Can You Put A Suit In The Washing Machine?

Putting a suit in the washing machine is generally not recommended. Depending on the material and washing instructions, it can cause the suit to stretch, swell, and change its shape, potentially damaging the garment. 

While some polyester suits may be machine-washable, wool suits are not. It’s crucial to check the care label instructions before attempting to wash a suit in the machine. Usually, suits are best sent for dry cleaning, regardless of their material.

But what are the risks if you ignore these warnings and still decide to machine wash your suit? Continue reading to learn some simple, yet effective tips on maintaining and caring for your suits, beyond the washing machine.

What Happens If You Wash A Suit In The Washing Machine?

confused person in front of washing machine

If you wash a suit in the washing machine, it could damage the material or permanently change the shape of the suit. 

Suits, unlike casual wear such as t-shirts and jeans, need to maintain their precise structure to look right when worn. Fabrics can stretch when washed and may not shrink back to their original form.

Once a suit’s material is damaged due to improper care, it’s highly unlikely it can be fully restored. Damage can include considerable shrinking and loss of the fine texture of the fabric. 

Important: The manufacturer’s label on your suit will provide crucial information. If it reads “Dry Clean Only,” this is a clear indication that machine washing is not advisable. If it indicates machine washability, it will also offer specific instructions on using either hot or cold water and drying methods.

Why Should You Dry Clean Your Suit

The best way to deeply clean a suit is through dry cleaning. This method uses solvents that are gentler on the fibres and evaporate quickly, preventing shrinking and stretching. 

It’s particularly suitable for structured garments or ones made from materials that don’t handle water well.

How Often Should You Dry Clean Your Suit

suit

As for how often a suit should be dry cleaned, it depends on the frequency of use. For suits worn weekly, consider dry cleaning every month or every other month. If worn infrequently, dry cleaning once a year should suffice. 

Regular dry cleaning helps maintain the suit’s appearance and longevity, especially for frequently used suits. However, cleaning too often might damage the suit, while not cleaning it often enough can lead to the buildup of odours and stains.

How To Spot Clean A Suit At Home 

Instead of washing, consider spot-cleaning your suit using the following tips:

  1. Use a soft brush to remove dust and hair.
  2. Dampen a cloth with a mild detergent solution and spot clean any marks or stains, focusing on areas like the elbows, collar, cuffs, and back.
  3. Always test the detergent on a less visible part of the jacket first to ensure it’s safe for the fabric.

How To Maintain A Suit At Home

bicarbonate of soda

While dry cleaning is recommended for deep cleaning, there are some steps you can take at home to maintain your suit between dry cleaning sessions:

  • Keep your suit in a garment bag to prevent musty odours when not in use.
  • A mix of bicarbonate of soda and water sprayed on the suit can help eliminate mild odours. Ensure it’s completely dry before storing.
  • Use a clothes brush to remove lint and debris.
  • Use a steamer or an iron with a steam setting to freshen up your suit and smooth out wrinkles.

SEE ALSO: Can You Put A Leather Jacket In The Washing Machine?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you wash a suit in a regular washer?

No, you cannot wash a suit in a regular washer as it risks damaging the material and altering the suit’s shape. It is generally advised to follow the care label and opt for professional dry cleaning instead.

Why are suits dry clean only?

Suits are often labelled dry clean only because this method uses solvents that are gentler on the fibres and help maintain the garment’s structure and texture. Washing with water can cause suits, especially those made from delicate fabrics like wool, to shrink, stretch, or lose their texture.

Can you clean a suit without dry cleaning?

Yes, you can clean a suit without dry cleaning by spot-cleaning stains using a mild detergent and water on a damp cloth, focusing on areas prone to marks. For overall freshness, use a soft brush to remove dust and a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and water to eliminate odours, making sure the suit is dry before storage.

How do I get the smell out of a suit jacket?

To get the smell out of a suit jacket, spray a solution of bicarbonate of soda and water on the fabric, allow it to dry completely, and then use a clothes brush or steamer to freshen it up. This method helps in neutralising odours without washing the entire suit.

How often should I wash my suit?

A suit should not be washed frequently but rather dry cleaned depending on the frequency of use. If worn regularly, dry cleaning every month or every other month is sufficient. For less frequent use, dry cleaning once a year to maintain its appearance and longevity.

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