In the center of the shop, a classic navy blue men's suit is hung on a wooden suit hanger, prominently displayed. A professional cleaner with Caucasian descent, dressed in a neat apron, is using a clothes steamer to gently remove wrinkles and freshen up the fabric, showing careful attention to the lapels and sleeves. On a table nearby, there's a small dish with a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth for spot cleaning any minor stains.

How to Clean a Suit

When you’ve invested in a quality suit, maintaining its pristine condition is key. But let’s face it, life happens, and sometimes that means your suit ends up with a stain or two. Learning how to clean a suit properly is crucial to keeping it looking sharp for years to come.

Now, you might be thinking, “Can’t I just toss it in the washing machine?” The answer is a resounding no. Suits are made from delicate fabrics that require special care. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to take you step by step through the process of how to clean a suit, whether you’re dealing with a small stain or in need of a full clean. From spot cleaning to dry cleaning, we’ll show you the best methods to get your suit back to its best. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started on the journey to a cleaner, sharper-looking suit.

Understand Your Suit’s Material

When learning how to clean a suit, the first step is to recognize what material it’s made from, as this will dictate the cleaning method you use. Suits can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own set of care instructions.


Wool is the most common suit fabric and is known for its durability and resistance to wrinkles. However, wool suits should not be washed frequently, as the fabric can lose its shape. When it does come time to clean a wool suit, dry cleaning is the best option.


Cotton suits are more casual and easier to care for than wool suits. They can be machine washed in cold water and hung to dry. Be sure to check the care label for specific instructions, as some cotton suits may require dry cleaning.


Linen suits are lightweight and perfect for summer, but they wrinkle easily. They should be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water and hung to dry. Ironing with a press cloth can help to remove wrinkles.


Silk suits are delicate and require special care. They should be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water with a mild detergent. Never wring out a silk suit, as this can damage the fabric. Instead, gently press out the excess water and lay flat to dry.

Synthetic Blends

Synthetic blends are often used to make more affordable suits. They can usually be machine washed in cold water and hung to dry. Check the care label for specific instructions.

Understanding the material of your suit is crucial when it comes to cleaning it properly. Always read the care label and follow the instructions to keep your suit looking its best. By taking the time to learn how to clean a suit correctly, you’ll be sure to make a good impression, no matter the occasion.

Check the Care Label

Whenever you’re faced with the task of figuring out how to clean a suit, a small but mighty tag on the inside of your attire holds the answers: the care label. This label is like the suit’s own manual, giving you essential tips and tricks on maintaining its top-notch look.

Why Care Labels Matter

Often overlooked, the care label provides crucial information about how to clean, dry, and iron your suit without causing damage. Imagine spilling something on your suit and not knowing if water will make it worse or if a certain cleaning agent might ruin the fabric. That’s where the care label comes in. It’s designed to prevent mishaps and preserve the lifespan of your garment.

Decoding the Symbols

While care labels provide essential instructions, they often communicate through symbols. Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common ones:

  • A bucket with water: This symbolizes washing. If it has a hand inside, it means you should hand wash. If it has a number, that’s the maximum temperature (in Celsius) you should use.
  • A triangle: This represents bleaching. An empty triangle means you can use bleach, but if it’s crossed out, steer clear.
  • A circle: This is all about dry cleaning. If the circle is blank, dry cleaning is recommended. Letters inside the circle give professional cleaners information about which solvents to use.
  • A square with a circle inside: This symbol refers to drying methods. For example, a square with a circle and a dot in the middle means you can tumble dry your suit at a normal setting.
  • An iron: Fairly straightforward, this symbol indicates that you can iron your suit. Dots inside the iron represent the recommended heat level: one dot for low, two for medium, and three for high.

In the journey of understanding how to clean a suit, always remember: the care label is your friend. Taking a moment to read and decode it can make all the difference in ensuring your suit stays sharp and stylish.

Daily Maintenance and Prevention

For those who want to know how to clean a suit and keep it in prime condition, it’s essential to realize that maintenance isn’t just about washing or dry cleaning. Your suit’s day-to-day care plays a massive role in its longevity. Let’s delve into some daily practices that can help keep your suit looking fresh and dapper.

