How to wash a suit at home

Dry-cleaning is pricey and takes time. Read our guide to find out how you can do it at home instead!

Updated 24 June 2019

how to wash a suit

A lot of the time, we automatically take suits to the dry-cleaners rather than washing them at home. Whilst this is a fail-safe method of keeping them clean without ruining them, it can get pretty costly and time-consuming, and it isn’t always necessary.

To clear things up, here’s everything you need to know about how to dry clean a suit at home and whether you can machine-wash your suit.

 Unless they’re made from a delicate material or have been treated, suit trousers are usually fine to pop in the wash. Washing a suit jacket at home requires a bit more time and effort. If you’ve got the go-ahead from the label, wash the jacket carefully and then make sure you hang it to dry in its proper shape.    

How to dry clean a suit at home

If you’re tired of always having to go to a dry-cleaner’s to get your suit cleaned, you can buy machines that’ll do it for you from the comfort of your own home. Often pretty costly, these devices are probably only suited to people who visit the dry-cleaners every week or so with a new stash of clothes.

You can also buy dry cleaning kits to wash your suit yourself. These aren’t so good for handling stains and tough dirt, but they can do a pretty good job on lightly-worn suits.

1. Check the label to machine-wash suit jackets

If you’re wondering whether washing a suit at home would ruin it, the first thing you need to do is check the label. Sometimes, ‘Dry clean only’ is put on more as a precaution than anything else. If your suit is made out of wool, silk, cotton or linen but is labelled as dry clean only, chances are you can wash it at home – sometimes you can even machine-wash suit jackets.

2. A test-clean suit at home

Before going ahead and washing your suit, test a small area to see what happens. To do this, apply water to a small area of your suit, and a little Persil detergent and Comfort fabric conditioner. Then, swipe a cotton swab over the washed section. If any of the dye comes off onto the cotton swab, you’ll need to get the suit dry cleaned. If it doesn’t, you’re good to go.

Washing suit jacket linings should also be tested just the same, as these are often visible when worn.

3. Wash suit at home

Now it’s time to wash your suit. Dip your suit in and out of a bowl of cold water with Persil Silk & Wool until it’s suitably cleaned and gently rub at any areas where there are marks. Then, rinse it off with cold water and leave it to air dry naturally.

If you’d rather machine wash, put your suit into a mesh bag after turning it inside out. Choose the gentlest option for washing and make sure it’s set to cold. Once the wash is done, take out your suit and lay it out flat to dry. Easy!

It is possible to wash a dry clean only suit at home, as long as you’re careful and take all the precautions we’ve mentioned here. Once you know how to do it, you can save a whole lot of time and money!

  • Check your suit’s wash care label.
  • Test clean a small area by hand, not forgetting the lining.
  • If suitable, wash the entire suit by hand or pop it in the washing machine on a delicate wash in a mesh bag.
  • Re-shape the suit, especially the suit jacket, after washing.
  • Originally published 10 November 2018