How to Protect Your Suit From Bad Odors

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The right suit can make a world of difference in your appearance. It provides a more formal look while complimenting your body in the process. However, you should follow some basic tips to keep your suit smelling fresh. When neglected or otherwise not properly maintained, a suit — like all garments — can develop bad odors. While this doesn’t affect the appearance or performance of the suit, bad odors are something most men want to avoid. So, what steps can you take to keep your suit smelling nice and prevent bad odors?

Wash After Each Use

While common sense to most people, it’s still worth mentioning that washing your suit will protect it from bad odors. If you only own a few suits, you may assume it’s okay to wear the same one for multiple consecutive days. After all, if a suit isn’t stained or visibly damaged, what’s the harm? Well, just because a suit looks okay doesn’t necessarily mean it smells okay. Suits can harbor foul-smelling germs that contribute to bad odors. This is particularly true when a suit goes unwashed for multiple days. To prevent this from happening to your suit, it’s recommended that you wash it after each use.

With that said, always check the care label on your suit for specific instructions on how to clean and care for it. Whether it’s a cotton, wool or linen suit, most suits are not washing machine friendly. And attempting to clean them in a washing machine could damage the fabric. This is why it’s always best to err on the side of caution by following the manufacturer’s instructions on the care label.

Store in Dry Environment

It’s recommended that you store your suit in a dry environment to protect against foul odors. When stored in a moist, humid environment, suits are more likely to develop foul odors. This is because moisture from the air will land on the suit and absorb into the fabric. When this occurs, the suit will develop mold and mildew; thus, contributing to foul odors.

Even if you don’t see any visible mold or mildew on the suit, it’s probably there. Thankfully, this problem is easily avoided by storing your suit in a dry environment. Assuming you don’t already own one, invest in a humid gauge to measure the humidity level in your home. If it rises above 60%, use a dehumidifier to lower it. Humidity levels above 60% indicate excessive airborne moisture, which subsequently contributes to mild, mildew and foul-smelling odors.

Rub It With a Dryer Sheet

A fast and easy way to make your suit smell clean is to rub it with a dryer sheet. You don’t have to necessarily place your suit in the dryer. On the contrary, this could actually backfire by damaging your suit. Instead, simply rub a dryer sheet across the surface of the fabric. Dryer sheets are designed with special chemicals that remove static electricity while leaving fabrics smelling nice and clean in the process. Best of all, they only cost a few bucks per box. If you wear a suit on a daily basis, keep a box of dryer sheets in your car. This way, you can easily remove bad odors from your suit.

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Wear an Undershirt

If perspiration is causing your suit to smell funky, consider wearing an undershirt with it. Suits, especially those made of highly absorbent fabrics, are likely to hold perspiration. When you sweat, moisture produced by your body will seep into the suit’s fabric, causing it to smell funky. To prevent this from happening, try wearing an undershirt. Instead of absorbing into the suit, perspiration will absorb into your undershirt. Many guys always wear an undershirt with their suit for this very reason. As a side benefit, though, an undershirt adds an extra layer of insulation, protecting from the cold weather. Just remember to choose V-neck cut undershirt that’s not visible from the outside.

Steam It

You can also use a fabric steamer to deodorize your suit and make it smell nice. Regardless of the fabric from which it’s made, your suit will probably develop wrinkles at some point. A clothing iron can remove minor wrinkles and creases, but it doesn’t offer any benefit in terms of eliminating bad odors. A better option is to use a fabric or garment steamer. Not only will it remove wrinkles, but it also eliminates bad odors.

Avoid Synthetic Fabrics

When choosing a suit, avoid synthetic fabrics and instead choose a suit made of an all-natural fabric. Polyester and polyester blends, for instance, are more likely to develop foul odors than natural fabrics like cotton, linen and wool. Of course, suits made of natural fabrics such as these are also softer and more comfortable than their synthetic counterparts. For these reasons and others, it’s best to avoid suits made of synthetic fabrics.

Hang Up Your Suit

When you aren’t wearing your suit, try to get into the habit of hanging it up on a clothes hanger. If you toss your trousers and jacket on the floor, they may accumulate odor-causing moisture and germs. Hanging it up on a high-quality clothes hanger, however, prevents this from happening. Your suit trousers and jacket will be spread apart rather than bunched up; thus, reducing the risk of foul odors. Furthermore, hanging up your suit will protect it from common forms of damage.

Use a Garment Bag When Traveling

Finally, place your suit in a garment bag when traveling. Some guys assume it’s okay to place their suit in a trash bag when traveling, believing this will protect it from dirt, dust, debris and damage. The problem with storing your suit in a trash bag or similar enclosure, however, is that it prevents the fabric from “breathing.” Moisture becomes trapped inside the bag, encouraging the formation of odor-causing mold and mildew. A garment bag, on the other hand, protects your suit while allowing the fabric to breathe in the process.