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Starch Madness to starch or not?

Using Starch

In some parts of Texas, there are still people who like the look of ultra-starched jeans and shirts. To use or not is a personal preference.  It’s important to know that not all clothing will react to starch in the same way.  Fabric thickness and weight determine a stiffness saturation. Poly blends don’t absorb starch at the same rate as cotton shirts. Dark shirts do not respond as well to being starched and will begin to develop a “shine” if overly saturated.  You should never starch a garment that is “wrinkle-free”.  Some people shy away from using this material because they think it will make their clothing overly stiff, but that is not the case.

Adding some amount of starch provides crispness to the body of a garment and you’ll be less likely to develop a wrinkled shirt while wearing it over the course of a day.

What is Starch

Commercial laundry pressStarch is a carbohydrate produced by all green plants as a source of energy. When mixed with warm water, it creates a thick, sticky paste. It’s used in the commercial laundry to stiffen fabrics. This substance is added to the actual wash cycle and then garments are actually dried when placed on the press. The press gives shirts their shape and form.  Shirts that receive no starch in the actual wash cycle will feel stiffer than shirts washed and dried at home due to the heat from the metal press. If you prefer hand-finishing over machine finishing, then you should have your shirts processed on the dry cleaning side. 

Most neighborhood cleaners starch their shirts with a cheap synthetic glue (it’s polyvinyl chloride commonly known as PVC). Synthetic PVC adheres to your shirt’s fibers like a coat of paint and each time it is cleaned, another coat gets added. Corn starch is another alternative, but the particles do not stick to the fibers as well and do not provide a lasting finish.

Quality Dry Cleaning Service in Austin

At Westbank, we use a combination of fine natural and synthetic materials that dissolve immediately in water. The combination of the two allows for consistency and staying power so your shirt looks perfect every time.

Heavily starched jeans