Brushing Away the Day

Even if your suit looks clean at first glance, it can accumulate dust, lint, and particles throughout the day. Using a garment brush, gently brush your suit after each wear. This not only keeps it looking clean but also helps to preserve the fabric by preventing any buildup that could embed more deeply over time.

Store it Right

Storage is more than just hanging your suit in your closet. Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Hangers: Opt for wooden or padded hangers. These provide enough support to maintain the suit’s shape, especially in the shoulder area.
  • Space: Ensure your suit has enough room to breathe. Overcrowding can lead to wrinkles and can prevent moisture from evaporating, which could attract mold.
  • Pest Protection: Moths and other pests love to snack on suit fabrics. Cedar balls or lavender sachets can help keep them at bay, protecting your investment.

Quick Fixes with a Clothes Steamer

Sometimes you don’t have the time for a full clean, or maybe your suit just needs a little refresher. That’s where a clothes steamer comes in handy. Quick and easy to use, a steamer can smooth out wrinkles and freshen up your suit in a jiffy. Plus, the steam can help to kill bacteria, leaving your suit smelling fresh.

In summary, knowing how to clean a suit is crucial, but understanding daily care methods can make your suit last longer and save you both time and money in the long run. With the right maintenance habits, you can keep your suit in top shape, ready for any occasion.

Spot Cleaning for Minor Stains

It’s the dreaded moment we’ve all faced: a splash of wine during a toast, a pen mark during a meeting, or a food splatter during a meal. When these mishaps occur, knowing how to clean a suit with spot treatments can be a lifesaver. Let’s navigate these tricky terrains and learn how to address stains head-on.

Act Fast: Immediate Steps Post-Spill

  1. Stay Calm: Panicking and rubbing the stain can make it worse. Take a deep breath and act quickly.
  2. Blot, Don’t Rub: Using a clean white cloth or paper towel, gently blot the stain. This action lifts the majority of the spill without spreading it.
  3. Check the Label: Before applying any cleaning solutions, always refer back to your suit’s care label for any specific instructions or warnings.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Agent

Different stains demand different solutions. Here’s a basic guide:

  • Wine: Start by blotting up as much of the wine as possible. Then, dab the area with a cloth soaked in cold water. For tougher stains, using a commercial stain remover or a mixture of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide can work wonders.
  • Ink: Gently blot the stain without rubbing. Place a paper towel under the fabric and dab the stain with isopropyl alcohol, moving to clean parts of the cloth as the ink lifts.
  • Grease: Sprinkle the stain with talcum powder or cornstarch and let it sit for a few hours. The powder absorbs the grease, making it easier to brush off afterward.

Gentle Blotting Techniques

The key to successful spot cleaning is the blotting technique:

  1. Begin from the Outside: Start blotting from the outer edges of the stain and work your way inward. This approach prevents the stain from spreading.
  2. Use a Clean Cloth: Switch to clean parts of the cloth frequently, so you’re not reapplying the stain.
  3. Rinse with Cold Water: After treatment, rinse the stained area with cold water (if the fabric allows), then blot with a dry cloth.

Remember, while spot cleaning can handle minor stains, some stubborn marks might require professional care. Always test cleaning agents on an inconspicuous part of the suit to ensure no discoloration or damage. With the right knowledge and tools, you can tackle any stain and ensure your suit remains impeccable.

Deep Cleaning Methods

Even with impeccable daily care and spot cleaning, there will come a time when your suit requires a deeper clean. When this moment arrives, knowing how to clean a suit thoroughly is invaluable. Let’s delve into the two primary methods: hand washing and dry cleaning.

Hand Washing

Sometimes, the gentle touch of hand washing can be just what your suit needs.

Preparing the Wash Basin:

  1. Clean the Basin: Ensure your sink or tub is spotlessly clean. Any residue can transfer to the suit.
  2. Fill with Cold Water: Cold water is gentle on most fabrics and prevents shrinking.

Choosing the Right Detergent:

  1. Mild is Best: Opt for a mild detergent without bleach or harsh chemicals.
  2. Test Before Use: Always test the detergent on a small, hidden patch of the suit to ensure it won’t discolor or damage the fabric.

