I am a very frequent wearer of Oxford and madras mens' button-down shirts (particularly from J. Crew; admittedly not the highest quality anymore, but they're relatively affordable compared to other upscale brands). I can't afford regular dry cleaning, so I clean my shirts using the washing machine and dryer. While in the past I've not had noticeable issues, I've recently noticed that the fabric in the collars of my shirts are fraying a little bit. I'm not sure what the problem is. I wash using the "colors" mode and dry using the "colors" mode as well (those are among the options on the machines in my building).

I'm sure I'm doing something wrong. Can you please let me know what the best way to wash / dry button-down shirts is, so that I keep the fabric and material intact?

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    Longer fiber cotton wears longer. It's likely you're using appropriate care, but the quality of the cotton has decreased. BTW, I've noticed the same issue with my shirts, and with pants cuffs. The fabric is not as good, now, I'm a frayed. Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 19:52
  • Is the fabric as good now as it used to be? I'm a frayed knot. Commented Sep 8, 2023 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


Probably the issue is with drying. Use low heat or even no heat and take them out of the dryer while still damp and continue drying on a rack … if you use the dryer at all. If that doesn’t help enough use gentle cycle on the washer, or hand wash with Woolite.

I find my nice clothes last longer if I take them to the dry cleaner. It costs more than washing at home, for sure, but if the clothes last longer there’s also a financial benefit. Buy five shirts in ten years and launder them at home for nearly $0 per shirt, or one shirt in ten years and dry clean for $36 per year: you break even if a shirt is $90. Plus I save the considerable time it would take me to iron the clothes, and they do a better job than I ever could. I consider my time to be valuable, and if I find a shirt I like, I prefer to keep it for a long time, which really tilts in favour of the dry cleaner.

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