Most shirts can be commercially laundered. The shirt must be made of 100% cotton or cotton and polyester blend. All other fibers should be drycleaned and hand finished (pressed). Most ladies shirts these days are cotton and spandex. These shirts should not be laundered, as the spandex can become distorted and will not withstand the intense heat used in the finishing process, thus possibly causing shrinkage and damage to the shirt. Rayon, polyester and polysonic shirts require low heat when pressed or the fibers could melt and get a shine that cannot be removed. Cotton flannel shirts can be laundered but they can become stiff, so I recommend drycleaning if you want to keep that soft flannel feel. Silk, wool and cashmere must be drycleaned to prevent damage to the fibers and color.
If a shirt is cotton or cotton poly and is a regular button down shirt (men's or ladies) it can be laundered.
The laundry process consists of the shirt being washed and starched (if you request starch) in sophisticated washers with a mixture of special soaps and additives to ensure a thorough washing with maximum stain removal. Some stains will not come out with water like oils inks and old blood. These stains should be pointed out so they can be properly cared for, to ensure that they are removed. While the shirts are still damp, the first step in the finishing process is to press the collars and cuffs on a collar cuff machine, than onto the sleever which presses both sleeves simultaneously, and last on to the buck press where two large plates press the front and back of the shirt simultaneously. When the shirt is finished it is dry and press crisp. The finished shirt proceeds to the quality control inspector who makes needed touch-ups as well as checking and replacing any broken or missing buttons. The inspected shirts are than sorted, bagged and ready for you.
One of the reasons a drycleaned shirt or blouse costs more is because they take 4 to 7 times longer to hand finish, depending on the cut of the garment or the fabric.
Getting a properly finished shirt is a painstaking process that requires special attention by a well-trained staff.