Washing a suit is a tough job—hence why it’s mainly done through dry cleaners. However, with this guide on how to wash a suit at home, you can have three safe and effective methods to try out.
How to Know if Your Suit is Suitable for Dry Cleaning?
Type of Fabric
The first thing to know is the type of fabric your suit has. Wool, linen, and tweed are the most common suit fabrics. It provides a crisp, not easily crumpled appearance, making it perfect for your formal look.
Knowing the fabric type, you can find the suitable method for you. For example, wool or cotton are prone to felting, so they need more care during washing. However, tweed is more knitted together at the threads.
Grab a damp cotton swab and find a hidden spot in your suit to test out your fabric. You can try it out with the detergent or dry-cleaning spray you will use.
If there are any reactions from your suit, such as dye leaking out to the swab, your product is not for the fabric. You should bring it to a professional dry-cleaner service to not risk damage to the garment.
However, if your suit does not react to your chosen product, you can choose between these three methods to try out.
How to Wash a Suit at Home? (Step-by-Step Dry Cleaning)
Dry-cleaning every week for your suit can be costly and time-consuming as you have to wait for it. However, with a dry-cleaning spray and steam iron, you can safely dry-clean your suit at home.
Note that it’s best to do these steps while the suit is hanging. It’s to ensure the attire keeps its shape and is thoroughly clean.
- Like with dry cleaning facilities, you must start with spot-cleaning your suit. If there are particular dirt and grime you need to clean off, you should do it before dry cleaning your garment.
- The next step is to use a lint remover to remove dust, hair, or threads stuck to the suit. You can use a lint remover or gentle adhesive tape to do this part.
- Take a dry cleaning fluid, like this one, and test spray it. Locate a `hidden spot and use a small amount of dry-cleaning fluid. Wait for five to ten minutes; if there are no reactions on the fabric, proceed to the next step. If your suit reacted to the dry-cleaning fluid, you should use the other methods in this guide.
- If your suit passes the fluid test, you can spray the dry-cleaning fluid all over it. Make sure all the spots are covered, even the insides of the pockets.
- Then, use a steam iron to straighten out the suit. Although you can use an iron, it’s more challenging and might leave unwanted creases.
You might notice that there is no dry process in these instructions. The dry-cleaning spray is fast drying, and you don’t need to dry it.
Note that continuous exposure to dry-cleaning sprays can damage your suits in the long run. However, it’s a great process if you want a quick way to clean your clothes.
How to Use a Washing Machine in Washing your Suit?
If you want a gentler way to wash your suit other than the dry-cleaning spray, you can use your washing machine to keep it fresh.
- Turn the sleeves of your blazers inside out and fold them towards the center. Then entirely turn your suit inside out. If you have a trouser to wash, also turn them inside out.
- Lay the garments flat and tightly roll them. Then, secure it with a safety pin to keep it from opening again. You can use multiple ones and ensure that the pins are small enough not to tear the fabric.
- Place your rolled-up suit in a mesh laundry bag. You can put in multiple garments per bag.
- Once the garments are in the mesh bag, roll them and secure them with a pin.
- Then, use a gentle detergent for the suit. It must be around 1tbsp for a full suit with the trousers or skirts included.
- The next thing is selecting the proper washing machine. You should use the gentlest capacity your laundry machine can do. It can come in different names, such as:
- Gentle wash
- Delicate wash
- Hand Wash
- Once the suit machine cycle is done, remove the suit and roll it out in a dry towel. Ensure the surface is flat for the garment to keep its pristine shape.
- Let the water soak into the towel before drying. You can either dry it out flat or hang it.
That’s it! Your suit is now clean. Need help following these instructions?
How to Hand Wash a Suit at Home?
It might come as a surprise, but hand washing can be more challenging than using a washing machine. The result is also not as clean as you might like, and the drying process can take more time. However, only some have a laundry machine to dry-clean their suit at home.
- Like the other methods, you will start with spot-cleaning and lint removal.
- Then, fold the sleeves towards the center and turn the suit inside out.
- Once the suit is folded correctly, roll it tightly and secure it with a pin. With this step, you can either use a mesh laundry bag or nothing, as the suit will not go a spinning cycle.
- Put one tablespoon of your chosen gentle detergent in a basin. Then let the suit soak.
- Gently press down on the suit. You can’t squeeze it hard as the tension can create creases.
- Lastly, roll it out in a towel and let it dry.
As you can see, the coverage of hand washing your suit is very limited. However, it provides an alternative if you don’t have a washing machine or dry-cleaning spray.
What is the Best Drying Method for a Suit?
The best way of drying a suit is to let it dry flat and not in direct sunlight. With the UV light not hitting the cloth directly, it will keep its color pristine and not fade. Then, letting the suit lay on a flat surface will retain its shape.
However, this method has one con: drying the suit takes much more time. You will need a high humidity or fairly hot area for it to work out.
Hanging your suit can damage its shape over time. Although it will not damage your apparel instantly, repeating the process of hanging your garment while wet will cause damage over time. This is due to gravity and the water weighing the garment down.
Then, hanging or laying down the suit in direct sunlight can cause fading to the dye of the fabric. Hence, the best drying process is to let it dry on a flat surface under the shade.
Tips for Washing Your Suit at Home
Use Gentle Solvents
If you are looking for dry-cleaning sprays, use gentle solvents. Although they are designed for suit cleaning, you can still find milder variations from different companies.
Avoid Direct Sunlight and Heat
Sunlight and heat can fade out your suit and make it look more faded and older. To keep it pristine and fresh, keep it from heat and UV light.
Don’t Use Harsh Detergents
Harsh detergents are a no-no when it comes to suits. It will not only damage the dye and color, but also affect the threads of your attire. So, make sure that you use a small amount and gentle detergents.
How to Maintain a Clean Suit?
Store Your Suit Properly
In maintaining a clean suit, proper storage is significant. As the garment is rarely used, it will spend more time inside your cabinet.
By storing your suit in a dry and dark cabinet, you can limit the amount of washing you will do. Make sure also to keep it in a suit bag to keep it from collecting dust.
Most of the time, suits are used in formal events. It’s a garment that doesn’t encounter much dirt.
So, cleaning it after every wear is less necessary than you think. You can clean out specific parts of your suit by spot-cleaning without washing it.
Use a Suit Brush
Much like spot cleaning, using a suit brush is an excellent way of maintaining your suit. It can clean most of the dirt and dust you might collect while wearing it. The suit brush will limit the amount of washing you do, making your suit pristine for a long time.
Want more tips on maintaining your suit? Watch this video.
Although challenging, with these three methods, you can safely know how to wash a suit at home. Along with some maintenance tips, you can keep your suit clean and fresh for a long time.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.