There’s a fine balance to how often you should clean your suits. Clean it too often and you expose your suit to unnecessary stress, shortening its lifespan. Wait too long between cleanings and you may have permanent scent stains in your underarms and risk crotch blow-out from bacteria buildup.
So when do you know if it’s time to clean your suit?
First, let’s discuss ways to clean your suit without taking it to the cleaners.
- Air-out your suit – wool is a natural antibacterial. That means that by airing out your suit and allowing for air to circulate through area’s that easily trap moisture, you are actually allowing the fabric to clean itself. To air out your suit hang it where air can easily circulate around it. To take it to the next level, use wood coat hangers that absorb moisture (cedar is best, but pine is most common).
- Brushing – Brushing your suit helps to remove dirt (or salt if you live in a winter climate). Use a fabric brush to gently remove dirt without damaging the wool of your suit.
- Spot cleaning – on rare occasions, spot clean with a bit of water to help remove more difficult stains (or to prevent staining). If someone spills their coffee on your suit, dab it with paper towels allowing the towel to absorb the coffee.
- Steaming – If you have a steamer at home, give your suits occasional steam. A bit of high-temperature steam will help kill bacteria on your suit and allow it to stay fresher for longer. The trick with steaming is to not over steam your garments as you don’t want your suit to pucker. Avoid puckering by combining this cleaning method and airing it out.
When all these methods don’t suffice, this is when you bring it to your trusted cleaners. Not all cleaners are the same and some may actually damage or lose your garments. If the cleaners look messy and dubious, chances are you may want to reconsider.