Almost every man's wardrobe has at least one polo shirt, whether for work or play. Polo shirts are stylish yet comfortable. Most polo shirts are 100 per cent cotton knit or a blend of a synthetic fibre and cotton, usually in the ratio of 20 per cent synthetic fibre to 80 per cent cotton. Because of the high percentage of cotton in polo shirts, shrinkage, fading and an ill fit after a few washings can be a problem. Knowing the proper way to launder your polo shirts will keep them looking new.
Unless otherwise noted on the care tag sewn into your polo shirts, cotton and cotton-blend polo shirts should be washed in cool water, both wash cycle and rinse cycle; otherwise you may shrink your polo shirt. To keep the colour bright and the fabric surface more like new, turn your polo shirt inside out before washing it. It also helps to keep the collar and neckline in shape if you button all the buttons before washing. An all-purpose laundry soap is fine to use.
Drying polo shirts is where most people ruin their shirts. Never completely dry your polo in the dryer, and never use any setting that involves heat. You may briefly air dry your polo shirt in the dryer, but remove it while it is still damp to avoid shrinkage. Brief air drying will give the fabric some softness and plump the fibres.
When you remove your damp polo shirt from the dryer, or if you choose to not use the dryer, lay the polo shirt out on a flat surface, rather than hang it to dry. Hanging a polo shirt, even one that is only damp, tends to allow it to stretch and lengthen, distorting the sharp lines. You also run the risk of having bumps and lumps at the shoulders where the hanger was. By laying your polo shirt flat and shaping it a bit, you will retain more of the original shape and form.
After your polo shirt has completely dried, fold it like it was at the store where you bought it. Folding a polo shirt, rather than hanging it on a hanger, will retain its shape, not stretch it, and you will avoid any pucker or bumps at the shoulder and collar from using a hanger.
If the collar on your polo begins to roll, curl or pucker after a few washings, iron it. Spraying sizing, found in the laundry section of a grocery store, on the collar before ironing will help your polo shirt collar retain its original shape. Sizing, though slightly more expensive than starch, will not make your collar too stiff, as using spray starch will.