How to Clean a Suit - Our Top Tips in 2023 - Joseph Abboud
- by Off The Cuff
- July 21, 2023
- 6 min read
Off-the-rack, made-to-measure, or bespoke—no matter what type of suit you’re going for, there’s one thing that always rings true:
You need to keep it clean!
For many men, a well-fitted and classy suit is the pinnacle of men’s style. Combined with the right accessories, there aren’t many outfits that better portray power, elegance, and unmatched style than a bespoke suit.
However, suits aren’t like your typical t-shirt and jeans outfit—keeping them clean isn’t quite as simple as throwing them in the wash and calling it a day.
Suits require special care to keep them looking their best. In many cases, men will take them to the dry cleaners to have them look top-notch again, which, unfortunately, can also cause issues when done too much.
Don’t worry. Not all hope is lost. With the right knowledge, you can keep your suit in tip-top shape by following some simple tips at home—tips we’ve included below.
But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important to keep your suits looking pristine.
Why It's Crucial to Keep Your Suit Clean
Your suit is more than just a piece of clothing. It's a reflection of your professionalism, attention to detail, and personal style!
No matter the occasion—work, a special event, an important meeting, or otherwise, keeping your suit clean is crucial for several reasons. Let’s dive into them below.
Nail your first impressions
Let’s face it: First impressions matter!
When you walk into a room, the first thing people notice about you is your appearance. Are you looking clean? Professional? Sloppy?
These things get noticed, and how your suit looks contributes significantly to the impression that you give.
A well-maintained suit immediately conveys professionalism and creates a positive first impression. On the other hand, a dirty or wrinkled suit can give the impression that you are careless or lack attention to detail.
By keeping your suit clean, you show respect for yourself and others, and you present yourself in the best possible light—both crucial for feeling and looking your best.
Preserve your investment
Although you don’t usually have to spend an arm and a leg for a well-fitted suit, they do typically represent a significant investment.
When we spend money on something like a suit, we want to keep it in good condition! By taking care of your suit and keeping it clean, you protect your investment and maximize its value. A well-maintained suit can be worn for multiple occasions and withstand the test of time. Regular cleaning and proper storage techniques help prevent damage, such as fading, shrinking, or moth infestation, which can ruin the integrity of your suit.
Suit costs can be high—don’t waste your money by neglecting your investment.
Back to first impressions: Who wants to present themselves with smelly clothes?
Regular wear of your suit can lead to the accumulation of sweat, body oils, and other odors. Over time, these smells can become unpleasant and difficult to remove.
Cleaning your suit more frequently helps you not only eliminate any existing odors but also prevent them from becoming ingrained in the fabric. A fresh-smelling suit makes you feel more confident and ensures that those around you have a pleasant experience.
How to Clean a Suit
Get out the brush
No matter what you’re doing, from the office to date night, suits collect a ton of dirt and dust. Unfortunately, when left alone, this dirt and dust settles into the fabric of your suit and can actually ruin the fabric in different ways.
Luckily, all you need is a handy suit brush!
A simple soft-bristle suit brush can remove all of the dirt and grime that collects throughout the day. All you need to do is brush downward with the same motion you shave with—start at the shoulders and work your way down to the bottom.
Invest in quality suit hangers
Believe it or not, improper storage of your suit can lead to a dirty jacket and grimy trousers.
While this isn’t a specific cleaning tip, prevention is always best. We recommend investing in quality wooden hangers—since wood absorbs moisture, you’ll avoid some of the wear that comes from moisture being trapped in the fabric. Compare this to a wire hanger, which can actually damage your suit if you aren’t careful.
Get yourself some wood hangers. Your suit game will thank you!
We can all spend every second in a suit trying our best to not spill anything—however, it’s simply bound to happen at some point.
Luckily, all you need is a damp cloth. If a spill happens, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible—wet a cloth and gently dab at the spot where you’ve dropped something on your suit. If you can’t get the stain out, that’s when you’ll need to resort to a dry cleaner.
Let it breathe
Stuffy closets without much room to breathe aren’t ideal for your suit.
You’ll want to store your suit in an area with ample space for it to breathe. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a rumpled, dusty suit—and that’s not good for any occasion!
As a bonus, you may want to consider a garment bag. These bags can protect your suit from creasing—even while it’s in your closet.
Steam, don’t iron
Never use an iron on your suit—the intense heat can ruin the fabric!
A rumpled or wrinkled suit with creases never looks good. It’s almost as bad as having dirt and dust accumulated in the fabric. The best way to deal with this is to use a handheld steamer. Instead of scorching your suit with an iron, a handheld steamer will gently remove any creasing or wrinkles from the shoulders down.
If you don’t have a steamer, here’s a tip: Hang your jacket and pants on separate hangers in your shower. Turn on the hot water, and let the steam work its magic!
Pack smarter, not harder
Another tip for prevention rather than directly cleaning the suit itself: Be smart about the way you pack your suit while traveling.
There are several ways to pack a suit, but one of our favorites is the traditional method:
- Lay your suit jacket face down on a flat surface and spread it out. You can also fill each sleeve of your suit jacket with a sheet or two of tissue paper to further reduce wrinkling if you wish.
- Fold both shoulders one at a time inward toward the midway point on the back while keeping the sleeves flat.
- Take the bottom half of your suit jacket and fold it toward the top. The bottom hem of your jacket should land just below the collar.
- Lastly, flip the jacket over.
This should give you a worry-free method of packing your suit and keeping it nice and tidy!
If possible, rotate!
We know that not everyone has several suits on-hand at any given time—however, if you’re someone who wears a suit often, we do recommend having a few on the go at a time.
First off, it’s an excuse to show off many different styles. You can have more conservative suits for the office and some more fun colors or patterns for dinner parties, events, and more.
More importantly, having a few suits on hand lets you rotate between them and reduce the chance of dirtying one suit over and over. Suits can use a little time to relax—just like us!
If you can help it, try to wear every suit a maximum of twice a week. Rotate between a few neutral colors that you can mix and match, and you’re set.
If this isn’t feasible for you right now, don’t worry—the tips above should serve you well. However, when possible, you should try to add a few more suits to your wardrobe.
How Often Should You Dry Clean?
Although we’ve covered some home methods and tips that help you avoid dry cleaning your suit more frequently, it does beg the question:
How often should you actually dry clean your suit?
There’s a time and a place for dry cleaning—since it uses chemicals to clean the fabric, dry cleaning can wear out the fabric of your suit and cause it to wear out faster.
That’s why it’s best to follow an “as-needed” approach to dry cleaning. If the methods above fail to keep your suit clean, it might be time to visit the dry cleaner. However, by following the methods above, it’s likely that you’ll have to take your suit to the dry cleaner far less than usual.
Ready For Your Next Stylish Suit?
Whether you’re a newcomer to the suit game or a veteran looking for another wardrobe staple, Joseph Abboud has you covered.
Our Bespoke Suiting process will get you started with a stylish suit that you’ll never want to take off. If that’s not your thing, you can go with made-to-measure pieces or explore ready-to-wear styles—the choice is yours!
Let’s get you suited up. Learn more about how Joseph Abboud’s bespoke suit process takes your style game to the next level.