A man’s dress suit is usually one of the most expensive items in his wardrobe or even the most expensive item. But, all too often, men allow their most loved suits to fall slowly into pieces because they don’t take proper care of them. Knowing when to dry clean a suit and how often is key to your suits having a long, stain-free life.
Life is messy and stains are inevitable, though; from the red wine droplets that end up on your shirt sleeve to the makeup stains your significant other leaves on your shoulder. Despite the stains, believe it or not, most gents actually end up dry cleaning their suits far too often.
Knowing how to care for and dry clean a suit are important skills in the life of the stylish sartorial gentleman. Read on to discover how and when to dry clean your suits to help them last longer.
What is dry cleaning?
Dry cleaning is a chemical cleaning process whereby strong solvents are used to clean your clothes. This process should only be attempted by a professional. The potent chemicals used in dry cleaning can be harsh and, over time, can cause fabrics to wear and tear, causing fabrics to lose colour and strength.
Why you need to dry clean a suit
Dry cleaning can be incredibly effective at removing difficult stains like makeup, mustard, wine, as well as the regular accumulation of weeks or months of sweat. Unless you’ve done it before, trying to remove these stains yourself can be disastrous, which is why dry cleaning can be your saving grace. It just needs to be used sparingly.
How often to dry clean a suit
How often you dry clean your suit depends on how often you wear it. If you only wear your suit for occasions like weddings, parties or special events like racing days, you should only need to get a suit dry cleaned once a year, if that. On the other hand, if you’re wearing the same suit at least once a week, you’ll want to get it dry cleaned more regularly, say 1-3 times per year, unless, of course, it has a food stain, makeup stain or an unpleasant odour. If airing out your suits isn’t removing those odours, it’s probably time to take a trip to the dry cleaners.
On the other hand, dry cleaning strips the wool of its natural fibres, causing it to wear prematurely. Therefore only dry clean when absolutely necessary and if other care measures aren’t helping.
How to care for a suit
As well as knowing how to dry clean a suit, knowledge about proper care is crucial.
Sometimes instead of dry cleaning your suit, you just need to ensure it gets aired out correctly. Use these simple tips to ensure your suits last longer:
- Air your suits. In between wears, hang your suits for at least 24-48 hours on a high-quality wide wooden hanger. Don’t stuff your suits in the bottom of your cupboard
- Rotate your suits. Not only does rotating your suits ensure your style stays fresh every day of the week, it also means your suits will retain their shape, touch and freshness
- Don’t dry clean your suit pieces separately. If you get a stain on your jacket, it can be tempting to only get the jacket cleaned. Keep in mind that each time you dry clean your garments it may lose colour, creating a slight colour difference. This may mean the colour of your jacket will no longer match your pants!
- Clean your shirts thoroughly after every wear. Your shirts lie next to your skin and are subject to much more movement as well as sweat and dirt. They won’t last as long as a suit but a high-quality shirt on high rotation should still last a long time and retain its freshness if well-cared for
- Use a steam cleaner to remove wrinkles from your suit before wearing or while travelling. This will also help your suit feel fresher. Steam cleaners can be purchased from any major department store and are quite affordable
- Brush your suit after wear to remove any stray pet hairs or food particles
Your favourite suits can last years if they are cared for correctly. Read more tips on how to extend the life of your suit. Or, for our expert advice on suit care, styling or the latest trends in men’s fashion, contact us today.