Just because you do not have an iron handy does not mean you cannot starch a shirt. Most button-down and tailored shirts look better when they have a light to heavy starch application. While most shirts are starched with an iron, using a hand-held steamer will give similar results. Like ironing, steaming is an uncomplicated process that requires a little time and patience. Steamers add heat to the shirt, which is what starch needs to create a crisp shirt, using steam instead of direct heat.
Hang the shirt on a shirt hanger and smooth it out with your hands. Do not hang the shirt on a wire hanger, this will cause the shirt to create small bumps in the shoulder area. The shirt should be somewhat smooth and not full of hard, crisp wrinkles. The steamer works best when any wrinkles are on the surface of the shirt.
Wet your hands slightly and run them over the shirt, pulling it down slightly. This will prepare the fibers of the shirt for the starch and steam.
Turn the steamer onto the hottest setting and wait for it to begin to spit out steam. Keep in mind that while you steam the shirt, the hot water may spit out occasionally onto the shirt. This is normal and will not harm the shirt or the starch. Wait for the water spot to dry and continue on steaming.
Coat the front of the shirt with a light starch. Avoid using a heavy starch since the heavier the starch, the more an iron is required. Light starches only require a minimal amount of heat which makes steaming ideal.
Hold the steaming wand 3 to 5 inches from the shirt. Move slowly over the shirt as the steam pours out onto the fabric. The slower you go across the shirt with the steaming wand, the more crisp the shirt will become. Move around the entire front of the shirt, lifting the sleeves to work along the seam lines, and then turn the shirt around. Repeat the process on the back of the shirt and down the sleeves.
Keep the shirt on a hanger in a safe area. If the shirt falls off the hanger while it is still warm from the steam then you will have to start over. Repeat the process if necessary to remove all the wrinkles.