If you have a prized suit that you love to wear for big meetings or even just for special occasions, you know how hard it is to take care of it. A really good suit will need to be dry cleaned but knowing when it needs to be cleaned and how often are things that many people simply do not know.
Well as a person who has ruined more than their fair share of suits, I have looked into this and as a result, I have some pro tips for you to make sure that your favorite suit is able to be worn for as long as possible.
So What Is Dry Cleaning Anyway?
We have all heard the term “dry cleaning” if you are reading this I am guessing chances are you have even had some clothes dry cleaned, but not many people actually know what dry cleaning is.
Basically, dry cleaning is the process of cleaning fabric with a substance called Perchloroethylene, more commonly referred to as Perc. Interestingly, Perc is still a liquid, even though it is called dry cleaning!
How Do I Know If It Is Time For My Suit To Be Dry Cleaned?
Unfortunately, there is no little bar in your suit that tells you when it is time to take it to the dry cleaners…. It would be awesome if there was and maybe in 2118 this will be a thing, but for now, there is no exact way to know when it is time to take your suit in for a clean. What I can tell you is that most of us end up dry cleaning our suits more often than we need to!
Dry cleaning will, of course, freshen up and make your suit look great, but it has been proven that Perc over time can be harmful to suits. This is because it natural oils that are in your suits fibers are stripped away by the perc.
This is not to say that dry cleaning is dangerous, as even regular clothes like your t-shirt will start to break down after they have been washed so many times. So knowing how often to dry clean a suit can be tough, but I can tell you it is not as often as you would think.
Using your eyes and nose is the best way to know if your suit needs a clean. When giving it a quick wipe or brush down no longer gets rid of a stain or if it starts to “smell” a little bit, you know it is time to take it in for a dry clean.
Of course, how often you use your suit will depend on how often you should dry clean it. If you live in your suit, then you are looking at much more frequent cleaning than if you break it out just a few times per year. I would suggest that if you really love your suit and more often than not you find yourself saying, “man, I look fantastic” when you catch your reflection. Try to dry clean it only when it is completely necessary.
How Do I Pick The Right Dry Cleaner For My Suit?
If you love your suit as much as I do mine, you do not just want to pick the very first dry cleaner that you see! Do some homework first, have a Google search, ask some buddies, put the work out on Facebook! There are probably more dry cleaners in your vicinity than you think.
See how long they have been in business, you want to make sure that the people who are handling your prized suit know what they are doing. So as well as checking reviews, see how long they have been in the dry cleaning game.
There is nothing wrong with making a few calls and asking questions. Do not be shy, if they are friendly and willing to answer any questions you have, your mind will be at ease. I would suggest asking questions like: Have they handled a suit like yours before?
How long will it take? How much will it cost and one question that I highly recommend you ask, but many people never think to ask them is if they will be dry cleaning your suit in their facility or if they send it out. Some dry cleaners and laundry places, in general, will send clothes to a larger place.
Chances are your suit would be fine, but this is an extra step in the dry cleaning process that could lead to your suit having an accident or even being lost!
Before you hand over your favorite suit, make sure you know of any imperfections. For example is a button or a bit of stitching lose? You want to do this so you can know for sure that the suit comes back to you in the same condition it left. If there is an issue with your suit, let the dry cleaners know about it beforehand as it will show them that no one knows their suit better than you.
Tips To Keep Your Suit Clean And Fresh In Between Trips To The Dry Cleaners
As I said, while there is no exact amount of time limit when it comes to how often to dry clean a suit. The less you do it, the longer your suit will last. Here are a few tips that will help you keep your suit clean and space out those trips to the dry cleaners.
Hang Your Suit Properly
After you get back from work, your meeting or wherever. Hang your suit on a strong wooden hanger. This will let it fall back into shape and work out any creases that it will have picked up.
Have Extra Suits
While a custom suit (or a high-end one off the rack) is not cheap. Having a couple that you can rotate will certainly allow you to keep them cleaner. If you wear the same suit all week, it is going to get dirtier quicker than if you were only to wear it a couple of times.
Keep Your Suit Covered
When you are not wearing your suit and it is hanging up (on a strong wooden hanger) place it inside a cloth cover. Make sure it is a cloth cover as a cloth one will not just keep the dirt and dust at bay, it will also allow air to get to the suit which will help keep it fresh.