Washing and Rinsing Technique:

  1. Gently Agitate: Once you’ve submerged the suit in the detergent solution, gently agitate the water with your hands to clean the suit. Avoid twisting or wringing.
  2. Rinse Thoroughly: Drain the soapy water and fill the basin with clean, cold water. Rinse the suit multiple times until all soap residue is gone.

Drying the Suit Properly:

  1. Towel Dry: Lay the suit flat on a clean towel and roll it up gently to soak up excess water.
  2. Air Dry: Lay the suit flat on a drying rack or another clean towel, reshaping it as necessary. Avoid hanging, as this can distort the suit’s shape.

Dry Cleaning

When hand washing isn’t enough, or the suit’s fabric demands it, dry cleaning is the next best step.

When to Choose Dry Cleaning:

  1. Check the Label: Some fabrics, especially wool and silk, often require professional cleaning.
  2. Stubborn Stains: For those pesky stains that won’t budge, a dry cleaner has the tools and expertise to help.

Benefits of Professional Dry Cleaning:

  1. Expertise: Dry cleaners have knowledge of different fabrics and the best methods to clean them.
  2. Gentle on Fabric: The solvents used in dry cleaning can be less abrasive than traditional washing, ensuring your suit remains in top condition.

Finding a Reputable Dry Cleaner:

  1. Ask Around: Personal recommendations can lead you to reliable cleaners in your area.
  2. Check Reviews: Online reviews and ratings can provide insights into others’ experiences.

Whether you choose to hand wash or dry clean, the goal remains the same: to keep your suit looking its finest. Armed with the right knowledge on how to clean a suit, you can ensure that your attire remains a lasting investment.

Pressing and Ironing

After a deep clean, your suit might need a touch-up to get rid of those inevitable creases. Pressing and ironing are crucial steps in ensuring your suit looks polished. However, when done improperly, they can cause more harm than good. So, here’s your guide on how to give your suit that perfect finish without damage.

The Right Settings for Different Materials:

Different suit fabrics demand different iron temperatures. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Wool: Set the iron to ‘wool’ or a medium setting. Steam can be beneficial for wool, helping to ease out creases without pressing too hard.
  • Cotton: Opt for a ‘cotton’ setting or medium to high heat. Ensure the fabric is slightly damp or use steam to get better results.
  • Linen: This fabric wrinkles easily but can handle high heat. Set your iron to ‘linen’ or a high setting.
  • Silk: Use the lowest setting, often labeled as ‘silk’. Always iron silk while it’s slightly damp and avoid using steam.
  • Synthetic Blends: These can melt under high heat. Always use a low setting and test on a hidden area first.

Techniques for Pressing Trousers, Jackets, and Vests:

  • Trousers: Start with the waistband and pockets. Lay one leg flat and iron, then switch to the other. For a crisp crease, fold the trousers lengthwise aligning the seams and press.
  • Jackets: Begin with the collar, pressing it flat. Next, tackle the lapels, then the sleeves, and finish with the body. Always press in straight lines, not in circles.
  • Vests: Iron the back first, then move to the front panels. Be cautious around buttons or decorative elements.

Using a Pressing Cloth and Avoiding Shine:

  • Pressing Cloth: Always use a pressing cloth (a thin white cotton cloth) between the iron and your suit. It acts as a barrier, preventing potential scorch marks and shiny spots on your suit.
  • Avoiding Shine: Shine occurs when too much direct heat interacts with the fabric, especially on dark-colored suits. Apart from using a pressing cloth, ensure you’re moving the iron constantly and not letting it sit in one spot.

Mastering the art of pressing and ironing is the final step in learning how to clean a suit and maintain its pristine appearance. With patience and practice, you’ll keep your suit looking fresh and wrinkle-free, ready for any occasion.

Storing Your Suit Post-Cleaning

Now that you’ve mastered the art of cleaning and pressing your suit, it’s time to delve into the crucial step of storage. How you store your suit post-cleaning can significantly impact its longevity, appearance, and wear over time. So, let’s dive into best practices to ensure your suit stays in top condition.

Proper Suit Storage

1. Use a Garment Bag:

After cleaning and pressing your suit, it’s essential to keep it protected from dust, light, and potential damage. Invest in a high-quality garment bag made of breathable material, like cotton or nylon. Avoid plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to mold or mildew growth.

