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Shirt collar stains - no iron cotton

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Leo Jay, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    I recently purchased some no-iron 100% cotton shirts for the first time, and whatever it is that the fabric is treated with to make it wrinkle-resistant, oddly seems to also make the fabric more susceptible to soiling at the collar and cuffs. What's more, the soiling is more difficult to remove than with regular cotton -- normally just pre-treating the collar works like a charm, but even with pre-treatment, these emerge from the wash slightly soiled.

    Has anyone had this experience with wrinkle-resistant cotton and/or can anyone recommend a good treatment for this?
     
  2. j

    j Well-Known Member

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  3. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    I never really understood wrinkle resistant cotton. Makes about as much sense as non-flammable matches. The non-wrinkle process is accomplished by baking the shirt in an oven soaked in some sort of chemical formulation. Or so I've been told - but that was enough to dissuade me from seeking any further information. I assume you are referring to normal 'ring-around-the-collar' and not wine, ink, or somesuch. Then, if you've tried a Borax bar soap like Octagon rubbed in with a toothbrush and let soak wet overnight in a plastic bag to no avail, you're s.o.l. Sorry. Next time you want wrinkle free, buy Microfiber. If you'll settle for fewer wrinkles than most cottons, go for a high-end cotton twill of 140's/2 or better.
     
  4. shqiptar

    shqiptar Well-Known Member

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    That is an occurance with other shirts too. I apply stain remover 5 minutes before throwing into the washer and so far it has worked fine.

    As for the white shirts, I use the traditional meditarrenean technique: put all the white shirts in a big metal bucket, boil them for about 1-1.5 hours in hot water mixed with small slices of normal soap.

    After that, I leave them soaked overnight. The next thing is to throw them into the washer or best of all wash them by hand. Hand-washing is worth for the expensive white shirts worn only on special occasions.

    If these don't work, simply learn the lesson. Good luck.
     
  5. VMan

    VMan Well-Known Member

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  6. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    I actually never got around to trying it, but I did go buy the oxy clean. I can't remember what I did to that shirt, but it cleaned up okay. I may have used k2r on it actually.
     
  7. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Well-Known Member

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    Sharpies work quite well, actually. With a bit of creativity, a stain can be turned into a pattern ... and everyone will want to know where you got the great new shirt. Sharpies only - everything else lightens too quickly. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Versaceman's exhaustive process might be useful with a much-loved old friend with whom I was reluctant to part, but I'd rather cut my losses than go through all that with a new shirt.

    I do already have some Oxyclean around, so I'll try a simple pre-treatment with that, or maybe some Octagon soap.

    I'm not sure I like the W/R finish anyway -- makes the fabric look a bit synthetic to me. And the chemicals I smell when I give them a quick once over with the iron are a bit unsettling.

    Which brings me to a related question: how best to make a home-laundered shirt look crisp? I'd traditionally used spray starch, but as I become more health-conscious in my old age, I'm increasingly disturbed by the inevitably of inhaling that stuff in the process. I don't like an overtly starched look, but I do like some crispness.

    What do you guys do? Do you just go with a more natural 'soft' look?
     
  9. johnw86

    johnw86 Well-Known Member

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    I use a steam iron on my oxford cloth shirts, and heavy spray starch on pinpoints and broadcloths. Is there something I should know about spray starch and health concerns? [​IMG]
     
  10. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    I haven't researched it, but clearly, it can't be good for you. I'm sure the EPA considers it 'safe' when used 'as directed', but... that's doesn't mean it's healthy. It's like saying that eating at McDonald's is 'safe' when done in moderation... I'll let you know if I find some specific information.
     
  11. HeyYouItsMike

    HeyYouItsMike Well-Known Member

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    A lot of products deemed "safe" by the EPA and FDA are banned by other countries.
     
  12. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Are you worried about the propellant in the starch can, or the starch itself? Or the fumes from ironing it? I've (unintentionally) breathed in all kinds of stuff in spray cans over my short years, and I can say the spray starch is one of the nicest things to work with. If you are truly worried about it, take the shirt outside to spray it down and then iron it, perhaps with a fan blowing the "fumes" away.

    I have given up on starch anyway, it's too much work. I've gotten just as good results without the danger of burning starch into my clothes by simply changing my laundry workflow. By taking the shirts out of the (low heat) dryer after 10 minutes or so, they are still damp and iron out much better than if they are either hung dry (spin cycle wrinkles) or dried entirely and then re-dampened with a spray bottle. The latter is my second preference. The only better thing would be hand washing and hang drying to a damp state, then ironing, but that's far too much work for me. I've gotten my laziness level balanced well with the work required for a serviceable result.
     
  13. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    It's the aerosol propellant that I'm concerned with.  Though spraying outdoors would help, I'd still inevitably inhale some of it.  If I wasn't too lazy to wash my shirts by hand, I'd try using a small amount of good old-fashioned cornstarch...
    Maybe I'll try that.  I had recently decided to stop putting my shirts in the dryer because I figured it would be better for them, but I've found that without the benefit of softener sheets my shirts dry too stiff.

    Thanks.
     
  14. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    I don't use softener sheets at all. Wasn't the whole goal to get the shirts stiffer? [​IMG]
     
  15. johnw86

    johnw86 Well-Known Member

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    I use the "10 minutes in the dryer" method too (doesn't leave them too wrinkled), but I let the shirts hang to dry before I iron them.

    I guess I'm not too worried about the spray propellant--considering all of the inhalants--legal inhalants used according to the directions--I've dealt with in my life, a few more whiffs of spray starch aren't going to kill me.
     
  16. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it does sound contradictory [​IMG] , but a fabric-softened shirt seems easier to iron, even if I'm using spray starch; without the benefit of softener, the wrinkles from the laundering process seem to become more 'set in' once the shirt becomes fully dried. Â This applies especially to oxfords. Â But it may be just that my water 's particularly hard.
     
  17. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Well if you're drying them all the way, and then ironing, you'll never get the fabric smooth, so I can see why you'd try softener. I don't have experience with hard water, so that may change things, but my shirts started looking 10x better when I stopped putting them all the way through a dry cycle.

    If you do dry them all the way, or too far, mist the fabric with a spray bottle (use distilled water if you are picky, I don't bother), then roll the shirt up and if you have time put it in a plastic bag for a while to sort of steam itself damp. If not, just mist and roll or just mist, then iron.

    Another important step that I didn't know before reading it somewhere (maybe Martha Stewart?) is to allow the panel of fabric to cool for a few seconds without moving it, after ironing it out. That is, spread the fabric over the board, iron it (lengthwise strokes only lest you stretch the fabric out), and then let it sit for 5-10 seconds to allow the fibres to set flat, before moving to the next section.
     
  18. Leo Jay

    Leo Jay Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tips. FREE MARTHA.. [​IMG]
     

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