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How to Iron Military Uniforms

Updated February 21, 2017

Military members work hard and can be on call at all hours. Yet, they must keep military uniforms pressed and presentable, free of wrinkles and with a crisp finish. Save the expense of professional pressing, and do it from home with your own iron and a few household supplies.

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  1. Unbutton all buttons and ensure all pockets are emptied. Be sure to remove all attached medals, ribbons and accoutrements. All objects can interfere with getting a crisp finish.

  2. Spray the trousers and outer shirt with a light starch coating. Hang both on separate hangers and allow to air dry for 30 minutes or toss in a dryer with low heat for 15. These methods allow the starch to penetrate the fabric, minimising wrinkles.

  3. Set up the iron and ironing board while the starch sets in. Set the ironing board at waist level and turn the iron on medium-high heat with the steam function on. Set the heat to medium for service uniforms. If your iron doesn't have a steam function, use a water bottle with a spray attachment instead.

  4. Iron the shirt first, starting with the sleeves, cuffs and collars. Use deliberate, slow strokes, allowing steam to penetrate the shirt. For irons with no steam function, spray water on the fabric immediately before ironing.

  5. Press the shirt's front and back, paying careful attention to any pockets, sewn-on patches and rank insignia.

  6. Add military creases (if required) by folding a natural crease down the middle of the back. Spray the crease with starch and press it with the edge of the iron. Create two more creases equidistant from the centre crease.

  7. Iron the trousers, ensuring the natural fold is even. If possible, slip the ironing board inside each pant leg before pressing. Make sure the insides of the pockets (especially the back ones) are flat before you iron them.

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Things You'll Need

  • Iron with steam function
  • Ironing board
  • Starch spray
  • Dryer (optional)
  • Water spray bottle (optional)

About the Author

Paul Bright

Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.

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