How to Iron a Military Uniform

Rows of recruits wearing Navy whites
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20
What You'll Need
Washing Machine
Ironing board

A military uniform must be kept in top condition. It must always remain spotlessly clean. This guide will help you to obtain a perfect, sharp edged finish to your uniform. Remove any medals or badges from the uniform then wash it inside out in cold water. The cold water will help maintain the newness of the material. Do not use a fabric softener as this will make the material too soft for starching. Check the washing machine before starting the cycle to make sure there are no items that could release even a small amount of dye.

If you are washing a Navy dress or whites it is best to wash them alone or with other white items. For Navy dress whites, make sure that every item used in the process is completely clean and will not transfer any marks onto the uniform.

Step 1 - Tumble Cycle

Once the wash is complete, place the uniform into a dryer for about 5 minutes. Be sure the uniform is the only item in the dryer. The purpose of the tumble cycle is to warm up the fibers within the fabric before ironing. When you remove the uniform from the machine, place it on a hanger immediately to prevent any creases from forming.

Step 2 - Prepare Iron and Ironing Board

iron on ironing board

This step should be completed while the uniform is in the washer or dryer to minimize the time that the uniform will be left on the hanger. Set-up the ironing board and iron. Begin with a low setting on your clothes iron and fill with water if your model requires it for steam.

Step 3 - Iron the Jacket

Place the jacket inside out on the ironing board. Beginning with the front half, spray the fabric liberally with starch from a distance of about two inches. Place a lightweight cloth between the uniform and the iron to protect it from transferring any stains that might be on the iron. Begin ironing with quick, short strokes immediately after applying the starch. Once the first half is complete repeat the process with the back of the jacket and the other front half.

Iron the sleeves inside out first, then turn them the right way and place a clean, damp white cloth over the sleeve. Press hard in order to create the sharp crease. Finish by ironing the collar. Once you are finished, place it on a hangar immediately.

Step 4 - Iron the Pants

ironing cloth on an ironing board

If the pocket flaps are not sewn down begin by ironing them. Move on to the front and seat of the pants using quick, short strokes to remove any wrinkles. Then hold the pants up by the bottom of one leg and line the fabric up so that the crease is precisely centered between the seams. Apply starch and iron then repeat the process for the other leg.