Scotch, Cigars, and Suits
The man’s guide to removing smoke odor and scotch stains from his suit
Ever want to smoke a cigar at a formal party? What about sip a scotch? Did you ever skip these simple pleasures out of fear of staining or smelling up your suit? Now, a man can enjoy a cigar and scotch without worrying about irreparably damaging his nice suit.
Enjoying a Cigar & Scotch
Men love a party where they can enjoy a good glass of scotch and a fine cigar. Something about this combination exclaims manliness and men happily partake of them in the company of other men. Parties unfortunately don’t last forever, but the worst part of them can: a smelly or stained suit. What happens in the event that some precious liquid falls onto your fine suit? What about getting that cigar smell out of your clothes (sure you love it, but your wife and coworkers don’t)? This guide will help you keep the great memories of the party without living with a scotch stain or a suit that smells like cigar smoke.
The Importance of Dry Cleaning
Regardless of whether your suit smells of cigars or has a scotch stain, taking the garment to a good dry cleaner as soon as possible is the first and most important step. The dry cleaning process is supposed to remove stains and smells, after all. When you drop off the clothes, point out any stains in need of removal and tell the cleaner what the stain is. Tell them also if the clothes reek of smoke and that you need them deodorized.
Getting Cigar Odor out of a Suit
Assuming you’re going to get your suit to a dry cleaner as soon as possible, there are some things you can do to keep the cigar smoke smell from residing permanently in your suit.
- Air out the suit. Don’t hang it right back up in your closet. If you do, the suit won’t lose the smoke smell and you might smell up more clothes. Hang the suit pieces up on separate hangers someplace outside your closet where they will get good air circulation.
- Spray on an odor eliminator. Febreeze is designed to remove all manner of odors from soft surfaces like carpet and upholstery, and will work well on a suit. The bottle’s label states that it can be used on clothing, but always test on an inconspicuous area first. Another great odor eliminator, according to the Mythbusters, is vodka. In their experiment, a garment sprayed with 1:3 vodka-to-water ratio before laundering rendered it less smelly than a garment without. So, a little vodka on the suit while it airs out will mean the difference between a fresh suit and an odious one (naturally, spray first on a test area that won’t be seen). In the author’s test, neither Febreeze nor vodka left a stain on a pair of wool pants once dry, so use either of these to evict at least some cigar smoke odor.
- Use an odor absorber. An odor absorbing bag, like this one, is the best choice for removing suit odors before getting to the dry cleaner. When you take off the cigar smoke-infested suit, put it on the hanger like usual, put the suit in a garment bag, and place the odor absorbing bag in the bottom. The odor absorber will draw the cigar smell out of your clothes as it sits in the garment bag. If this totally removes the smell, great! You don’t have to take the suit to the cleaner. If it only removes some of the smell, great! Take the suit to the cleaner, ask them to deodorize, and when you pick it up, your suit shouldn’t smell at all.
Treating a Scotch Stain on a Suit
Spilling scotch on a suit doesn’t mean the end. Here are the steps to treating a scotch stain whether at home or away:
- Make a wet spotter, and keep one at home and in your car. A wet spotter is a combination of water and lubricant that you apply to a wool suit to prevent stains from setting and to break them up. The wet spotter recipe is this:
- 1 part glycerine
- 1 part liquid dishwashing detergent
- 8 parts water
Mix these in a small bottle. The measurements the author used were tablespoon glycerine, tablespoon liquid dishwashing detergent, and four tablespoons water. Glycerine can be found at drugstores or pharmacies in the first aid section. Use clear dishwashing detergent – you don’t want any of those dyes interfering with your suit cleaning.
- You must react as quickly as possible to prevent a stain from setting, so first, get all the excess liquid out of the cloth by blotting, not rubbing. Use your pocket handkerchief, since this will be the closest thing to you.
- Now moisten a washcloth with cold water and apply it to the stained area. This is called flushing, it dilutes the stain and absorbs it. Keep the stain moist from now on.
- Take out your wet spotter and squeeze a little (5 drops or so) onto the stain and gently press it in with the wet washcloth. Now let the stain be absorbed up into the washcloth, keeping it moist.
- Once the stain has lifted, blot the area with a dry cloth and dry as well as you are able without rubbing. Take a look at the area after it has dried. If it still looks discolored, take the garment to the cleaner and point out the stain, telling them that it’s scotch and what you did to treat it. Make sure the stain is out before you leave the cleaner when you pick up the suit, or you might have to pay for another cleaning.
When the Scotch and Cigar Party is at Home or Away
Don’t ever again be afraid to indulge in the gentleman’s pleasure of a scotch and cigar. Bookmark this article and read it over before you head out to that party, and make sure you have a wet spotter in the glove box. While you’re at it, buy a small spray bottle and fill it with Febreeze (can’t do this with vodka because it would violate open container laws – do not keep alcohol in your car! Also, don’t drink and drive!), and put it in a plastic bag with the wet spotter, and you’ll be ready for it all. Give yourself a quick spray with Febreeze before you drive off and you’ll save everyone from smelling cigars on you when you get home.
If a spill happens at your place, you’ll know exactly what to do whether it’s on you or someone else, so lend a hand if it happens.
Unafraid of what might happen, go on out there and have a night with a cigar, scotch, and some great company. You’ll know how to take care of your suit no matter what.
Antonio Centeno is President of A Tailored Suit, an online American boutique fine-clothing merchant specializing in bespoke men’s suits, shirts, jackets, and overcoats. The company’s mission is to help men create the clothing that best enhances their individual style. Antonio studied men’s clothing design in London, Hong Kong, and Bangkok; he is a former US Marine with an MBA from UT Austin and a BA from Cornell College.
Timothy Broderick is currently studying men’s style and fashion under Antonio Centeno at A Tailored Suit. He hopes to further his knowledge on these subjects and to attain a position with A Tailored Suit helping men find clothing that best suits their personal style and personality.