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How to Clean a Suit?

When it comes to business clothing, nothing is more important than ensuring your clothes are kept clean, tidy, and wrinkle-free.  Understanding how to clean and store your business clothes will help those items last longer and appear newer.  In addition to saving money, you’ll appear tidier and more put together with clothing that is properly cleaned and stored.

Your formal and business clothes are an expression of yourself.  They showcase your personality and your mood for the day.  With most men’s clothing inching higher and higher in price, it has never been more crucial to ensuring the longevity of your wardrobe than ever before.

Learning how to clean and store your business clothes is a crucial life skill.  This skill will help you to appear more professional and put together.  Like they always say, you should dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  And can anyone really name the last time they saw a business executive wearing a wrinkled shirt?

What is a Suit?

A suit is one of the most important wardrobe pieces.  It is a timeless piece of fashion and exudes confidence, professionalism, and maturity.  While many companies are beginning to shift towards a more relaxed and casual dress environment, there are some notable exceptions, especially in the banking, consulting, and financial industries.

Learning how to dress in a suit is one of the best life skills you can have.  Your suit is an expression of yourself and how you view yourself.  It is also an investment and can help you to stand out and look sharp, whether at a personal or professional event.  Whether or not you wear a suit daily or once-a-year, knowing how to clean a suit without dropping it off at the dry cleaners is an invaluable skill to have.

While dropping off a suit at the dry cleaners is an easy solution, a recent study indicated that the average businessperson spends nearly $500 to $1,500 a year on those services.  Per the infographic below, dry cleaning services on suits around the world range from as low as $2.20 in Indonesia to nearly $52 in Norway.  Your money could be better spent elsewhere, which is why it is so important to learn how to clean a suit.

how to clean a suit, suit cleaning costs around the world

The Spot Treatment

For simple specs of dust, dirt, and smudges, a simple spot treatment will work to clean the suit.  This can be done by utilizing a damp washcloth and blotting the affected area.  The washcloth should be dampened with cold water.  So long as the stain is surface-level and has not infiltrated the inner areas of the suit, then the spot treatment will work on cleaning it.

In The Washer (10 Easy Steps)

Another effective method to cleaning a suit is running it in the washer.  Now, you don’t want to simply throw your suit in the washer and turn it on, this is a process but will ensure that your suit is cleaned and isn’t ruined inside the washer.

  1. Flip the suit inside-out
  2. Place the suit inside a mesh bag. Preferably, the mesh bag should give the suit enough room to move around, it should not be airtight.
  3. Place thee mesh bag inside the washer
  4. Set the washer to cold water
  5. Set the washer setting to wool/delicate and add in any suit cleaner you may have.
  6. Once the washer is done, remove the suit from the mesh bag and turn it to the correct side
  7. Hang your suit on a hanger
  8. Give the suit a couple of hours to dry
  9. Use a steamer to get rid of any wrinkles, you should start from the outside and move slowly towards the inside. Don’t pull or tug at the suit as to not ruin it.
  10. Voila, your suit is as good as new!

A Suit Brush

A suit brush is a wooded brush with either synthetic or animal fibers.  It is primarily used on wool jacket or suit.  Using a suit brush can significantly extend the life and quality of your suit.  While wearing a suit, it attracts dust, particles, and debris from the elements.  By using a suit brush, you gently clean and remove those particles and debris.

Ideally, you will want to use a suit brush both before and after wearing a suit.  You should go in a gentle, slow, and methodical pace.  It should be a downward movement, starting from the top of the suit.

When To Go To The Dry Cleaner?

While the above methods are great, there are times when you will have to bite the bullet and take your suit to the dry cleaner.  If you wear your suit infrequently, then this shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.  However, if you wear a suit often, you’re going to want to know when to take your suit to the dry cleaner.

Generally, if your suit begins to have a foul odor or has irremovable particles or debris, then it is best to take it to a dry cleaner.  This is particularly true if your suit begins to have deep layered stains, which are difficult to remove from the surface.

