We all have our own preferences for how much starch we like in our shirts. By choosing no starch, light or heavy starch, we can choose how our clothing looks and feels. Starch offers a host of bonuses and drawbacks. The major benefits to starching are a cleaner, crisper look and improved resistance to stains and wrinkles.
However, the price we pay for this resistance is a possible reduction in the shirt’s wearlife due to a decreased resistance to bending and straightening. Light starch may be the answer to limiting the negative effects while gaining the benefits of starch. This way you’ll get a crisper shirt that’s got some stain protection, but won’t wear out quite as easily as a heavily starched shirt.
Here are some of the pluses and minuses to having your shirts starched:
- Starch can build up after repeated washings, often resulting in an undesirable stiffness. There is no method to prevent this or remove the build-up.
- Starch prevents stains from penetrating the fabric, making them easier to remove.
- Starch increases your clothes' resistance to wear from rubbing and helps your whites stay white more readily.
- Shirts using heavy starch will wear quicker in areas where they are repeatedly bent and straightened (elbows in particular).
- Starch reduces the fabric’s ability to stretch, making the collar feel tighter as though it has shrunk.
- The life expectancy of the average shirt is 35–50 washings. This will fluctuate depending on the amount of abrasion and strain you place on your shirts during wear. Other factors include the fiber content, type of fabric, degree of starching and sizing, and laundering procedures used.