As much as we adore our white dress shirts, they are still created to be worn; hence they can get dirty. Over the years of research and development of new technologies, I’ve come to learn the simplest way of cleaning dress shirts with NO-IRON technologies, is to clean them at one's humble abode! This may sound like a hot take to some, but I'll break it down.
Technically speaking, there are three ways to launder a dress shirt; there’s dry cleaning them, professional wash and press them, or DIY at home. And, obviously when cleaning a high-end or luxury mens dress shirt we want to make sure we do our best to both clean it thoroughly but at the same time avoid any unnecessary wear and tear specifically from washing and cleaning the garment.
Now, to break down “dry cleaning” a shirt, what is typically done is the garments are tossed into a large machine with added solvents along with moisture to clean the garments of embedded stains, after that warm air will circulate the machine vaporizing all the solvents and moisture that were on the garments. The issue with this method, specifically for cotton fabric articles is, this method typically will not remove top-set stains such as dirt or food like residue, aside from the common issue with these style methods of mass production they won't care for your dress shirts as well as if you were cleaning them yourself.
Another common method of cleaning your white dress shirts can be the “wash and press” at the cleaners which in ways is better than dry cleaning them, although a common issue this way can be, as they press your shirt which is done very robotically on a mannequin, the pressing can hinder the article by overlapping two pieces of fabric making them not smooth, this typically happens by the collar, cuff, or around the placket. There have been many wonderful spread collar dress shirts ruined by overly aggressive robotic ironing and pressing at high volume cleaners.
For reasons like these, I humbly think the most efficient, safest and cheapest way to launder a dress shirt is to wash them at home! Just place them in the machine, dial to a delicate cycle using hot water for white shirts, and cold water for colored, and make sure you use high quality detergent. Just promptly remove the dress shirts from the machine when the cycle is over to avoid possible wrinkles from settling in.