The Truth about Non-Iron Shirts

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A typical men’s department today offers a wide range of choices in the way of dress shirts, and while they may be made using different blends of materials or from different manufacturers, one thing about most of them holds true—they all need to be ironed. All of them, that is, except for non-iron shirts. These wrinkle-free shirts gained popularity in the early 2000s when the demand for low-maintenance dress shirts really took off.

Today, they still account for a significant share of the dress shirt market, (about 25%) but interest in them is waning, as exhibited by steadily decreasing market share over the past few years. What was once trendy and purchased for the sake of saving time on ironing, has now been called to question as more attention has been brought to what actually makes a shirt non iron.

What’s really in those non-iron shirts

Regular dress shirts are usually made from cotton, polyester, or other natural material blends. Most assume that a special type of cotton or the way it is stitched together is what makes a shirt non iron, but for a long time, nobody really bothered to ask what that secret ingredient might be.

The answer is formaldehyde, or embalming fluid. Non iron shirts are typically bathed in a variety of chemical resins that are known to release formaldehyde, a carcinogen closely associated with cancer, which results in a shirt that is stronger and wrinkle resistant.

It might be argued that only when inhaling formaldehyde fumes cause cellular changes that can cause cancer, studies have shown that skin contact even in small amounts can result in rashes and blisters that can itch and burn.

Those with sensitive skin are the most susceptible — but most are able to wear the shirts without any issues, however...

Sometimes it’s best to stick with tradition

You might say that the non-iron shirt is the GMO of the dress shirt world. And just as people who are health conscious prefer organic and natural foods over GMOs, so too is traditional cotton. Untreated cotton shirts are typically a much safer and environmentally friendly choice over chemical laden materials. Our company, Standard Shirt, knows this and takes pride in producing a high quality, 100 percent cotton, formaldehyde free, made-to-last dress shirt.

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