A quality suit is a worthwhile investment for any wardrobe if cared for properly. Follow these techniques to help suits retain their shape and structure season after season.
Why Suit Care Matters
Proper storage and laundering helps suits last by:
Preventing damage from improper handling
Maintaining shape through wrinkle reduction
Retaining color vibrancy by washing gently when needed
Keeping fabrics breathable through proper airflow
Avoiding infestations like carpet beetles that eat wool
Stopping stains through pre-treatment and spot cleaning
Breaking down odors from body oils that fabric absorbs
With some diligence, a good suit can last years.
Use these tips to store suits safely between wears:
Allow Air Circulation
Let space between hanging suits and avoid plastic garment bags.
Use Cedar Blocks
The aroma deters moths and other fabric nibbling insects.
Maintain Consistent Temperatures
Avoid excessive heat or cold that can damage fabric.
Use suit shoulder pads or hangers to retain shape.
Dry Clean Before Storing
Clean suits thoroughly before putting away extended time.
Check for Tears and Stains
Examine carefully and repair damage before storage sets in.
Maintain ideal conditions to prevent damage.
Reduce wrinkling through proper garment care:
Use Press Cloth
A piece of muslin helps apply iron pressure without damaging fabric.
Know Fiber Needs
Identify fabric content to select ideal temperature settings.
Steam and Iron on Low
Use lower temperatures to avoid scorching wool and other fabrics.
Reshape While Damp
Gently tug into shape before drying to ensure suit retains structure.
Use a Wide Wood Hanger
Broad felt-covered shoulders help distribute weight and preserve form.
Stuff Arms with Acid-Free Tissue
Fill sleeves with tissue to hold shape if suit is not on a mannequin.
Wrinkle-free storage means more time between cleanings.
Wash suits infrequently but with care:
Gently dab stains before washing so they don’t set into the fabric weave.
Professional Dry Cleaning
Most suits require special solvents to lift odors and set-in stains.
Hand Wash Delicates
For lightweight summer fabrics, hand wash is possible but risky.
Know Fabric Content
Check for wool, silk, or synthetic blends to determine best cleaning method.
Wash and Dry Properly At Home
If labeled washable, use cool water and low dryer heat on the delicate cycle in garment bag.
Steam Instead of Washing
Steaming can freshen suits between cleanings if they are only lightly worn.
Too frequent washing wears suits out prematurely.
Storing Different Suit Parts
Each suit component has particular storage needs:
Stuff shoulder pads lightly to retain shape
Pad hanger with washcloth to prevent divots
Avoid plastic bags that trap moisture
Hang straight with seam creases aligned
Never fold pants – leads to wrinkle imprints
Use pant clips on hangers to prevent sagging
Button vest when storing to avoid stretching gaps
Use suit hanger designed to hold vest and pants together
Always dry clean dress shirts with suits to keep colors matched
Store suit separate pieces properly for a coordinated look.
Suit Care Tips and Tricks
Keep suits looking fresh between professional cleanings:
Spot clean stains with sudsy mixture of dish soap and water using soft rag
Steam or wet towel wrinkled areas then dry with blow dryer to smooth
Keep suit hangersin car for easy access traveling
Let sleeves rest at an angle – not straight down, which strains lining stitches
Reinforce lining by sewing slip stitches to connect lining to coat so it doesn’t sag
Brush away dust and lint using a horsehair suit brush
With some diligence, a quality suit lasts for years.
How often should you dry clean a suit?
Suits worn often should be cleaned every 4-6 wears. Suits worn once a week may only need cleaning every 2-3 months. Spot clean when possible between full dry cleaning.
Can you put a wool suit in the washing machine?
Never fully immerse or wash wool suits in home laundering machines – dry clean only. Some may specify “washable wool” but require very gentle care.
Should you hang or fold suits?
Always hang suit jackets and pants – folding causes wrinkles to set into the fabric, stretching it out of shape over time.
How can you get shiny spots off a suit?
Rub the shiny area gently with a fine grit sandpaper before cleaning. This lifts damaged nap without harming surrounding fabric. Or use a dull razor very lightly.
What is the best way to store a suit?
Hang in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and pests. Pad hanger shoulders, stuff arms with acid-free tissue, use cedar blocks. Avoid plastic garment bags.
How do you get a stain out of a suit?
Dab stains immediately to avoid setting. Make a mild detergent and cool water solution. Work into stain gently with soft cloth. Rinse and air dry before having professionally cleaned.
Master professional suit care skills. Give your suits the proper attention between wears so they stay looking as polished as day one. With the right storage, pre-treatment, and occasional cleaning, a quality suit impresses for years. Show fine tailoring some appreciation and it will serve you handsomely every time it’s called into duty.