When talking about formal wear, suits are something that surely cannot be missed. When worn right, they have the potential to bring out the best of an individual’s personality. At the workplace, high profile meetings, formal get-togethers and even wedding receptions, suits are the go-to attire for anything that is not-so-casual an occasion.
However, since suits are expensive, they sure do require a bit of extra care. Dry cleaning is the usual method of maintaining suits. Suit dry cleaning and proper storage are what really prolong their life. In case you are wondering how and when you have to decide to get your suits dry cleaned, here is a quick guide to help you in the process of maintaining your formal wear.
When should you send them for dry cleaning?
After you have worn your suit to an event, before you get it back on the hanger, make sure to take a close look all over the piece to check for stains. If there are stains on the suit, send it to a dry cleaner as soon as possible. Once the stain settles into the fabric, it will be difficult to get it cleaned.
Some of us are not frequent party-goers or do not attend enough formal events. Therefore, the chances of a suit piece lying in the wardrobe untouched for several months, at times, even years on end, are not uncommon. In such cases, depending on how long you have stored it, dust and grime might get settled on the suit. It is a good idea to check your suit from time to time and send it in for dry cleaning if it has gathered dust.
You have to take care of your suit even if it has been kept in for a long time, safely wrapped in a plastic/zipped bag and is dust-free. Nonetheless, instead of suit dry cleaning, you can simply keep it in the sun for a few hours and brush it gently yourself, using a cloth brush with fine bristles.
Another reason a suit or any other formal wear could smell or get dirty is because of sweat accumulating. Do not immediately store the suit in the wardrobe, make sure you reverse it and keep it under the fan or hang it on the balcony, so that it is exposed to more air for some time. The best idea to keep your suit intact is to get it dry cleaned once every three-four months, even if you are not wearing it frequently.
Cost of dry cleaning a suit
Cost of dry cleaning a suit differs from one dry cleaning service to the other. For a two-piece suit, the cost typically ranges from INR350 to INR400. If it is a three-piece suit, the cost might go up to INR500. If you want to get just the pants or the blazer done separately, the approximate charges are INR110 and INR250, respectively.
Nonetheless, there is absolutely no reason for you to go to the most expensive dry cleaner for your suits, you can try by giving a piece of the suit or a shirt to assess services, and then make a decision.
Pay special attention to what fabric your suit is made up of. If it’s wool, cashmere, silk, rayon, or linen, you should not risk washing it at home by yourself. These fabrics are delicate and are not suitable for a soap or detergent wash. Especially suits that are heavy, stiff, or stitched in a certain shape, should be ideally dry cleaned, otherwise, their fabric will either get crumpled or will lose its shape.
How to wash a blazer or suit at home?
While sending in a suit or any other formal wear for dry cleaning seems to be the easy way out, you can also wash a suit or a blazer at home. Here are some quick tips.
- The first thing that you need to keep in mind is that direct machine washing is strictly prohibited in the case of suits and blazers. Do not even think of taking your formal wear anywhere near the washing machine without slipping them into a proper cloth bag or cover.
- After you have turned the suit (jacket, pants, waistcoat, blazer, etc.)inside out, you can start folding them. Do not fold them as you do with your other usual clothes. Roll them from the bottom to the top, with each fold being as tight as the previous one. By tightly rolling them, you are ensuring that the space occupied by the suit pieces is minimum. This prevents any sort of felting.
- Now place each piece of the suit in a separate cloth bag. Roll up the excess of the individual bags as well. If the need be, use safety pins to keep them secure.
- Choose the right liquid detergent that is gentle on the fabric. Add the required amount of the liquid to the washing machine. Avoid adding an excess of the liquid detergent. There are wool and cashmere shampoos available, especially for delicate cashmere and silk blazers. You can also add in fabric conditioner additionally, which will ensure that the fabric remains soft and fluffed, even after the wash.
- Do not add in the entire suit piece if it makes the load of the washing machine larger. Add them in separate shifts. Also, check the speed of the wash while managing the settings on the washing machine. If you have already kept each piece in a separate cloth bag, before putting them into the machine, the settings can be set to any number you usually operate the machine at.
- Once the machine has done its work, remove the cloth bags from the machine and take out the pieces of the suit. Do not dry them using the machine or a dryer. Lay them flat on a drying rack or any plain surface in the house where there is no direct sunlight. Direct heat might lead to creases on the fabric of the suit piece.
- Reshape them as they are drying up, you can even gently iron them by keeping them under a thin bed sheet or cotton cloth when they are semi-dry. Use a cloth brush to remove any lint or wool that might have collected on it during the process of washing or drying. A pill comb can also be used to run across the fabric and remove pills from the surface of the cloth.
It might seem a little too daunting and risky to machine wash, or even hand wash your formal wear at home. But by following the instructions step by step and taking care of the washing products being used, there is no chance that the suit will be damaged or felted. Just make sure that you first try this technique on a fairly cheap suit or a shirt, and are confident enough about it before carrying it out on an entire piece of suit or an expensive blazer. For certain fabrics that are extremely delicate, it is advisable that you send them for dry cleaning, as they are not meant for detergent or machine wash at all.
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