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Can You Steam A Suit? A Step-By-Step Guide

Steaming is a method of removing wrinkles and refreshing clothing, fabrics, and other textiles by using steam from boiling water. This process can be done with a standalone garment steamer or by using an iron with a steam function. There are also some other ways of steaming a suit about which we will talk about in this article. So, let’s answer the question you came here for.

Can a Suit Be Steamed?

Yes, a suit can be steamed, and it is often a preferred method of freshening up and removing wrinkles from suits without subjecting them to the wear and tear of washing or excessive dry cleaning. Steaming is generally gentler on fabrics than ironing, and it’s especially useful for suits made of delicate fabrics or those with construction details that can be difficult to iron around.

How To Steam A Suit Properly

Steaming a suit properly requires careful attention to technique and detail to ensure the fabric is treated gently and effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to steam your suit the right way:

Prepare Your Steamer

Fill your steamer with distilled or de-mineralized water to prevent mineral buildup, which can clog the steamer or leave spots on your suit.

Turn on the steamer and allow it to heat up. Wait until it produces a steady stream of steam.

Hang the Suit

Place the suit jacket and trousers on separate hangers. Ideally, use broad-shouldered hangers for the jacket to maintain its shape.

Hang them in an open space, away from walls or other garments to allow for free movement around the suit.

Steam the Suit Jacket

Start with the jacket’s collar, steaming from one end to the other.
Move to the lapels, gently pulling them taut with one hand and steaming with the other.

Steam the front panels, working from top to bottom.

For sleeves, begin at the shoulder and work your way down to the cuff. If your suit has a defined crease on the sleeve, be careful not to steam it out.

Flip the jacket over and steam the back, starting at the top and working your way down.

Steam the Trousers

Start at the waistband and work your way down one leg and then the other. If the trousers have a crease down the front, be careful to steam around it without eliminating the crease.

Pay attention to areas like pleats or the crotch, where wrinkles might be more pronounced.

Be Gentle

Never press the steamer head directly onto the fabric. Keep the steamer a short distance away from the suit, allowing the steam to flow onto the garment.

Use your free hand (with care to avoid burns) to smooth out wrinkles or to tautly hold the fabric.

Address Details with Caution

Be careful around embellishments, buttons, or pockets. Avoid excessive steam in these areas to prevent damage or warping.

Allow the Suit to Dry

After you’ve finished steaming, let the suit hang for at least 10-15 minutes in a well-ventilated area. This will allow any residual moisture to evaporate and will help the fabric set.
Inspect and Store:

Once the suit is dry, inspect it for any missed wrinkles or areas that might need a touch-up.

Store the suit in a garment bag or a well-ventilated closet to keep it fresh and protected.

With practice, you’ll get the hang of steaming your suit effectively. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult the care label on your suit and to test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the fabric can be safely steamed.

How To Ensure You Don’t Ruin A Suit While Steaming It

There are precautions and steps you should take to ensure you don’t damage your suit while steaming:

  • Check Care Labels: Always read the care label on your suit first. Some fabrics or finishes may have specific care instructions or warnings against steaming.
  • Use a Quality Steamer: Invest in a good quality garment steamer. Handheld steamers are often suitable for home use, but make sure it produces consistent steam and doesn’t spit out water droplets, which can leave marks on the fabric.
  • Test an Inconspicuous Area: Before steaming the entire suit, test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the fabric reacts well to the steam.
  • Avoid Direct Contact: Don’t press the steamer head directly against the fabric, especially if it’s a hot metal plate type. Instead, hold it slightly away, letting the steam flow onto the fabric.
  • Vertical Steaming: Hang your suit on a hanger, preferably in an open space, and steam it vertically. This method allows wrinkles to fall out more naturally.
  • Be Gentle on Suit Details: Be careful around areas like buttons, embroidery, or other embellishments. Excessive steam or heat can sometimes damage these details.
  • Let it Dry: After steaming, let your suit hang for a while to ensure any residual moisture evaporates.
  • Avoid Oversteaming: Oversteaming can potentially harm the natural fibers, especially if the suit is made of wool. You want to steam just enough to remove the wrinkles and freshen up the fabric, not soak it.

