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How to Iron a Tuxedo Shirt

Just when you think all the wedding details are in order, you are handed a limp, wrinkled tuxedo shirt. Left in its original package, mashed in a suitcase, washed by accident in a last-minute laundry-scramble--the history matters very little with only an hour to go before the big event. Follow the steps below to turn out a handsome, freshly ironed tuxedo shirt. It may be your first foray, but it may not be your last.

Things You'll Need:

  • Clean tuxedo shirt
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Spray bottle or water to sprinkle on shirt by hand
  • Two clean dish towels (not terry-cloth)
  • Bottle spray starch
  • Wax paper

Spray the shirt until it is damp. If you have no sprayer, run water over your hand and sprinkle with your fingers. Roll the damp shirt in one dish towel. Set it aside.

Set up the ironing board and iron. Check the care tag in the shirt. If is is 100 percent cotton, set the dry iron on a cotton setting. If shirt contains any synthetic fiber, set the dry iron on wool (you'll have to work a bit more slowly, but this helps prevent scorch).

Unroll the damp shirt and turn inside out. Beginning with one side of the front, iron the shirt body, sleeve seams, sleeve, shoulder and back side of the cuff. Proceed to the back of shirt. Working from the tail up, iron the body, shoulder and back side of the collar. Conclude with the remaining side of the front. Turn the shirt right side out.

Turn shirt right-side out. Re-iron the sleeves, both surfaces at the same time, leaving a crease (blouse sleeves may be seamless, but even custom-ironed shirts have creases). Leave the cuffs alone. Re-iron the back of the shirt and both sides of the front, as far up as the pleated panel.

Spray the right side of cuffs, the collar and the pleated front panels lightly with spray starch. Covering each area with dry dish towel (to prevent scorch), iron the cuffs, the pleated panels and the collar.


Since you may face ironing a tuxedo shirt on an emergency basis, use wax paper to stiffen the cuffs, collar and pleated front if you have no spray starch. Place wax paper on the area to be stiffened, cover with a paper towel (it won't burn, though it may brown slightly). Iron, check, do again with a fresh sheet of wax paper if more stiffness needed. This is an old tip from the 1950s, when wax paper was used to re-stiffen crinoline petticoats--some girls used sugar-water, but it was icky to sit on.

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