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Washing and Maintenance

Cleaning your new fursuit may seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite easy! The hardest part is waiting, but with proper care and some time you will have your critter smelling fresh in no time.

★ When Should I Wash My Fursuit? ★

Fursuits, unlike clothes, do not require washing after every wear. But they still need the occasional clean after some time. I suggest washing:

  1. After a convention weekend. Several straight days of wearing your fursuit for long periods of time are gonna cause a smell. 

  2. If you’ve sweated heavily in your suit, particularly after a long outing.

  3. There’s a noticeable odor on it. 

  4. You got a stain, spill, or other dirt on your suit. (Most of the time a spot cleaning is perfectly suitable for this.

  5. It’s been awhile since the last time you cleaned your suit, and it has been worn a few times since.

  6. Tails should be spot clean only for the most part. Unless it has an odor, severe handling, or mess on it, it shouldn’t need machine washing.

  7. Feetpaws, like tails, should also be a spot clean only for the most part. If you have magnetic soles, those soles are a strict spot clean only. 

  8. Heads can be hand washed, but should for the most part be a spot clean only. Green machines and similar items can be used to clean heads, tails, and feetpaws for a deeper clean than standard surface washing.


 

★ Important Things to Know Before Washing ★

Fursuits also don’t wash like clothes. They require special care to be taken in order to come back out pristine and clean.

  1. NO HEAT. I cannot stress this enough. No hot water, no dryer, no hairdryer. Heat will cause the fibers to frizz and melt, which can be unrepairable in severe cases. 

  2. DO NOT USE HARSH CHEMICALS. Fursuits do not take it well, their delicate fibers can easily crimp and frizz under this pressure.

  3. AVOID LAUNDRY SALTS. If your fursuit uses magnets, these will render them neutral and lose their magnetism. 

  4. THEY ARE BLEACH SAFE. Faux fur and minky isn’t dyed, the pigment is in the plastic fibers themselves. Bleach is totally fine to use on your suit for tough stains.

  5. DO NOT USE WOOLITE. Woolite is meant for real animal fur, which contains oils and other things that help keep the pelt sleek. Fursuits do not need oil in their pelt, being plastic based. A generic laundry detergent is perfect for the job. 

  6. DO NOT DRY CLEAN. The harsh chemicals of a dry clean will destroy your suit. You don’t need a specialty cleaner, a standard washer is perfectly suitable for a fursuit. 


 

★ Visual Cleaning and Repair Tutorials ★

Are you more of a visual person? Perhaps you need to patch a hole on your fursuit, but don’t even know how to thread a needle. Matrices has a large assortment of tutorials that I would suggest checking out. She puts it into words much better than I can, and usually has pictures! Her cleaning instructions are also applicable to my work. You can find those and more on her site >>here<<.

For the most part, most standard fursuit washing tips work for my costumes. They are fursuit spray safe, can take most detergents, and are durable enough to hold up in a washing machine. If you ever aren't sure about something, you're welcome to ask.


 

★ How to Wash ★

For the most part, my fursuits are machine washable, with the exception of the head. For washing your bodysuit, handpaws, feetpaws, and tail:

  1. Gather the dirty articles. Flip bodysuits inside out, wash paws and tail in a pillowcase, and if your feetpaws have magnetic soles, remove the sole and set them to the side. They are not machine washable. 

  2. Add your detergent as instructed by the packaging and washer manufacturer. 

  3. Make sure to set the settings to normal, cold water. Faux fur is fairly heavy and shouldn’t need a special cycle. You may want to run an extra spin cycle to help wring out the water from the suit.

  4. Once finished, take the articles and wring out as much water as possible. Flip the body right side out and hang in a room with low humidity and a fan running. Paws and tail can be taken out of their pillowcases and set to dry by the fan as well. Brush periodically and rotate items to make sure everything dries even.

  5. Once the suit is dry, it’s ready for storage! Store in a dark, cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and where the suit isn’t bunched up or folded. 

If you have a spare box or few and some fans free, you can create a dryer box. This is an effective way to dry fursuit parts out, as it works like a dryer, but with no heat. You’ll need a hole in one corner in the top of the box, a hole on the bottom in the opposite corner, and a fan. Set up the box and place the item inside. Place a fan under the hole on the bottom of the box and turn on. Make sure you can feel air coming out of the top hole. Check on the suit every now and then, brushing it out and rotating it to make sure there’s even drying. This tends to speed the process up IMMENSELY. 

★ Storing your Fursuit ★

Storing fursuits is an easy task, but may not seem so at first glance. There's a few rules to follow.

  1. Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Exposure to prolonged humidity can encourage mold growth. Heat can damage the fibers. Sunlight can fade the fur over time.

  2. The bodysuit can be hung up on a sturdy hanger in a closet safely. Feetpaws can sit comfortably on the floor, or in a box.

  3. Opaque storage bins are perfect places to store the head, handpaws, tails, armsleeves, feetpaws, accessories, and more. I recommend picking up a 30-40 gallon bin with a lid for your long term storage. If you don't want to place the head in the bin, it can fit right on top of the lid. 

  4. Be careful about storing your fursuit on textured or wire surfaces. Make sure stored items are not being heavily creased or folded. This can create crimps in the fur. While it is repairable, it is annoying to do and easily prevented in the first place. Keep items spread out and stored on flat or soft surfaces.