Fursuit Care Guide
These simple steps will help your new suit product, or accessory last longer, and look better for a longer life. Proper care and storage of fursuits and fursuit accessories, will help greatly extend the life of your item. Some of the common mistakes that can cause permanent damage to synthetic furs are listed below.
Table of Contents
Things To Avoid and Never Do
- Never wash in hot water, use only cold water to avoid shrinkage.
- Never wash in a regular washing machine (some machines can damage synthetic furs.) If you have a newer washing machine with an Intermittent Delicate-Cycle mode or similar, you can use that, but supervise the wash cycle and allow the suit to only wash for 5 to 10 minutes, on the gentlest setting.
- Never dry in a clothes dryer!
- Never dry clean. Some fur fabric manufacturers don't recommend dry-cleaning as the steam process can damage some mod-acrylic fibers.
- Never store the suit or item when damp or wet.
- Never use any alcohol, bleach, or harsh detergents.
- Never store the item in sunlight or brightly lit areas. Always store the suit in a dry, cool, and dark place. White & lightly coloured synthetic furs will yellow and coloured furs will fade with repeated exposure to sunlight or bright fluorescent light.
- Never use hair dryers, or portable heaters to dry a suit or accessory.
- Never submerge the head in water! Some parts may not be completely waterproof and may be damaged.
- Never crawl on abrasive surfaces like concrete, tile, industrial carpet etc. as damage will result to the fur fabric.
What to do with Your New Suit or Accessory
The first few times you wear your suit, you may see small tufts of fur, lint or fibers fall off. This is quite normal. During the building process, small pieces of fur sometimes go unnoticed and tend to get dislodged the first time you wear your suit.
- Remove the new item(s) from the shipping package.
- Before use, gently brush out any tangles or matted fur with your hand or with a soft, fine bristled hair brush. (Brush only with the fur direction/grain.) To determine the fur direction, use your hand and gently brush the fur. The fur will lie the flattest when you are brushing with the grain.
- Get an under-armor or Lycra body suit. The under-armor full body suits feel much better on the skin than the inside of the fur fabric, and they also draw away & absorb up to 40% more sweat and keep it from the fursuit. It will feel much cooler wearing one in the suit than without one. There are endless reasons why to invest in the body-armor and head balaclava for wearing inside your fursuit. They can be found in most sporting goods stores & retailers, or from online sellers.
Tips to Keep Your Suit or Accessory in Good Shape
Normal UseTo help prevent the buildup of odors, its a good idea to:
- Shower and use a good deodorant or antiperspirant before wearing your suit, then
- After wearing your suit, lightly spray the inside of the body with a fabric friendly disinfectant, like End-Bac, Lysol Fabric Safe Disinfectant, Febreeze, etc. Only spray the inside of the suit, especially near the armpit and crotch areas, and the inside of the feet paws. The disinfectant will prevent any odors from building up and prevent mildew and mold.
It is highly recommended to purchase a Lycra or spandex under body suit to wear inside the fursuit. These suits are much more comfortable, help keep sweat down, and protect the inside of the suit from odor build up.
Light to occasional use should not require the suit or accessories to be washed. Regular use of a disinfectant spray will usually take care of any unpleasant odors. Odors come from bacteria growing in the sweat, since sweat itself contains mostly water, salt and traces of skin oils. Washing should only be needed after three to four wearings, or after a period of strenuous suiting. When washing is required, follow the washing guide closely.
To remove dirt or spots that might appear on the suit, use a damp, cool cloth to gently & lightly wipe the area. Make sure to follow the grain of the fur.
If you determine that the suit or any accessories do require washing, closely follow the relevant guide below.
- use hot or very warm water,
- use strong detergents,
- machine wash for a full wash cycle.
Any of the above can cause permanent damage to the fur fibers. Many heavy-duty washing machine models can damage the fur with agitators, and hot or very warm water may cause shrinkage.
Cleaning the Body Suit, Tail, or Hand Paws
Machine MethodIt is possible to machine-wash a body section, provided that:
- You supervise the washing closely,
- You use cold water only,
- Your machine has a Intermittent Delicate-Cycle,
- You only wash the suit for 5 to 10 minutes, and
- You use the most delicate setting on your machine.
- Fill the bathtub or laundry sink with enough clean, cold water to soak the body section in.
- Use a very small amount of fur-friendly soap (alcohol & bleach -free only.) Lathering your hands with a bit of gentle bar soap will also work.
- Gently lather soap in the dirty areas, like the armpits, as well as the tail-hole (if added) and crotch areas.
DO NOT scrub with a brush or rough cloth.
AVOID scrubbing areas that contain tattoo designs, airbrushed spots, and any special coloured designed areas. These areas should be very gently rinsed clean using the shower head or laundry hose.
- After soaking and cleaning the inside areas for a couple of minutes, drain the tub or laundry sink, and rinse with cold clean water (if in a tub you can use the shower head, or laundry hose in the sink.)
Using a dry towel, dab the fur product dry. Avoid rubbing the fur to dry it, and do NOT wring the suit to squeeze water out. Some synthetic furs can deform when wet if rubbed too hard or twisted!
It is also possible to place the wet suit in an empty washing machine and then run use the spin cycle only. It will help spin out excess water and help it dry.
If you have to lift the suit while its still wet, be very careful not to tear any seams. The suit will be very heavy as it will hold a lot of water!
