Consumer Alert: No-iron shirts

(National-Consumer Reports) Feb. 20, 2007 - While offices have gotten much more casual, for many events only a sharp, wrinkle-free shirt will do. Now there are plenty of no-iron shirts available that claim they don't need to be pressed. Consumer Reports just put them to the test.

A dry cleaner specializes in cleaning and pressing shirts, they have special equipment to make sure shirts come out wrinkle-free.

"People are looking for crisp, clean shirts and you get that more in a cleaning service as opposed to doing it at home," said Angela Gioffre. She owns a dry cleaner.

For a crisp, wrinkle-free look, Consumer Reports says more and more manufacturers are making no-iron shirts that are 100 percent cotton, a nice step up from the stiff, polyester blends in the past.

Testers just evaluated nine different cotton, no-iron shirts from names like Brooks Brothers, Lands End and L.L. Bean. Prices ranged from $25 to $75. Thirteen panelists wore up to four different shirts two to three times each.

"But most of the shirts had very specific dryer instructions, stating to remove promptly when the dryer stops," said Consumer Reports' Pat Slaven.

But with one, even if you are standing by waiting for the dryer cycle to end, you won't get wrinkle-free results.

A $25 Merona shirt -- the least-expensive tested -- came out quite wrinkled. But for the most part, you can expect pretty good results.

Said Pat Slaven, "The wrinkle-resistant finish on these shirts is generally a formaldehyde treatment. It does make the cotton a little more brittle, which can decrease the life, but in the long run you're going to save money on your cleaning costs."

Top-rated in Consumer Reports' tests, $75 Joseph A. Bank traveler pinpoint all cotton. It stayed wrinkle-free all day.

Rating nearly as high, but for a lot less money, are three best buys. They're the L.L. Bean, Lands End and Stafford by JC Penney -- shirts that each cost $40.

Another plus for the top-rated Joseph A. Bank shirts is that they come in nine different colors, many more than any of the other shirts.

Consumer Reports says they're also made from a thicker fabric, as are the L.L. Bean and Stafford shirts.

Posted 5:50pm by Bryce Mursch

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