Five Ways to Keep Your White Shirt Clean

A sharp white shirt is one of the most versatile and stylish items a man can wear, though it can be a challenge to keep them looking whiter than white.

Bright white is especially tricky to maintain if you wear it day in, day out, but there are things you can do to prolong the ‘life’ of a white shirt.

Wash Shirts Regularly

By regularly, we mean after every wear. Don’t leave it more than one wash because you’ll give any dirt or oil a chance to build up and set it, making it harder to wash out.

Make sure you stick to a whites-only load and add some white wine vinegar – half a cup – to the load beforehand. This household must-have is a really effective cleaner thanks to its levels of acidity, which can break down the sweat and other grime that builds up during wear.


Soap, but not too much. Adding too much detergent to your wash can have an adverse effect and instead of cleaning your shirts can make them look grubby. Soap coats the cloth during the washing process, and if there is too much in the machine, there is a risk that it won’t rinse properly, leaving brilliant white looking rather dull. Measure properly and don’t just guess!

Strength in Numbers

It makes sense that if you are going to be wearing it regularly, buy several of the same shirts so you look the same but are wearing one shirtless often. Reducing the number of times you wear something will clearly prolong its life.

Touchy Feely

If you’re wearing something regularly, looking smart is important but it also has to feel good. Use your hands as well as your eyes when you’re shopping, and if it feels like a good-quality shirt, it probably is. It will wear better and wash better, and if you prefer men’s designer shirts in other colours, heavier fabrics will retain their colours better too.

Once you know how to keep your shirt brilliant white, you’ll need to know how to style it, and The Idle Man has some good ideas.


If you can, it might be worth getting a regular professional clean. It’ll come back clean and ironed, and it’ll go with anything.