- For tails and feet with foam, gently squeeze the water out, or use the spin cycle to help them dry.
- Hang the items indoors only, preferably on a shower rod over the bathtub. A household cold air fan blowing cool air on the suit and accessories will speed the drying process. You may gently brush some of the fur with the grain while damp or lightly wet, to help to prevent the fur form deforming & knotting when it dries.
NEVER use an electric heater, a hair dryer, or the clothes dryer! Using any of these will damage the synthetic fur fibers & parts immediately.
- Once completely dry, gently brush the fur. Always brush with the fur direction/grain using your bare hand or a fine, soft hair brush.
- During storage & use, for feet, paws and the inside of the body suit, you may use a light, fabric safe Alcohol-free scented disinfectant (same as above) to add a fresh scent to the product & prevent mold or Mildew after wearing. (Use only on the inside of wearable products like paws, feet, body suits, heads, etc.)
Cleaning the Head
Cleaning a fursuit head is a very delicate process, and exercising extreme care is a must. Fursuit heads contain many types of materials, glues, adhesives, and parts, and some of these materials should never be submerged in water. Its best to take care as much as possible to not get them dirty. If some spots of dirt get on parts of the head, its possible to CAREFULLY use a damp cloth to wipe the area lightly, with the grain of the fur. Parts like the nose, teeth, and tongue can be cleaned by using a damp cloth, gently wiping them clean of any dirt or dust.
It is highly recommended to purchase a separate head balaclava (ski mask) to wear covering your head & hair when wearing the fursuit head. It will help keep the inside of the fursuit head free from dirt and oil from hair and sweat.
From time to time after wearing the head, it is a good idea to lightly spray some of the fabric safe disinfectant in the inside of the head. Be careful to not get any of the spray on the eye area or rubber mouth parts.
Cleaning the Under-Suit
If you use an internal spandex or Lycra body armor & head balaclava with the suit, (highly recommended!) you can wash the body armor and balaclava in the sink with detergent, wring them out, and they will dry in minutes in front of a fan, making them clean and fresh for the next fursuit outing, keeping your suit fresher and cleaner.
Body suits should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark closet, hanging on a coat hanger. Some good recommendations are to use a breathable suit bag or cover over the body, while hung in the closet. The feet, paws, head, and accessories should be stored similarly, probably on the top shelf of the same closet.
Avoid storing the suit and accessories in direct sunlight or brightly lit locations. UV rays from sunlight, and from most fluorescent lighting, including CFL bulbs, will slowly turn most synthetic white fur fabrics yellow over time, and could cause limited fading of colours over time.
During the normal use and life of a fursuit, there will come a time when minor repairs are needed. Many minor seams, tears and stitching can be repaired by your self, or someone you know that is competent in sewing and stitching. Use upholstery thread if possible, and in the same color as the suit color if possible, if not then doubling up on regular high strength thread is as good.
Sometimes a part, like a claw, pad, tooth, or other small accessory may be torn off or come loose. Its recommended that you use a hot glue gun with industrial strength glue sticks to re-attach the part. If the industrial strength glue sticks are not available, then the low-temp glue sticks can be used. Other glues like contact cement can work, but are not recommended because they are toxic. All of the glues and adhesives used in the suits are non-toxic and high strength.
If a part like a claw, or pad gets torn off and lost, contact me for a replacement. I have many replacement parts available for fursuits, like claws, teeth, noses, pads, eye inserts, whiskers and pretty much anything else.
Wearing Your New Fursuit
One of the first things you should do is invest in a spandex or Lycra under-body armor suit and spandex balaclava to wear inside the fur suit. An under-armor full body suit feels much better on the skin than the inside of the fur fabric, and they also draw away & absorb up to 40% more sweat and keep it from the fursuit. They also help keep you feeling cool inside your suit! They can be found in most sporting goods stores and retailers, or at online sellers. They also keep you fursuit much cleaner and drier at conventions and when wearing them for long periods of time. (Excessive sweat can stain and discolor some types of light color fur fabrics.)
Wearing your new fursuit for the first time is fun and very exciting, but it might also be challenging if you have never worn one before. Here are a couple of tips that might be helpful:
- For the first couple of times, you may notice a lot of loose fur fibers, and thread pieces on the suit or falling off. These are from the building process and sometimes its difficult to get them all off before shipping.
- Its always good to have help with putting the suit on, as it can be difficult to put on the paws after the head is on.
- When zipping up the front main zipper, take caution to not get too much fur caught in the zipper. Pull the fur gently away from the zipper as its being pulled up. Some suits may also have an upper collar snap above the zipper
- If your feet have the Velcro tab option, fasten the Velcro front together, then place the feet cuff up under the legs of the suit.
- The same goes for the hand paws. The paw cuffs go "under" and inside the body arm sleeves.
If you have the removable tail option, its sometimes easier to place the tail in the body tail opening, then thread a belt through the tail strap before putting the body on. If you have the custom shorts those can be placed on the body as well with the tail through the tail loop in the shorts, before putting the entire body section on.
Following these steps for care, cleaning, and storage religiously will help you get a longer life and more years of enjoyment from your custom built fursuit costume.
We all should care and cherish our costumes and fursuits as they are a part of us, ours to be proud of. They are our characters or our fursonas and they represent us when we put them on... they are us.