Care Guide

The costumes I build are unique art pieces and need special attention to stay in good shape as long as possible. A quality fursuit can last around 10 years if its owner takes good care of it and depending on the intensity of its performance. Learn good habits to allow it to last!

Golden rules

The golden rules are a good summary of the main things to know by heart for your safety and your costume’s.

1. Do not expose the costume to temperatures above 60C°!
Synthetic fur is a type of plastic and it would make it melt or damage its texture. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures could also soften or melt the hotmelt glue that is used to hold the foam together for parts having a foam base such as the head.

2. Store your costume away from heat sources, direct sun light and humidity to prevent any color and texture alterations as well as mold growth due to moisture.

3. Do not use deodorizer or freshener products instead of disinfecting products.
Deodorizers work on the physical principle of coating bacteria responsible for bad odors with a good-smelling molecule, making your smell receptors unable to smell the bad odor.
Products such as Febreze only mask bad odors et do no replace cleaning with a disinfecting product which will physically destroy the structure of molecules responsible for bad odors and bacteria.

4. Do not hang the costume if soaked and do not spin dry!
This could cause stretching of the fabric or loosening or rupture of the seams. Faux fur becomes very heavy when soaked with water.

5. Do not use pure aggressive products or oily products when cleaning.

6. Do not put cleaning products on the eyes, painted and varnished parts of the costume.
Any contact of your disinfecting mix, isopropyl alcohol and cleaning products can cause opacification/cracking of the varnish and dissolving of the paint.

7. Wait for the costume to be completely dry after disinfecting it before wearing it again and wash your hands after cleaning the costume.
Disinfecting products that were just sprayed can be aggressive for the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Make sure to disinfect your costume in a ventilated area so the vapors of the product will dissipate faster, wear a mask and gloves if needed. Do not stay in the place you disinfected your product for longer than needed.

8. Learn to hand sew to be able to repair your costume. It is common that a seam gives out if your performance is vigorous or if you wear it a lot, or that a hole appears if you fall down or experience an accident. Learning to use a needle and a thread is very easy and you won’t need to know advanced techniques, knowing how to sew a simple stitch will already help you a lot. There are also a lot of tutorials available on YouTube! If you’re interested, I can recommend learning how to sew a backstitch, a blanket stitch and how to end your stitch which are the three main techniques to know for faux fur.

9. Maintain a good personal hygiene to limit the impact your sweat could have on your costume. Everyone sweats differently and you know your body better than anyone. Knowing how it reacts in a situation of physical effort can greatly facilitate the maintenance of your costume you will have to do later!

What to wear under your costume

It is strongly recommended to wear a lycra mask called “balaclava”. This will prevent sweat from going directly into the head of the costume in addition to prevent sweat from will dripping into your eyes, it will hold your hair in place as well.

For your body, you have to wear a set of sports clothes for exercise in the heat made of lycra. This material will keep your sweat from staying against your skin and will help you keep cool.
I personally use a compression outfit “heat gear” comprised of a long-sleeved shirt and pants from the brand UnderArmour.

It isn’t recommended to only wear underwear under your costume ! The backing of the fur may provoke skin irritations from directly rubbing against it. If for a reason, you can’t wear the recommended sportswear, make sure that you at least wear a short-sleeved shirt and leggings or boxers.

For the feet, sports socks will work just fine. As the feetpaws I make are a “use your own shoe” kind, I recommend using sports shoes or shoes that hold your feet well for a comfortable fit during a long effort.

You can also wear lycra gloves if your hands have a tendency to sweat.

Your complete outfit (balaclava, lycra clothes and socks) has to be washed in a washing machine and/or disinfected after every intense use of the costume. I recommend having an extra set of this outfit so you can use your costume when the other set is drying !

Also, there are cooling vests made specially for mascot performers that will help you regulate your body temperature and wear your costume longer. I personally use an EZCooldown « Performers Vest », made for fursuiters in particular.

Regular care

It is very important to disinfect the costume after each use in order to prevent the development of bacteria causing bad odors. You might not notice any bad smell immediately after performing. It is normal, but the smell will appear later if you don’t disinfect your costume!
Do not use air fresheners or deodorizing products instead of cleaning products to clean your costume. These sprays only cover bad odors temporarily and don’t disinfect and during the few days that your costume smells good, bacteria develop and will cause hygiene problems later. It will also be more difficult to destroy bad odors if you give time to the bacteria to develop.

I recommend using a homemade mix of isopropyl alcohol and water.
In order for this mix to have true disinfecting properties, it will need to be at least 3/4th isopropyl alcohol and 1/4th water, or 2/3rd isopropyl alcohol and 1/3rd water. Mixes that have less than 70% of alcohol aren’t strong enough to destroy bacteria.

Test your mix on a part of your costume that is not visible to make sure that the fur doesn’t react badly to it.
Warning: do not use this mix on painted, varnished or airbrushed areas.

Put your mix in a spray bottle and spray the inside parts of your costume that have been in contact with your sweat.

You should disinfect the costume from the inside in priority ( backing of the fabric), you can also disinfect on the side of the fur if an area has a strong bad smell.
Usually, you will need to treat the inside of the head, the collar of the body suit, the armpits, the back, the bottom and the inside of the padding’s pants.
Each person sweats differently so you will need to judge for yourself what suits you the best. The inside of the mouth and the tongue of the costume also need to be disinfected because your breath will have condensed there.