A dry cleaner is a professional service, that will have experience in cleaning a suit fully.  You don’t want to take a suit to a dry cleaner too often, as the harsh chemicals used can ruin a suit.  Once returned, be sure to pull off the plastic wrapping around the suit, as it is not a good material for it.

If you’re unsure of a good dry cleaner around you, and don’t want to trust online reviews, then give them a call and ask about their methods for cleaning a suit.  Although you may not be an expert, a good dry cleaner will be able to explain their methods.  You may also ask if the dry cleaner does their work in-house or sends their clothes to an off-site facility.

Specific: Suit Jackets

Suit jackets require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure their longevity.  This means that you should be cleaning your suit jacket after every wear.  However, this does not mean you should be dropping off your suit jacket to the dry cleaners each week.  Rather, some usual maintenance can go a long way to help keep it fresh and clean.

These tips can be done in the comfort of your home, without the need of any dry cleaners or outside assistance.  You should follow these tips both before wearing the suit jacket and after to help remove any dirt and debris that may have accumulated during the course of the day.

For most specs of dust, dirt, and smudges, a simple spot treatment will work to clean the suit.  This is done by blotting the affected area with a dampened washcloth.  The washcloth should be dampened with cold water.  This method is effective on surface-level stains.

In addition, you can use a suit brush to remove any dirt and dust from the suit jacket.  Going in a downward motion, use the suit brush to remove any visible dirt and dust from the outer layer of the suit jacket.  This should be done both before and after wearing the suit jacket.

After you have worn the suit jacket, it is best to hang it in a cool, dry area, away from sunlight.  The hanger is an important piece of the equation and you should look to use a widespread, wooden hanger that will contour to the shape of your jacket.  In addition, you should cover the suit jacket with a cloth material to help with breathability.  If you took the suit jacket to the dry cleaners, remove the plastic covering as that will retain moisture.

Clean and Store Your Business Clothes

Specific: Dress Shirts

Dress shirts provide a bit of a more difficult cleaning scenario as the material can vary greatly between two different shirts.  It is important to read up on the tag and what the instructions are to clean the shirt.  Regardless, you should be sure to unbutton all buttons and remove the collar stays from the shirt.  Simply follow the instructions on the tag when placing the item in the washing machine.

When it comes to storing your dress shirt, you will want to follow the same general rules as hanging up a suit jacket.  The dress shirt should be hung on a widespread, wooden hanger to ensure it maintains its form.  Also, be sure to hang up the shirt in a cool, dry place.

Specific: Dress Pants

Generally, dress pants made from a cotton material can be placed in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle.  Non-cotton dress pants will need to be hand-washed.  In order to hand-wash dress pants, you will need to fill a tub with cold water and a drop of mild detergent.  Soak the dress pants in the liquid and move them around the tub.  Use a brush to remove any stains and rinse afterwards.

Once your pants are crisp from the wash, place them flat inside a towel and allow it time to air dry.  You do not want to place your dress pants in the dryer.  Placing your dress pants in the dryer will shrink them and you will need to go out and buy new ones.  Although air drying takes longer, it comes out smelling better and won’t ruin the shape of your pants.

Storing your dress pants is relatively simple.  Hang the pants from a felt hanger to prevent slipping and stretching. A felt hanger will also help your pants to retain their shape and will ensure that you do not find the pants on the floor when you walk into your closet.

Conclusion

Business clothes are an important and essential component to your professionalism. Building out a hearty wardrobe takes years of purchases and an understanding of what you do, and don’t, like in your clothing.  Be sure to clean and store your business clothes in a manner that is appropriate for each piece of clothing.

Learning how to clean a suit is a fine art and a process.  However, ensuring that your suit is clean, odor-free, and presentable will make you appear more professional and buttoned-up.  If you’re looking to dress-to-impress, then a suit is a great option and one that can never go wrong.

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