PROTECTING AND MAINTAINING YOUR WARDROBE PART 2: DRY CLEANING SUITS

There are not many more contentious topics that dry cleaning when it comes to suits, how often to dry clean your suit.

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There is no hard or fast rule for this as everyone wears suits differently. How often do you wear the suit 1 a week 1 a month or only on occasion. The basic rule of thumb to follow is dry clean the suit when it needs it. Small marks and spills should be dabbed off with a damp cloth, and if the suit is aired as per the last post, you shouldn’t have to worry about odour.

The process of dry cleaning uses a solvent called tetrachloroethylene, known in the industry as “perc”. This is a chemical alternative to clean fabrics too delicate to be washed with water.
So why is it bad on your suit?
The petro chemical strips the lanolin (the natural wool oil) that gives wool its suppleness, making the fabric much more brittle and prone to damage during wear.
This is not to mention the excessive damage caused by poor dry cleaning practices.
Some of these include but aren’t limited to excessive pressing, leading to shiny patches on suits where the fabric has been scorched; not changing the fluid often enough (so your precious garments are being cleaned in someone else’s dirty fluid), and hanging your suits on wire hangers.

So what to do when you suit is looking flat? If you are brushing your suit down after wears and wiping off marks as they occur, all your suits will need is occasional pressing, so just ask your dry cleaner or tailor to press your suit not clean.

However none of this is an excuse for wearing dirty suits, if its dirty get it cleaned. Aside from looking awful the dirt attracts moths and silver fish that damage your suits

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Finding a good dry cleaner is vital., here are a couple of great hints.
Ask your tailor or premium clothes store who they recommend, as most will have one they have a close relationship with and trust with their pieces.
If you take your garments in on proper hangers a good dry cleaner will return them on those ( quickest way to ruin the lines of a freshly pressed suit is to leave it on a wire hanger). Also look for a dry cleaner that does most of their work on site, as it minimises chance that your garment will be misplaced or cleaned incorrectly. However do note that some garments will almost always be done off site by specialists especially suede and leather, however this is a good guide. Another classic hint is to avoid the hotel dry cleaners, as the are often very poor just rushing through jobs with little care as by the time the client realises the garment is damaged they are well gone. I have seen countless garments ruined this way.

If you know of reputable dry cleaners in your city or area please let me know via the comments section as I am compiling a compendium of these things for a late release.

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About themaninasuit

I have been involved in the menswear business since university in1997. Have gradually fallen in love with men's suiting and more recently tailor made garments. I am perpetually asked for style advise and things to wear so decided to get some of my thoughts and passions out and about

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