Non Iron Shirts vs Natural Cotton Shirts

Dudes who prefer non iron shirts value convenience, low maintenance, and a polished look. Dudes who prefer natural cotton shirts value the breathability and a softer style.

Non iron shirts or natural cotton shirts?

Why we prefer natural cotton shirts

We’ve paid attention to the nuances of natural cotton shirts vs non iron for nearly twenty years. The style and charm of natural cotton shirts is what we want for our customers. Natural cotton has a natural ease. There’s something authentic in how untreated cotton drapes and rumples.

On the other hand, wrinkle-resistant shirts are convenient and save time ironing.

Reports claiming non iron shirts are unsafe

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both released articles on the potential hazards of non iron shirts. Generally, non iron shirts are saturated with a formaldehyde-based solution to achieve their wrinkle-free surface. The shirts are then baked to “fix” the chemical solution into the fabric. The formaldehyde-based solution bonds cotton fibers together, minimizing how the fabric creases.

Opponents of wrinkle-resistant shirts have multiple concerns: absorption of chemicals into the body when wearing, exposure to formaldehyde by apparel workers. In addition, there is an overall risk of chemicals polluting waterways.

Proponents of wrinkle resistant shirts believe the amount of formaldehyde used is safe and does not cause skin irritations (although the US government does not regulate formaldehyde levels in clothing). To our knowledge, there are no published reports of wrinkle resistant shirts harming people beyond skin irritation. 

We made non iron shirts from 2004 to 2008, we had no reports of skin irritation. We discontinued non-iron fabrics as we learned more about the potential hazards. However, we don’t know if wrinkle resistant shirts are harmful, we advise men to consider what they are comfortable wearing.   

A quote from the WSJ article: “As everything moves to being more environmentally friendly, these artificial shirts seem out of step,” said Greg Broom, founder of MixCraft, a New York juice-drink brand. Mr. Broom likes his cotton shirts the same way he prefers his fruit juice: pure and pressed. “Wearing formaldehyde, the chemical used in embalming, has never sounded tempting to me,” he said.

Non iron shirts debated in online forums

In these threads, you’ll read why men value each type of shirt differently. You’ll see both have their fans.

Here’s a Reddit thread that debates the pros and cons of both shirt types.

And here’s an Ask Andy About Clothes thread on this topic.


If you have thoughts about this article, please reach out to us at support@toddshelton.com.

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