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Removing Starch from shirts

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

One of my dry cleaners' employees mislabeled a batch of my dress shirts and they were heavily starched.  I normally have no starch added and accept that a little with get into the shirt through the laundering process but these shirts are rock hard and loaded with starch.

 

I want to try to get as much out as I can personally before sending them back to a dry cleaner.  Does anyone have a tip as to how to rinse the starch out of the shirts?  Is there a solvent or method to use?    

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dancingbear View Post

One of my dry cleaners' employees mislabeled a batch of my dress shirts and they were heavily starched.  I normally have no starch added and accept that a little with get into the shirt through the laundering process but these shirts are rock hard and loaded with starch.

I want to try to get as much out as I can personally before sending them back to a dry cleaner.  Does anyone have a tip as to how to rinse the starch out of the shirts?  Is there a solvent or method to use?    

Washing it in hot water with detergent usually would do the trick
post #3 of 8
Agreed, washing them at home by hand or machine will remove it.
post #4 of 8
Washing will do it, but a child rinse without detergent should do the job. But if you have your shirts laundered, why bother? The cleaner should fix it for you.
post #5 of 8
I meant "cold" rinse.
post #6 of 8
The correct approach depends on the type of starch used by the cleaner: corn or wheat, or heavens forbid, synthetic starch. Before you can proceed to remove the starch you need to ask your cleaner to identify the type of starch they use.

Corn or wheat starch should dissolve relatively quickly by soaking in water (cold, warm or hot), followed by a short cycle wash.

Synthetic starch is a very different animal. Synthetic starch bonds to the fibers like glue (because that is exactly what it is!) and may require multiple soakings and full washes in hot water to dislodge.

In any case, your cleaner should be responsible for returning your shirts to you in a manner consistent with your personal preferences. Exercise your rights.

There is one other issue: In order to minimize the number of wash loads they need to do, many cleaners sort their shirts into "starch" and "no starch". if you asked for none or light you get "no starch"; if you asked for medium or heavy you get "starch". At these cleaners, how much starch is put in the "starch" load depends on a number of factors, including who is running the washing machine that day, how much starch that individual feels is appropriate given the number of shirts in the load, and on the alignment of the moon, the sun and the earth.

For more information on this subject of starch.....

Blog post: Why your light starched shirts feel stiff

Blog post link: http://www.ravefabricare.com/true-quality-cleaning/2010/8/19/why-your-light-starched-shirts-feel-stiff.aspx
Edited by stubloom - 11/25/12 at 10:44am
post #7 of 8

Informative post Stubloom. I suppose I have been lucky with cleaners who do not use synthetic starch. On the rare occasions that I wash my dress shirts myself, or when they retire from business to casual wear, the starch comes out with the first wash.

 

So far, my cleaners do seem to honor no, light or heavy starch requests. Both my old and newer cleaners have been high volume outfits, so perhaps it made business sense for them to run loads at different starch content.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

 

The cleaner is a small family shop with only a few employees.  The error was due to a new front counter person mislabeling the ticket. I decided to give them another shot, but wanted the starch out before sending them back.

 

I ended up doing 2 extended soaks and then 2 washes.  1 with detergent, then 1 with vinegar.  Seemed to work.

 

stubloom: great info on the different starches.  I will be sure to ask what they use.

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