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Apparently, I’ve been ruining shirt collars because of one little mistake.

Note: I was doing laundry yesterday and remembered that I did not always know I should unbutton shirt collars. It’s a serious habit for me now, but I figured a republish of this reminder might be helpful!

Hopefully the rest of you have been smarter laundry-doers than me, but just in case you haven’t….

For the last few years, I’ve noticed that Mr. FG’s work shirt collars have been wearing like so:

why is my dress shirt collar wearing out

The problem wasn’t on the edge of the collar like you’d expect.

And for the longest time I could not figure out what the problem was.   But then I remembered how when the shirts come out of the wash, the collar is usually laying cock-eyed like this:

how to ruin a shirt collar

Rather than like this:

how to not ruin shirt collars

Basically, the collar is wanting to straighten out in the wash, but since the buttons are trying to hold it in place, the collar ends up bending at an odd spot.

And the edges of the cock-eyed collar were getting rubbed raw in the wash.


Plus, because the collar was getting bent in the wrong places, the stiffness of the collar was becoming compromised.

Obviously, the solution is to just unbutton the collar buttons before putting the shirt in the wash.   That way the collar can move freely and it won’t wear thin as it’s washed and dried.

how to keep dress shirt collars safe in the wash

I feel pretty silly for not having realized this until now, and I’m kind of bummed out that some of Mr. FG’s dress shirts are kind of unwearable for work now, simply because of the collar issues.

Such a waste.

But better late than never, I say! And now that I’ve figured this out, his current work shirts are safe.


P.S. I browsed around the internet to see if I’m the only person this has happened to, and most of what I came across said to unbutton things to reduce wear on the button stitching.   So I guess even if your shirt collars are weathering all right, it’s still a good idea to unbutton before washing.

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Chris McEnery

Friday 25th of September 2020

What causes casual shirt collars to fray?

Wei Liu

Friday 19th of June 2020

Hi, thank for sharing.

However, this is only the one side of the story. This must be what the washer/dryer told you: "It's you problem not us". :-)

The washer and dryer may still have issues? Do you think it's more wear from washer or dryer? Are thy too old? If you do what you suggested, the wear will only move to the edge of the collar.


Monday 9th of March 2020

Good tip!


Sunday 8th of March 2020

We are lucky, no-one in our house wears formal attire, but glad you've solved your problem.


Sunday 8th of March 2020

More than once I have turned collars from front to back because my daughter was great at melting them while ironing.

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