The “Easy-Iron” Debate

There is a lot of debate over easy-iron shirts; some people swear by them, others wouldn’t touch them with a 10ft pole and a hazmat suit; and seeing as they are usually made with a formaldehyde-producing resin, I can certainly understand that reaction. But how bad are they really?

Well, if you are sensitive to the chemicals, they can cause you to break out into a rash, or just be generally irritating; if you don’t have sensitivities, then the level of potentially dangerous chemicals is usually too low to cause any long or short-term health problems. Even then, the chemicals will break down in the wash over time, and will eventually dissipate all together. As a general precaution, you should always wash new clothes before you wear them anyway (this may void a returns policy, so check that out first).

Pros:

  • Time Saver – Most of the time the shirts will be ready to wear straight off the clothes line, if not, then a light steam will get them going.
  • They stay neat all day
  • Good ones are just as comfortable as regular cotton
  • Great to have on hand in an emergency (keep one folded in your desk, or in the boot of your car)

Cons:

  • Potentially irritating/dangerous chemicals (always buy from a trusted source, not some shady guy in an alley)
  • Cheap ones can be stiff and scratchy, and hold sweat like a polyester shirt.

I’m a traditionalist, and generally try to stay away from synthetic fabrics when I can afford it, but I honestly have no problem with non-iron shirts. I’ve never experienced any skin irritation from them, and I spend most of my time in air conditioned rooms, so sweat isn’t usually an issue. Ultimately, my advice is to buy whichever shirt you prefer.