Cleaners in Vestavia Hills (205.824.7737), Highway 280 at Greystone (205.408.2797) and Calera (205.668.4727)