Make sure to rub your hand on the area of the costume as soon as you’ve sprayed it to make sure the product is in contact with the fabric and to help it penetrate the material. If using a spray bottle doesn’t suffice or if you have a tendency to sweat a lot, soak a towel with your disinfecting mix and dab it on the areas that need treating to soak the fabric with the product.

If your sweat is strong in odor, you may need to repeat the disinfecting process multiple times and to deep clean the costume (read below).

To keep your fur soft and well groomed, it’s recommended to brush it gently in the direction of the fur. Make sure to be gentle as to not remove too many hairs, you will lose a few each time you brush it but it shouldn’t be in excess.

In case of folds or waves in the fur, use a hairdryer in order to soften the damaged fur strands and brush vigorously in the direction of the fur.
Be careful not to warm the fur too much or the fur will melt: start with the lower setting of your hairdryer and blow the air at short intervals. If after the first try the fur is still irregular, use a higher heat setting and/or blow the air for longer intervals on the zone that needs to be treated.
Repeat until the fur is as sleek as the rest of the costume.

To clean a potential stain, use either the same alcohol mix, a bar of soap or a gentle spot remover. Scrub at the base of the fur strands, rinse and repeat until the spot is removed. Once the zone is rinsed, brush the fur in the direction of the fur so it will dry in a natural positon.

Deep cleaning

With a carpet cleaner

By far the easiest technique and the one I personally use. You will, however, need to invest in a specialized machine. I can recommend the Bissel Spotclean Proheat which I use for my own costume.
A carpet cleaner has the advantage of being able to spray soapy water from one tank and vacuum the dirty liquid into another tank, allowing the dirty water tank to be simply emptied into the toilet after you have finished cleaning.

It is recommended to use this machine on a tiled floor or put plastic on the floor to prevent drips.
Depending on the model, you can put hot water (60C° max) and the machine will maintain the water temperature during cleaning (this is the case with the Bissel Spotclean Proheat). Hot water will help clean better but is not required.
You can use the specialized product that comes with the machine or use your own detergent or cleaner to put in the soapy water tub.

You can hang the costume or work on the floor. It is advisable to work zone by zone for greater ease. You can use the machine on the outside of the costume directly on the fur as well as on the inside on the backing.
Turn on the device and soak the area you have chosen with the clean product.
Alternate between the machine hose brush and your hands to scrub and knead the product into the fabric. Material should be visibly soapy.
Once the area is clean, vacuum the area with the machine hose to remove the dirty water from the costume. You will notice that the device vacuums up less liquid after a while, meaning the area is no longer soaked. You can make a second pass over this same area if your costume is very dirty.
Repeat the process on the rest of the costume, area by area.

Dry on a hanger with wide shoulders in front of one or more fans, or on a hanger with a built-in fan specially designed for drying wetsuits.
Brush the bristles in the direction of the fur to allow them to dry in a natural position.

Depending on the use of the costume and your perspiration, you may need to do a second cleaning session if an odor persists after the first session.

In a washing machine

Some parts of the costume can be machine-washed (unless otherwise specified): handpaws, body, padding, tail, and feet.
Remove the stuffing from the padding before putting it in the washing machine. While the padding is in the washing machine, you can leave the padding spread out to air it out and sanitize it if needed.

Be careful to check if your machine can support the weight of the costume once wet, this could damage the washing machine (check by weighing the wet parts of the costume and compare it with the weight capacity of your machine).
Be sure to place your costume in a duvet cover and tie it closed with a string to prevent the fur that could come off damaging your machine (risk of clogging the machine’s water drain) and to prevent the drum damaging the fur texture.
Do not use the spin-to-dry function of the machine.

Brush the fur in the direction of the fur to allow it to dry in a natural way.
Lay flat to dry on a drying rack with one or more fans to speed up the process. Do not hang to dry, this could stretch the costume.

By hand

If you are unable to use a washing machine, a cold wash (60C° max) by hand in a bathtub or shower will do just fine. You can use detergent for synthetic delicate fabrics without fabric softener or soap/dishwashing soap.

Same as washing with a washing machine, only these parts can be fully submerged in a tub or put in the shower: handpaws, body, padding, tail, and feet.

Make sure to allow the soapy water to penetrate well into the backing of the fabric and into the fur, massaging it gently. It’s recommended to make a first pass with a cleaning product, rinse completely, then repeat the process a second time.
If, however, you notice that a bad odor persists, repeat the process again.

Brush the fur in the direction of the fur to allow it to dry in a natural way.
Lay flat to dry on a drying rack with one or more fans to speed up the process. Do not hang to dry, this could stretch the costume.

How to store your costume

A costume head can rest simply upright, or put onto a helmet stand or mannequin head .

You can store them in the head of the costume, or simply lay them aside or hang them on a hanger.

You can neatly fold the costume body or hang it on a hanger when not in use. Be careful not to put other heavy things on it if you decide to fold it, this will cause creases in the fur.
You can remove the padding from the body and hang it apart to allow the bodysuit to breathe better.

It is recommended not to put heavy things on the tail as the stuffing could lose volume.
You can leave your belt in the loops of the tail if you wish.

It’s recommended to remove your shoes from the feet to help them breathe better.