How to Take Care of Your Suits

A good suit is a staple of every man’s wardrobe. It’s also something you want to last a while, if not forever. Fortunately, suits are pretty sturdy, but they still need a little attention to stay in top shape. Follow these guidelines and you and your suit will have a very long and happy life together.

How to Get Wrinkles Out of a Suit:

Suits need a gentle touch when it comes to the de-wrinkling process. So put the iron away, unless shiny patches of damaged fabric are your thing. Steaming is the only way to go for your tailored treasure. We suggest you go small with a travel-sized version. It can perform double duty at home and on the road. Both The Wirecutter and Racked recommend the Joy Mangano My Little Steamer. Steaming will also help neutralize any funky smells. (Thank you, summer weddings.)

How to Get Stains Out of a Suit:

Here’s some good news for your wallet: You don’t need to dry clean a suit for every stain. In fact, suits, especially wool ones, should only be dry cleaned in the direst of circumstances.

When it comes to small stains, spot treating is the way to go: Start with a white or light-colored cloth and water, and dab at the stain. If it doesn’t budge, apply a small amount of a stain treatment product like Shout to the cloth and repeat the dabbing motion; avoid spraying products directly onto the suit and, once the stain is gone, go over the area with clean water to remove residue from the stain treatment. (You might as well throw a shout wipe in your wallet too, in case of emergency.)

To take things to the next level, invest in a clothes brush with natural fibers — it’ll do wonders for any lingering dirt, dust, or crud. After doffing your suit, hang it up, give it a quick brushing and leave it overnight to air out before putting it back in your closet.

How to Make Your Suit Smell Fresh(er):

If your suit has taken on a bit of an odor that steaming alone can’t address, you can deodorize it by lightly spritzing it with either white vinegar or vodka. Put the suit on a sturdy hanger, pour the vinegar or vodka (use the cheap stuff for cleaning and save the good stuff for drinking!) into a spray bottle, hold it six to eight inches away from the fabric and mist. Take care not to soak the fabric. As the suit dries, the smell of the vinegar or vodka will dissipate and take your personal odors along with it. Magic!

How to Take a Suit to the Cleaners:

When it is time to have your suit professionally cleaned, always send all the pieces out together, even if, say, only the pants truly need cleaning, to prevent one piece of the suit from becoming unmatched in appearance. And if it comes back to you on a wire hanger, make sure you put it on something sturdier right away. Like this.

Like we said, suits are built to last, but all of the above will help them last longer. And that’s a very good thing, because every man looks very good in them.

Jolie Kerr is an advice columnist and author of the book My Boyfriend Barfed In My Handbag … And Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha. She is the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person.