2. Wooden Hangers:

Always hang your suit on a well-shaped, wooden hanger. A wooden hanger provides ample support to maintain the shape of the shoulders, which is crucial for preventing wrinkles and deformities in the fabric. Avoid wire or plastic hangers, as they can stretch out the shoulders.

3. Allow Room to Breathe:

Ensure that your suits have enough space in the closet. Overcrowding can lead to wrinkles and creases, making your suit harder to maintain. Give each suit some breathing room to avoid contact with other clothing items.

4. Store in a Cool, Dry Place:

Avoid storing your suit in areas with high humidity, direct sunlight, or extreme temperatures. These conditions can lead to fabric deterioration, fading, or mildew growth. A cool, dry closet is the ideal location.

5. Rotate Your Suits:

If you have multiple suits, rotate them to allow each one to rest between wears. This practice helps reduce the wear and tear on any single suit and ensures they all maintain their appearance for longer.

6. Protect Against Moths and Pests:

Use cedar balls or lavender sachets in your closet to deter moths and other pests that may damage your suits. Regularly inspect your suits for signs of pest damage.

Long-Term Suit Storage

If you plan to store your suit for an extended period, such as during seasonal transitions, follow these additional steps:

1. Clean Before Storage:

Before placing your suit in long-term storage, ensure it’s thoroughly cleaned and free of any stains or debris. Stains left untreated can set over time and become more challenging to remove later.

2. Use Garment Bags and Acid-Free Tissue Paper:

Place each suit in a breathable garment bag and insert acid-free tissue paper between the folds to help maintain the fabric’s integrity and prevent creases.

3. Choose the Right Storage Container:

Consider using a dedicated suit storage container or airtight plastic storage bins with sealed lids. These containers provide an extra layer of protection against dust and pests.

4. Store in a Dark, Cool Location:

Find a dark, cool, and dry place to store your suits for an extended period. A temperature-controlled storage area, such as a climate-controlled closet or storage unit, is ideal.

5. Regularly Inspect and Rotate:

Even during long-term storage, periodically inspect your suits for any signs of damage or pests. Rotate them and replace the tissue paper to prevent creasing.

By following these steps for proper suit storage, you’ll ensure that your suits remain in excellent condition, ready to be worn whenever you need them. Whether you’re storing them short-term or long-term, the right storage practices can extend the life of your suits and keep them looking their best.


Learning how to clean a suit and properly care for it is essential for maintaining a sharp, stylish appearance. Whether it’s daily maintenance, spot cleaning, deep cleaning, pressing, or storage, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring your suit remains in top condition.

Remember to always check the care label for specific instructions, and tailor your cleaning and care methods accordingly based on the suit’s fabric and needs. With the right knowledge and care, your suit can be a lasting investment, ready to make a statement at any event or occasion. So, take the time to care for your suit, and it will reward you with a polished, sophisticated look for years to come.


Ideally, suits should be cleaned only when necessary, such as when there’s a visible stain or a lingering odor. For regular use, airing out and spot cleaning can suffice. Overcleaning can lead to wear and tear.

It’s best to avoid machine washing, as the agitation can damage the suit’s structure and fabric. Always check the care label. If in doubt, opt for hand washing or professional dry cleaning.

When traveling, use a garment bag to protect your suit. Fold it properly to minimize wrinkles. On arrival, hang it up immediately to let any creases fall out.

Always use a pressing cloth between the iron and the suit. This prevents direct heat from causing shine. Also, avoid pressing too hard or letting the iron sit in one spot for too long.

Yes, steam cleaning can be gentle and effective, especially for refreshing the suit and removing light wrinkles. However, always test on a hidden area first and ensure the fabric type is compatible with steaming.

First, blot (don’t rub) the stain immediately. Depending on the type of stain, you may need a specific cleaning agent. If unsure, it’s best to consult with or take the suit to a professional dry cleaner.

Hanging trousers by the cuffs allows for a natural downward pull, which can help reduce wrinkles. Ensure the hanger clips are gentle and won’t leave marks on the fabric.

This depends on how long you wear it each time and the conditions (e.g., a long day in a smoky room vs. a few hours at a clean office). As a general guideline, after 3-4 full-day wears, consider airing, brushing, or potentially cleaning.