How to dry a soaked suit

rishi sunak in a wet suit outside downing street
How to save a drenched suitGetty Images

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With the weather as it is, it’s all too easy to get caught in a downpour with no umbrella to hand. But, when you’re wearing an expensive suit, the situation gets a lot more frustrating. Suits can be ruined when exposed to heavy rainfall, so you’ll want to avoid it as best you can.

But what should you do when your tailored items inevitably get wet? Can you save them? We’ve rounded up our top tips to take you through what to do when a downpour takes its toll on your suit.

Dry immediately

Take off the suit as soon as you’re sheltered and make drying it a priority. Lay it flat on a towel on the bathroom floor, and gently press with towels from the other side to remove the excess.

Do not roll it in the towel as you would with other items and take extra care around the collar and shoulders; excess pressure could damage the structure. Press with towels until it’s damp rather than sodden. Leave for a few hours to air dry here, making sure the room is well-ventilated. You can stuff the sleeves with newspaper to help keep the shape.

Do not place a damp suit in front of a radiator or resort to the tumble dryer or even a hairdryer. The intense heat can damage the material, and the tumbling action would ruin the structure.

Instead, once it’s had time to prematurely dry on the floor, hang your suit jacket up using a sturdy thick hanger (ideally one designed for suits). Hang your trousers separately using trouser hangers, so the air can better circulate and dry. Place both in a well-ventilated space, such as in front of an open window or door (or outside if it’s stopped raining). To speed up the process, set up a dehumidifier nearby. Keep your suit out of direct sunlight to avoid bleaching.

Once the suit is fully dry (this may take a day or two), take it to the dry cleaners for a professional clean if necessary. This will restore its feel and shape and remove any minerals it may have absorbed from the rain. The dry cleaners can also comment on whether your suit can or can’t be saved from any water damage.

how to save a drenched suit
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Going forward

Where possible, keep water exposure to a minimum for your suit. But we don't always have an umbrella to hand or an overcoat. So, when purchasing a new suit, consider if it has water-resistance claims to make this process less damaging in the future.

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