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How to Iron a Suit Jacket

If you’re tired of all of the time, effort, and expense that goes into going to the dry cleaner, then it is high time you learn how to iron a suit jacket yourself. All you need is an iron, an ironing board, and these step by step instructions to succeed. We’ll walk you through how to press a suit at home, and help you ensure you don’t damage your suit jacket in the process.

​How to Iron a Suit Jacket

Can you iron a suit jacket? The answer to that burning question is a loud yes. But before you press your hot iron onto a beloved suit, there are a few things you need to consider when you learn how to iron a suit jacket.

  • Start by taking a good look at your suit to make sure the suit is clean and that there are no stains or dirty spots. The heat from an iron will permanently set in stains. So, you will want to spot clean your suit before ironing.
  • Also take this time to read your suit’s label. This will tell you what type of fabric it is and if it recommends any heat settings or instructions for ironing. If your suit says dry clean only, then don’t worry, we will cover that as well.

​​Heat Levels By Fabric

Certain types of fabric can only handle specific heat levels.

  1. Cool – Synthetic fabrics (nylon, silk polyester, acrylic)
  2. Warm – Wools and Polyester blends
  3. Hot – Linen and Cotton

Similar to polyester, a suit is still a delicate piece of clothing, and you will want to take extra measure to protect it when you are learning how to iron a suit jacket. ​

In order to protect your suit during ironing, we recommend placing a cloth over the material. Unlike when you iron regular clothing, ironing a suit takes a little extra effort to preserve and protect the fabric.

​Use A Muslin Cloth

A muslin cloth is the best option. However, a cotton cloth or thin towel will also work. Just make sure the extra layer of cloth is not too thick. You want it to absorb all the heat itself or your jacket will not be pressed.

This extra layer will protect your suit jacket and help prevent any shiny spots occurring from the heat. Move the cloth around the jacket to keep it covered, from the sleeves to the lapels and body.

If you do not have a cloth, then the next best thing is to iron the suit jacket inside out. The lining will add the same additional layer of protection from the heat. Just make sure you know what the lining’s material is made of, so you can adjust the heat setting.

Limit Movement During Ironing

​You need to know that ironing a suit jacket is different than ironing other items. Mainly, because suits are made to fit certain ways. By ironing, pressing, and gliding around the jacket will pull it and make the fit different than it was meant to be.  

Note: you can also steam a suit, if you’re nervous about ironing. We’ve put together a guide on how to steam a suit if you elect to go that route.

Instead of moving the iron around, press down on the wrinkles to flatten them out. Move only slightly, if needed. You do not want to do anything to stretch out your jacket.

​We’ve put together a comprehensive review ​of the top steam irons on the market.​​​

Prepare your Workspace for Ironing

When you are ready to begin ironing, make sure your iron and ironing area are prepared properly. You don’t want to cause any damage to your clothes or surfaces because you didn’t take the time to make sure everything was cleaned and ready to go.

Clean Your Iron Board

Take the time to wipe off your iron before plugging it in. The plate on your iron becomes dirty over time. It can leave dirt or residue on your clothes as you press them.

To clean it, use a simple baking soda paste and then wipe it clean after a minute. Next, make sure you have a prepared place to iron. If you do not have an ironing board, you can make your own surface.

​While you’re cleaning, make sure you’re working with a clean iron. If not, spend a few minutes cleaning out your iron in addition to your ironing board.

Lay Towels Down

Lay down two folded towels on the surface of your choice. The towels will protect your surface from the harsh and constant heat from your iron. Keep in mind that the towels may slide as you iron.

prepare the workspace before ironing

Add Water to Your Iron

Finally, you need to add water to your iron for the steam. If your iron does not have a steam function, then you will want a spritzing bottle on hand. The water is used to dampen your clothes before ironing to keep them from burning.

Once everything is set, you can go ahead and plug in your iron to let it heat up. Don’t use your iron before it reaches the correct temperature. Most models will have an indicator light to let you know when it is ready.

Prep work is important, especially when you’re working with expensive suits. Now you’re ready to get started ironing. 

Ironing a Suit Jacket Step By Step

When everything is prepared, the correct heat settings are set, and your suit is laid out, then ​you are ready to get started ironing your suit. We highly recommend using a top notch iron, like an iron made by Rowenta. You don’t want to chance your expensive suit to a cheap iron. 

  1. Start with the back of your suit jacket. Lay the jacket open on the ironing board.
  2. Smooth out any wrinkles by hand before you press. This will lessen the severity of some wrinkles.
  3. Spray the jacket with water. Begin to press down on the wrinkles to smooth them, instead of gliding them out.
  4. If you need to iron a vent, place a piece of stiff non colored paper between the vent and the back of the jacket to prevent marks.
  5. Once the back is pressed, flip the jacket over and begin to press the front, one side at a time.
  6. Use a moderate amount of pressure on the suit as you begin to work in small sections.
  7. Make sure you do not press over any shoulder padding, as this will ruin the padding’s shape.
  8. Press the lapels by gliding over them very gently. Also pull out any pockets to avoid pressing them and making an imprint.
  9. For the sleeves, the best way is to use a sleeve board or a rolled up and inserted towel, to maintain the shape.
  10. Smooth out wrinkles by hand and then begin in the center of the sleeve. Let the arm seam guide you as you press in small sections.
  11. Finally, hang up your suit and let it cool.
how to iron dry clean only suits

​How to Iron Dry Clean Only Suits

Can you iron a suit jacket that is dry clean only? The answer is yes, but you will need to modify a few steps.

  • First of all, dry cleaning usually means that the fabric does not do well with water. You will skip the steam and water spritzing step on your steam iron.
  • ​As outlined above, you will want to place a cloth or towel over the suit so you do not damage it with heat.
  • Use the lowest heat setting to press out the wrinkles as you iron.
  • If the lowest setting does not get rid of the wrinkles, then you can up the heat a little and try again. It may take more time to find the right heat, but it is easier than trying to fix iron scorch marks in your favorite suit.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to press a suit jacket, you can do so with confidence and pocket the extra money you would have paid the dry cleaner.