How often should you clean your suit?

Seems like a simple question. . .

As a rule of thumb – I recommend cleaning BOTH pieces no less than once a year,  EVEN if you did not wear the suit. 

I want to emphasize:  Just because you don’t get a stain doesn’t mean that you don’t need to clean a garment.  It helps to air out your clothes at night – ON A HANGER.  And steamers can do wonders – which is about the same thing those do at home dryclean kit do.  They are fine for a refresh – but please, for pants sake, clean them for real after a few wears or every year at a minimum.

Anytime you get a stain or spill on your clothes, clean your item.  Please refrain from trying to use water to remove stains.  And soda water is just water with bubbles – we call it dry-cleaning because it does not have water – water stains can be difficult to remove and can cause color loss.  Especially on dryclean only fabrics

Why should you clean something you’ve never worn or lightly worn? 
1) Sometimes our minds play tricks on us, or we just don’t notice things, remember things, or realize how much time has passed.  You may think you didn’t get any soils on your items, but you may not even know what was on that seat before you sat down. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast many days, let alone that small splash from the sink in the gas station restroom! How often do you wash your hands?  Your clothes are right up against your skin – they protect you as well as project who you are to the world.  Keep them clean!

2) Even without soils the fibers of your clothes can get matted down from wear.  Cleaning fluffs up the fibers and keeps clothes looking more like new.
I had a client come in complaining about a shine on his pants we had just cleaned.  We use a sophisticated identification method – so we can look up exactly when we have cleaned those pants over the last 10 years.  Those pants had not been cleaned in over a year and a half.  I asked him how often he wore his pants – at least twice a month; I asked if he had taken them somewhere else for cleaning – and he insisted we were the only cleaner.  I told him I would need to reclean the pants for a longer period in order to remove the ground in soils and also to fluff up the fibers.  That sort of wear really wears down the fibers and imbeds soil that are much more difficult to remove.  When you wear gabardine pants, just the fact of wearing then, the fibers get rubbed and any dust or fumes in the atmosphere will become embedded in the fibers.  Not cleaning cause these soils to permanently adhere – and one cleaning was not enough.  The cleaning can fluff up the fibers – but that much time requires – in this case – 2 cycles, just to fluff up the fibers.

3) Soils left in clothes for long periods of time damage clothes – and cause holes, wear and premature aging.  Perspiration is a known offender.  If it’s a little hot and you perspire onto your clothes, then leave them unclean; hanging in your closet, the fibers will become weak and the fabric will very likely tear.  *** I don’t like to clean any garment that hasn’t been cleaned in over 5 years.  And if they are visibly soiled and my client knows it has been that long since the last cleaning – I strongly discourage cleaning!  Soils grind into the fabric and damage it.  While its true the soils can attract insects that will also damage your clothes (and by the way – YUCK, you are wearing clothes that soils in the clothes are feeding tiny bug larva you can’t see!) , that is only a small part of the danger.  You can’t see the damage before cleaning because, quite literally, the soils are holding the fibers together (this is also true of feather pillows – clean those yearly or more often!)****

4) There are things in our atmosphere and our homes that can cause fume fading and other damage to our clothes if we never clean them – ALSO  It is a good exercise to go through all our clothes on AT LEAST a yearly basis.  I know, it’s a goal or a rule of thumb – not a hard fast must do.

5) some stains oxidize over time – think 7up or champagne.  Its clear when you spill it.  It dries like water – but give it 6 months, and some heat, it turns brown (like when you bite into an apple and set it aside).  At that point the stain is set and the fibers are at risk.

For a typical men’s suit, the jacket will often be removed for safekeeping.  Like when you get in the car, or driving.  At work when working alone, etc.  This is a normal and wise practice.  Suit coats are  what we call a “structured” garment.  That is, it has a lining, interfacing and material that gives the garment support it also often has bonding material (I really need to write about bonding material - manufacturers should be scolded for their use of it!).  The lining protects the garment from persperation and the fact that you often remove the jacket for driving, etc means that the shine is less likely.  Structured garments are more difficult to clean - they don’t like the agitation of the cleaning cycle – so it works that men normally wear their jackets less than pants.  Pants on the other hand often get worn more often than the corresponding jacket – and you sit on your pant, bend in them and just plain rub on them. . . .. Sorry but its true.  You are more likely to soil or spill on your pants – knowingly or by just sitting in something questionable.    So your pants, by their nature will need to be cleaned more often than your jacket.

Here’s a tip (in my humble opinion):  If you find a suit you love, BUY 2 PANTS!

OK, Ive gone on for longer than I meant – this was supposed to be short and sweet.
Seems that nothing is ever as simple as it would seem. . . but I hope you get my point.

Cleaning your clothes more frequently or regularly will 
            help your clothes last longer
            Will keep you healthier and feeling better
            Keep your clothes looking better
Thanks for listening, and hey, thanks for wearing clothes!


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Seamus Lowe said...

My friend keeps telling me I need to take my suit to a dry cleaner where I'm at in Provo. He finally just came out and said my suit stunk horribly. I got it cleaned and it smells like heaven.

Ablitt's Fine Cleaners said...

Its a delicate situation!