Eagle Cleaners: Shirt Experts

The Starch/Shirt Relationship

Starch and sizings are laundry additives that can increase the firmness of fabrics, particularly dress shirts. A study conducted by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, the Association of Professional Drycleaners showed starch and sizings can both protect and harm shirts at the same time.

Shirts undergo two types of abrasions:

  • Flat abrasion: the abrasion that occurs when the shirt rubs against any other surface.
  • Flex abrasion: the stretching of the fibers when the wearer bends an elbow, or otherwise stretches the material.

Starch Qualities:

  • Adds protection to shirts
  • Enables shirts to withstand higher degrees of flat abrasion
  • Stiffens fibers & makes them less flexible – reducing the degree of flex abrasion a shirt can withstand

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is the measure of how well fabrics and fibers resist breaking under tension. Evaluation by DLI’s Textile Testing laboratory found that shirts with medium starch and no starch had similar tensile strength. Variances in tensile strength were evident between shirts with no starch and shirts with heavy starch.

After 10 laundering cycles, the tensile strength results on the shirts with no starch was 29% higher than the results on the shirts with heavy starch. Even after 25 and 50 cycles, there was still about a 20% difference between the two groups of shirts.

Heavy starch and sizing can decrease the tensile strength of fabrics not by degrading the material directly, but by increasing its rigidity.

Starch’s Function

The major function of starch is to add body or stiffness to a fabric which in turn will produce little flexibility. This lack of flexibility causes the fabric to snap when tested rather than stretch, which decreases the fabric’s tensile strength. Starched and sized shirts were laundered to remove the starch and tensile strength was retested. The results indicated a significant increase (30%) in tensile strength after starch removal.

The life expectancy of a shirt is shortened by the use of starches and sizings by reducing its ability to bend, stretch, and straighten during use, according to the IFI study. Balancing out those negatives are the bonuses of having better whiteness retention, a crisper look, and increased resistance to staining.

Shirt Experts

Eagle Cleaners is your business shirt expert! We make the crispest and cleanest shirts to make sure you’re looking your best. We have proudly taken care of over 3 million shirts! You can trust us to make #TheEagleDiffernce to your garments.


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