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Wool care

How to clean a wool suit


For many, a great wool suit might be the most expensive piece of clothing they’ll ever purchase. So it stands to reason that you would want to take care of and keep clean your investment. Knowing the ins and outs of cleaning a wool suit – how often it should be cleaned, whether dry cleaning is safe – isn’t just about keeping it smelling fresh, but also prolonging its life.

Dry clean a suit only when absolutely necessary

As a rule, dry cleaning should be a last resort. Modern dry cleaning methods involve the use of blasting the fabric of your suit with harsh chemicals. While the occasional visit won’t do too much damage, a lot of men make the mistake of over-cleaning, which can weaken the fibres and also cause the colour of your suit to fade. By following a good maintenance routine, a suit should only need to visit the dry cleaners at most three times a year.

Rotate and protect your suit

One of the easiest ways to maintain the condition and cleanliness of a wool suit is to allow time for it to recover. Avoid wearing the same suit two days in a row, instead rotating your outfits to allow your suit to recover and prevent it from deteriorating.

When not in use, it should be stored in a cloth suit bag. Cloth – as opposed to plastic or canvas – not only protects your suit from moths but will also encourage airflow, which is important when it comes to keeping your wool suit fresh.

Hang and breathe your suit

Immediately hanging your suit after wearing aerates the fabric, which prevents the build-up of odours. Wool is a natural fibre and as such breathes. Or in other words, it allows for airflow that helps dissipate any moisture absorbed by the garment. Incidentally, this is what makes wool such a beautiful year-round material.

Invest in a hanger made of natural wood, choosing one that is contoured to follow the natural shape of the shoulders. The wood will help absorb moisture after wearing, while the contoured hanger will help maintain the shape of your suit.

Can I iron a suit?

Excess heat can be damaging to wool so avoid ironing where possible. While a good quality steamer isn’t cheap, they are an investment that has huge dividends in the long term care of your suit.

Portable steamers will not only remove any wrinkles that may develop through daily wearing or poor storage, but also remove the daily build-up of dirt and thus help maintain a pristine, clean wool suit.

If ironing your suit, be sure to set your iron to a low-to-medium heat setting. Many people also like to use a pressing cloth when ironing suits, placing the cloth between the fabric and the iron.

Brush before dry cleaning

Rather than resorting to a dry cleaner, invest in a good quality suit brush and gently give your suit a brush after every time you wear it.

This will help remove the dirt and tiny particles that cause odours without damaging the suit. Where possible, choose a brush made with real animal hair, as these are gentler than the synthetic variety.

How to remove stains from a suit

Wool is naturally stain resistant, thanks to the fibre's natural protective outer layer that helps stains being absorbed. However, should you have an untimely accident, be sure to follow these simple stain removal tips.

How to remove white coffee, tea or chocolate stains from a wool suit

  1. Dab gently around the edge of the stain with a cloth soaked in white spirit.=
  2. Soak a lint-free cloth in the solution and lightly dab the stained area. Press gently with an absorbent cloth.

 

How to remove black coffee stains from a wool suit

  1. Mix alcohol and white vinegar in equal parts.
  2. Soak a lint-free cloth in the solution and lightly dab the stained area. Press gently with an absorbent cloth.

 

How to remove pen ink stains from a wool suit

  1. Dab gently with a lint-free cloth soaked in white spirit.
  2. Repeat the action with a cloth soaked in diluted white vinegar or rubbing alcohol.

 

How to remove alcoholic drink stains from a wool suit

  1. Dab gently with an absorbent, lint-free cloth to remove as much excess liquid as possible.
  2. Sponge the area sparingly with a mixture of warm water and surgical spirit or rubbing alcohol in equal parts.

 

How to remove a blood stain from a wool suit

  1. Remove excess blood immediately with a damp sponge.
  2. Gently dab the area using undiluted white vinegar followed by cold water.

 

How to remove red wine stains from a wool suit

  1. Create a mixture of surgical spirit or rubbing alcohol and water in a 3:1 ratio.
  2. Immediately dab the stain with the mixture.
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