Consumer Alert: No-iron shirts

(National) February 20, 2007 - These days many offices do not require employees to wear dress suits.

For many a sharp, wrinkle-free shirt will do. And now there are plenty of no-iron shirts available that claim they don't need to be pressed.

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

For a crisp, wrinkle-free look, Consumer Reports says more and more manufacturers are making no-iron shirts that are 100 percent cotton - a 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 the shirts tended to have dryer instructions stating to remove promptly when the dryer stops.

But with one, even if you are standing by waiting for the dryer cycle to end, you won't get wrinkle-free results. The $25 Merona shirt - the least-expensive tested - came out quite wrinkled.

But for the most part, you can expect pretty good results. Tester Pat Slaven says, "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 was the $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 - they come in nine different colors. That's more colors than any of the other shirts. Consumer Reports says it is also made from a thicker fabric, as are the L.L. Bean and Stafford shirts.

Posted 9:34pm by Chantelle Janelle