Although many people assume that it is difficult or expensive to iron with starch, the process is actually quite easy to accomplish cheaply at home. Professional dry cleaning services offer added convenience, but you can achieve a similarly crisp and starched clothing appearance with some simple techniques at home. Read on for advice about how to mix starch for ironing purposes and use it during your ironing.
How to Make Starch
Starch that is used for ironing purposes is typically a combination of cornstarch and water. Although you can purchase commercially manufactured ironing starches, which often contain additional scents and ingredients, you can just as easily create your own starch spray mixture at home.
Mix 1 tbsp. cornstarch with 1 cup of water. You can increase the concentration of the starch for added crispness in your clothing. Stir the cornstarch into the water until it is entirely dissolved, then transfer the mixture to a small spray bottle.
Ironing a Shirt
When ironing a shirt with starch, begin by ironing the back and front of the shirt body. Ensure that you have set the iron to the appropriate temperature for the type of fabric that you will iron. Lay the shirt over the ironing board so that the sleeves hang over the sides.
Begin by ironing out the large creases in the back of the shirt. Move the iron steadily but not too quickly. Do not stop the iron during the ironing process, as you run the risk of burning the shirt fabric. Be careful to iron the pleats of the shirt down along the pleat. Once you have ironed the surface of the shirt that is laid out upon the ironing board, move the shirt so that all other sections of the body are available for ironing. Take care while ironing the front of the shirt. Avoid ironing over the buttons, although you may iron between them safely.
Continue by ironing the sleeves of the shirt. Lay them out flat upon the ironing board and iron around the buttons. Follow the crease from the shoulder of the shirt down, and try to iron along that crease all the way to the cuff of the sleeve. At this point, you are ready to starch your shirt.
Starching a Shirt
Begin by starching the collar of the shirt. Spread the shirt out and spray starch over the inside of the collar. Before it dries, iron the inside of the collar flat. Continue ironing the collar until the starch has dried completely. Next, reposition the shirt so that the outside of the collar is over the ironing board. Repeat the process by spraying starch over the collar and ironing it flat until the starch has dried. A starched collar is less likely to fold under than an unstarched collar, even if it is ironed.
Next, iron the cuffs of the sleeves and the buttonholes. You can repeat the process of starching and ironing from the collar of the shirt. When you have finished, hang the shirt to dry. You will have a crisp, clean shirt that retains its shape over many hours of wearing.