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Starch 101: Layman’s Guide to Starch

Starch 101: All You Need To Know About this Common Dry Cleaning Agent

You’ve probably heard the phrases, “hold the starch,” or, “extra heavy on the starch,” at your local dry cleaner. Not sure if you want or need starch? Let’s discuss what it is and what it does.

Starch is most often used on dress shirts for men, which are also one of the most commonly serviced items. Clothing starch can help give shirts a crisp, clean look, making them appear fresh from the store. Starch actually comes from plants like corn and potato, so it’s completely safe and organic.

Since heat activates starch, the amount used determines the degree of stiffness that occurs when a garment is ironed. This is where variations occur in how people like their shirts starched.

In addition to making cleaning easier, starch can help a garment hold its shape. Businessmen, for example, often like heavy starch so that their dress shirts look just as good at dinner meetings as they do in the morning. Be advised, however, that using more starch will make it likelier that a shirt will wrinkle and crease.

Others avoid using starch because they prefer a more relaxed fit. A good dry cleaner, however, will not over-starch, so you never have to worry about filmy residue or receiving an overly stiff garment.