A: We like our cotton shirts heavily starched. A military friend suggested I try boxed starch powder. I thought it was too much trouble until I saw some at Dollar Tree, and overtaken by curiosity, tried it. I had to call my grandma for advice.
The box has two different instructions for use. You can dissolve the starch in hot water using the directions for "cooked starch," then dip the laundered-but-not-dry shirts in the pot. Roll the shirts in a towel until they are damp. Pressing with a hot iron completes the drying process.
The advantage of the dipping method is that the starch permeates the fabric--no flaking or white spotting that comes from spray starch. If you are running short on time, you can also line dry the wet, starched shirts and save the ironing for later. Sprinkle them with water until damp, and iron away.
For the second method, which is quicker but slightly less starchy, follow the box directions for making the starch into a liquid. Then, instead of dipping the shirts, put the liquid starch into a spray bottle. When the wet shirts come out of the washer, hang them up and spray all over. You can let them dry on hangers or the line. They get very stiff. Ironing softens and smooths the starch out.
I won't lie--you'll still find me dropping off shirts at the 99-cent cleaners if we've had a crunch week! But old-fashioned starch is definitely a savings, and to my mind, produces a superior result.