Non Iron Shirts – Good or Evil?

Hailed as a modern day miracle by many modern businessmen, the non-iron business shirt brings some much needed joy and time saving to the morning rush. Like most innovations in their early stages, it also brings a fair share of controversy and strong opinions.

Live The Dream

Just_Like_MagicIts early. The alarm has woken you an hour earlier than you’d prefer, as it does every morning. Ahead, it’s another day at the office, but you’ve got to get through the morning routine first.

Shower done. Shaved. Coffee on. Ironing board out. Iron on. Here we go again. If only your shirts would magically appear from your wardrobe, as pressed and crisp, ready to go. Just like in the movies.



Enter, The Non-Iron ShirtBrooks_Brothers_NonIron_Shirt

The promise of a shirt that doesn’t need ironing is almost too good to be true, but that doesn’t stop the overwhelming need to try them out. I mean, seriously, if you can look just as good, but avoid the chore or ironing, why wouldn’t you. It just makes sense.

Sadly, many of the early entrants in the non-iron category used polyester blends. Even though they made the shirt somewhat resistant to wrinkles, unless you were very careful about the process of washing and drying, ironing was still needed. But worst of all, the shirts lost the luxury feel of pure cotton and could be quite hot and uncomfortable.

Thankfully, todays offerings from such reputed shirt makers as Charles Tyrwhitt, Van Heusen, and TM Lewin are all of much higher quality. The promise of wash the shirt, dry the shirt, wear the shirt, has been made a reality.

The Controversy

Currently, the process of making a shirt non-iron involves treating the shirt in a type of chemical mix, and it does contain formaldehyde which has been known to irritate some peoples skin. Early on, such shirts has a reputation for being hot and uncomfortable, and even losing their non-iron properties after a number of washes. As you would expect, cheaper shirt have had more problems with this, which could be from using cheaper or poorer quality chemicals in the treatment process.formaldehyde

Environmentalists have also criticised the treatment process and obviously the chemicals used, and the argument has gone back and forth as you might expect. Is it better or worse for the environment on balance? This argument is one that has no clear winner.

Status Update

Today, the process continues to be refined, with the treatment becoming lighter, and the quality of cotton improving. Some manufacturers are even working with a new, softer and lighter cotton that will require no treatment at all (hopefully). Currently, they only promise wrinkle resistance, not ironing free, but we can live in hope.

Non-iron shirts have certainly risen above the sluggish beginnings, with the majority of some maker’s sales coming from their non-iron options, and the sales are only increasing.

Business men who find themselves travelling for work, have always been challenged with how to pack their business shirts to minimise creasing and limit the time and effort they are going to need to spend ironing while away. Non iron shirts have proved a blessing, to theThe_Traveller point that some brands are even marketing them as “the Traveller”.

Non-iron shirts are here to stay, and as long as the process continues to made safer with less impact on the environment, that can only be a good thing.

What has your experience been with non-iron shirts? I’d be curious to know? Leave your feedback below. Thanks


4 thoughts on “Non Iron Shirts – Good or Evil?

  • October 31, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Hi Gavin, great post! Wish the non-iron shirt was around when I was ironing my husband’s business shirts many years ago. There has been great advancement since then! Your’e right, don’t want any impact on the environment, but in this day and age with everyone in a rush, a good quality non iron shirt is every man and womens dream.

    • November 7, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Sharon, I know what you mean. The daily ironing of a shirt for work is a chore that no one loves, so anything that makes this easier is a good thing in my book. I’m all for helping the environment but I think we have to pick our battles as everything seems to have a trade off one way or another. However, I am glad that the process seem to be improving and using less chemicals.

  • October 31, 2016 at 8:25 am

    environmental issues?… do you drive a petrol powered car??? not an issue… these shirts are AWESOME!!

    • November 7, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Yes I know what you mean. I’ve had some shirts that even after a solid ironing session, still looked like they needed professional help! I’m a big fan of the non-iron range, although for me it’s more a case of “much less ironing”, as I don’t like to use a dryer unless desperate, and prefer to hang them to dry. I have heard cases of some people having some skin irritation from cheap non-iron shirts, but this seems to be a thing of the past as processes are improving all the time.


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