Starch can make a shirt stiff and brittle. Remove starch from a shirt using a washing machine, a 5-gallon bucket, table salt and washing soda. Steeping, brining, washing and drying the shirt may solve the issue immediately; however, it may take several repetitions to remove all of the starch, depending on what type it is.
- Investigate the starch
Find out what kind of starch was used on the shirt. If synthetic starch was used, the steps may need to be repeated several times. If natural starch was used, it is likely to come out in the first cycle. Natural starch usually mostly washes off when starched clothes are washed in any case.
- Wash and brine the shirt
Fill a 5-gallon bucket with water and add two cups of salt. Add the shirt, and let it soak in the brine for at least a day. The next day, squeeze the shirt to remove excess salty water, and add the shirt to the washing machine. Pour in 1/4 cup washing soda and the amount of detergent that you normally use for a load. Other clothes can be added to this load if desired.
- Dry the shirt
Use a dryer on the gentle or delicate cycle to dry the shirt. All of the starch should be gone by the time the shirt is completely dry. If not, repeat steps 2 and 3 until the shirt's texture is restored.