By following these precautions, you should be able to steam your suit without ruining it, thereby maintaining its crisp, professional appearance without frequent trips to the dry cleaner.

Other Ways To De-Wrinkle A Suit

If you don’t have access to a steamer, there are several other methods to de-wrinkle a suit:


This is the most traditional method. Use a clean iron and an ironing board:

Always use the iron’s lowest heat setting suitable for your suit’s fabric (typically the wool setting for most suits).

Use the iron’s steam function if available.

Place a clean cloth (like a thin cotton towel or handkerchief) between the iron and the suit to prevent any potential shine or scorching.

Never iron directly onto the suit, especially onto visible areas, as this can cause a shine or alter the fabric’s texture.

Shower Steam

Hang your suit on a hanger in the bathroom.

Take a hot shower with the bathroom door closed. The steam from the shower will help relax the wrinkles in the suit.

Leave the suit hanging in the bathroom for about 15 minutes after the shower.

Ensure the suit doesn’t get wet from splashing or direct contact with the water.

Wrinkle-Release Sprays

These are commercially available sprays that help relax fabric fibers and remove wrinkles.

Spray lightly on the suit and then gently tug and smooth the fabric to remove wrinkles.

Allow the suit to dry fully before wearing.

Dryer Method

This is not ideal for all suits, especially those made of delicate fabrics, but can be useful in a pinch.

Dampen a clean cloth or small towel and place it in the dryer with the wrinkled suit.

Use the lowest heat setting and tumble for about 10 minutes.

The damp cloth will produce steam, helping to de-wrinkle the suit.

Remove the suit immediately and hang it up to prevent new wrinkles from forming.

Professional Dry Cleaning

If your suit is heavily wrinkled or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, consider taking it to a professional dry cleaner. They can press and de-wrinkle the suit for you.

However, frequent dry cleaning can wear out a suit faster due to the chemicals used, so use this method sparingly.

Flat Lay

Lay the suit flat on a clean surface like a bed.

Use your hands to smooth out the wrinkles and leave the suit laid out for a few hours.

This method is more passive and might not work for deeply set wrinkles but can be effective for light wrinkles.

Always remember to check the care label on your suit before trying any de-wrinkling method. Some fabrics or finishes may have specific care instructions or warnings against certain treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Steam A Suit?

Yes, it is generally safe to steam a suit. Steaming is a gentler method of removing wrinkles compared to ironing and doesn’t subject suits to the wear and tear of washing or excessive dry cleaning. However, always check the care label on your suit first. Some fabrics or finishes may have specific care instructions or warnings against steaming.

Can You Iron A Wool Suit?

Yes, you can iron a wool suit, but you should exercise caution. Wool is sensitive to high heat, so set your iron to the wool setting or use low to medium heat. It’s also recommended to use a press cloth (a thin cloth placed between the iron and the suit) to prevent any potential shine or scorching. Always avoid pressing down too hard or ironing in one spot for too long.

Should A Suit Be Ironed?

While a suit can be ironed to remove wrinkles, it’s often better to steam it if possible, as steaming is gentler on the fabric. If you do choose to iron your suit, use a low heat setting and a press cloth, and be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric or causing a shine.

How Do You Keep A Suit Wrinkle Free?

  • Store suits on wide, shaped hangers that support the shoulders.
  • Avoid overcrowding in your closet to ensure suits have space to hang freely.
  • After wearing, let suits air out for a few hours before storing them.
  • Use garment bags for long-term storage or when traveling.
  • Fold suits properly if packing them in luggage: turn the jacket inside out and fold it with tissue paper to prevent creases, and fold trousers along their natural crease.
  • Consider using wrinkle-release sprays for touch-ups.

How Often Should You Steam A Suit?

There’s no strict rule on how often you should steam a suit. Steam it when it’s wrinkled or if you want to freshen it up between dry cleaning sessions. However, be mindful not to oversteam, as excessive moisture and heat can potentially harm natural fibers over time. As a guideline, steam your suit as needed based on its appearance and your personal preference.