Light, Medium, Or Heavy Starch (Read This First)

Starch is a plant extract obtained from rice, wheat, and corn. Starch can be mixed in water or sprayed on clothes to increase their stiffness and protect them from creases.

The amount of starch needed, whether light, medium, or heavy depends on the nature of the cloth being starched and the owner’s preference.

You can use light to heavy amounts of starch in your laundry. Casual wear can use lighter amounts of starch, while heavy starching is recommended for heavier work clothes prone to creasing and stains.

Should I use Light, Medium, or Heavy Starch for my Clothes?

Light, Medium, or Heavy Starch

Yes, you can choose the amount of starch on your clothes based on the cloth materials and your personal preferences.

Light starch works well on light shirts and clothes, while heavy starching is for heavier clothes.

Here are some of the advantages of starching clothes.

#1. Stiffens the Cloth

Few things match the feeling of nicely starched and ironed clothes on a workday. Starch stiffens the threads in clothes and prevents creasing while working.

Starched clothes tend to stay cleaner without staining for longer times and have crisper looks/textures.

#2. Irons easily 

Certain clothes are difficult to iron and need to be starched before You can iron them properly.

Dry cleaners use starch as a straightening agent to make ironing clothes easier. Starch allows clothes to retain their ironed state for longer periods.

#3. Protects from Stains

Starch creates a protective film around the fibers and threads that make up the cloth. This film acts as a buffer that protects the cloth from liquid or solid stains.

The starch also absorbs body sweat and oils, making it easier to wash stains off.

#4. Economical

Starching your clothes can save you money because it increases the time before your next visit to the laundry. 

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If you iron your clothes yourself, you also save on electric bills because you do not have to use your iron very often when you starch them.

How Do I Know Which Clothes to Starch and Those Not to?

Starch is a plant-based compound that stiffens fibers in clothes. The naturalness of starch makes it unable to adhere to some artificial fiber and materials. 

You can starch clothes made from plant-based materials like cotton and linen, while you cannot starch clothes like wool, cashmere, and polyester.

Here is a list comparing the materials you can starch and those you cannot/should not.

StarchDo Not Starch
Cotton blendsPolyester 
Silk/cotton blendSilk

Synthetic materials like polyester cannot bond properly with organic starch. You can try fabric sizing the cloth if it doesn’t stiffen under starch.

What Does Heavy Starch do to Clothes?

The amount of starch a cloth needs is influenced by the material it is made from and the owner’s choice.

There are three levels of starching clothes: light, medium, and heavy starching, respectively. Heavy starching increases the stiffness of cloth but can be detrimental to its lifespan.

Starch improves the texture and feel of clothes, makes ironing easier, and allows easy removal of stains. You can tailor the amount of starch you use to fit your current clothing needs.

If you work in an office and where you do not move around much, a light to medium amount of starching will suit your needs.

Heavy starching is best used by workers whose jobs involve physical activity, e.g., teachers, doctors, and supervisors.

Chefs can also benefit from the liquid and stain resistance starching bestows on clothes. Starch damages clothes after multiple repeated uses, especially heavy searching.

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Here are some of the negative effects of heavy starch on clothes in the long run.

#1. Possible Skin Irritation 

It is no surprise that starch clothes can sometimes feel itchy and irritating. Starched materials are stiff and have a bit of an abrasive texture. 

The abrasiveness can cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin. Starched clothes also have lower ventilation compared to their unstarched versions.

The lack of ventilation will cause sweating and possible heat rashes, further aggravating skin irritation.

#2. Shortens Fabric lifespan 

Heavy starching shortens the life span of fabric in our clothes. Regular starching and ironing degrades the quality of threads in a cloth.

It also increases the tendency of the cloth to tear when it nears the end of its lifespan. 

#3. Ruins, Collars, and Cuffs

Collars and Cuffs are one of packet shirts’ most heavily starched places. Collars need to be firm, while cuffs need to be straight.

Heavy starching and ironing will cause the ends of collars to tear and fray.

By ironing them at low temperatures, you can reduce the chances of your collars and cuffs fraying, thus preserving your clothes for longer periods.

#4. Lower Tensile Strength 

Repeated starching and ironing causes the strength of cloth materials to be weak. Heavy starching gradually compromises the cloth’s tensile strength and makes it easy to tear.

Clothes like this tear easily at the seams, armpits, and joint regions. 

Does Starch Make Clothes stiffer?

A sure way of stiffening your clothes is to starch them. Starch, when applied, adequately increases the stiffness of any cloth.

If you have clothes that are hard to iron or crease easily, applying a bit of starch will improve their stiffness and allow you to iron easily.

Here are some tips to help you starch your clothes like a pro.

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#1. Wash the Clothes

The first thing you should do before starching is to wash the clothes, either by hand or by washing machine.

When washing the clothes, ensure no stains are left on the cloth. You can also use a bit of bleach to ensure that all stains are gone.

You have to pay special attention in case of stains because ironing stained clothes can turn the stains permanent.

#2. Dry the Cloth

Wash the cloth and allow it to dry. You can use an electric dryer or hang it outside to dry.

It would help if you rinsed the cloth with lots of water before drying them. Ensure the cloth dries properly and gets lots of air to prevent odd smells.

#3. Apply the Starch

You can starch the cloth by either using spray starch or liquid starch. Spray starch is sold in pressurized containers, and you can apply it by spraying directly on the dried cloth.

Liquid starch is sold as a powder, and you must mix it with water before use. Rinse the cloth in the mixture multiple times and hang to dry without squeezing.

#4. Iron the Cloth 

After applying the starch, it is time to iron the cloth. Starched clothes are firm and can be ironed easily. They also stay straight for longer times and have a premium feel.

It would be best to hang the cloth instead of folding it after ironing. Find a good hanger and hang the clothes in a closet with enough ventilation.


The amount of starch a cloth needs is dependent on several factors. You can select one that suits you and the cloth material best.

You can take your clothes to a laundromat for dry-cleaning and starching or starch them yourself. Starch protects clothes from creasing and stains and also makes ironing them easier.

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