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Offline Kobuk

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Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« on: April 20, 2009, 08:10:48 pm »
EDIT: 7/4/2017  Due to circumstances beyond my control, a lot of the pictures associated in my fursuit tutorial threads are now gone. The reasons for this can best be described in this thread:
http://forums.furtopia.org/general-non-furry-discussion/time-to-dump-photobucket/

When or if I fix all the threads and broken links is unknown. But when I do, it will take a long time. A lot of the "text" information in various threads will still be useful.




UPDATE -  5/17/2015    Additions, corrections, fixes, etc. to this tutorial have been indefinately postponed until further notice.




CONTENTS:


DISCLAIMER and INTRODUCTION  <--- (Please read these items first!)

1. CLEANING SUPPLIES
(Fixed and rewritten) 2-A. DISINFECTING A FURSUIT
(Fixed and rewritten) 2-B. DISINFECTING UNDERGARMENTS?
(Fixed and rewritten) 3. GENERAL CLEANING ADVICE.
(Fixed and rewritten) 3-A. CLEANING OF UNDERGARMENTS.
(99% complete.) 3-B. CLEANING OF FURSUIT HEADS
(Currently being revised)  3-C. CLEANING OF HANDPAWS.
(Fixed and rewritten) 3-D. CLEANING OF FOOTPAWS.
(Currently being revised)  3-E. CLEANING OF TAILS.
(Currently being revised)  3-F. CLEANING OF BODYSUITS.
(Fixed and rewritten) 3-G. CLEANING OF FURSUIT PADDING?
(90% done so far)  4. DRYING OF FURSUIT PARTS AFTER WASHING.
(Fixed and rewritten) 5. BRUSHING OF FUR.
(Fixed and rewritten) 6. STORAGE OF FURSUITS.
(Fixed and rewritten) 7. QUADRUPED FURSUITS.
(Fixed and rewritten) 8. FURSUIT PROPS, ACCESSORIES, AND CLOTHING.
(Fixed and rewritten) 9. SEWING AND REPAIRS.
10. Future Additional Notes and Edits. (Check this section often.)




DISCLAIMER: 

Please read this entire tutorial very carefully before attempting any cleaning processes. I make no guarantee as to the effectiveness of the instructions found within this tutorial and will not be held liable should a person inadequately take care of their fursuit and not follow directions carefully. Everything listed in this tutorial is a “guide” only. Nothing is permanent or “law” so to speak on caring for a fursuit a specific way. If you do not understand anything in this tutorial or have a question on something else, then GET HELP and ASK QUESTIONS!
Most, but not all, information in this cleaning tutorial is geared toward people who might have "basic" simple styled fursuits such as the example shown below where the fursuit does not have a lot of special extras like airbrushed markings, moderate or heavy padding, horns, hooves, wings, animatronics, or other special/unique materials and custom effects. You can still use this tutorial if you choose if your fursuit has any of that stuff, or you may wish to get extra advice from more experienced fursuiters and fursuit makers. It is optional and up to you. ;)




INTRODUCTION:

You’ve spent so much time, money, and effort getting your first fursuit, but have you considered the time, money, and effort needed to make your fursuit last? You’ll need to think about disinfecting, cleaning, and storing your fursuit, and that’s where this tutorial comes in.
Granted, not all my information here will be accurate or precise, nor will I be able to list/explain every possible scenario for how to clean a fursuit such as grass stains, blood, chewing gum, mud, etc., etc.  All my information in this tutorial is mostly gathered through long hours of research on the Internet and from talking with various friends, as well as learning how to clean and care for my own fursuit. Just as there are as many reasons why people choose to become furry and join the furry fandom, so too is the diversity of ways that people clean and care for their fursuits. What works for one suit/person may not always work for another as not all fursuits are “created equal” so to speak. Also, not everything I list for supplies and/or care instructions will be found or work in other countries as some countries will have different cleaning supplies and care products, and their washing machines or other cleaning equipment/supplies may work differently, etc., etc. What I have attempted to do here is provide as much information as possible and present some sort of “universal” or “generic” fursuit care guide. Sort of a “one size fits all” so to speak. However, as time moves along, there will be newer methods of cleaning and caring for fursuits. As the supplies and methods change during the course of weeks, months, and years to follow, this tutorial will try to be updated with the most current information where possible, or will be posted in Section 10 (Additional Notes and Edits).

How you disinfect and clean your suit is all up to you. It’s all personal preference. This tutorial is meant as a “guide” only and can be used not just for full fursuits, but also partial fursuits and/or cleaning of individual pieces like tails, ear sets, handpaws, etc..
Also, not everything in this tutorial will pertain to care of a fursuit at home AND at a convention. A lot of the cleaning advice in this tutorial is mostly recommended for when you’re at home and have the time and resources to properly clean a fursuit. But when you’re at a convention or other event, then about the only cleaning option available to you is to spot clean your suit by hand and check for individual stains and marks. Conventions are only 2 to 4 days long. It doesn’t pay to try and fully clean your fursuit at an event as you may not have the time or proper supplies/resources to wash and dry your suit.
While the following link does not explain that much on cleaning a fursuit, It does list sample items that you may need for an emergency “maintenance kit” to take along to an event for caring of your fursuit:
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php/topic,31805.0.html

When it comes to caring for your fursuit, If you have any doubts or questions on anything, then the first, and best, people to ask are the fursuit makers themselves who constructed your suit (If you commissioned/bought a fursuit) as they will know how your suit was constructed, the materials used, any special airbrushing used, etc., etc. You can also ask other experienced fursuiters too who are at conventions, furmeets, or you can find additional information here:
LINK: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/memories.bml?user=fursuit&keyword=Washing/Cleaning&filter=all

And lastly, from time to time in this tutorial, I will be mentioning instructions that will get repeated over and over again such as Using a fan, Not using heat to dry fursuit parts, Using cold water only to wash fursuit parts, etc., etc., etc.  Granted, it will get bothersome and tiresome to hear certain things repeated so many times, but a fursuit tends to cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and you do want to take good care of it, don’t you? Otherwise if you didn’t, then spending all that hard earned money would have been for nothing? If you want your fursuit to last and to get a lot of enjoyment out of it, then you need to take the responsibility of properly caring for it. Nobody else will do it for you. It’s your suit, therefore, YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 09:56:50 am by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2009, 10:47:47 am »
1. SUPPLIES  

What follows is a sample list of supplies and products you may or may not need for disinfecting, cleaning, and storing your fursuit. What you use and the amounts of items you use to care for your fursuit are completely up to you and are optional. It is all personal preference.

IMPORTANT NOTE: WHEN DISINFECTING OR CLEANING ANY PART OF YOUR FURSUIT WITH ANY TYPE OF SOLUTION, PLEASE READ DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY, AND TO TEST THE SOLUTIONS FIRST ON A SCRAP PIECE OF FUR FABRIC AND/OR IN A HIDDEN AREA ON THE SUIT TO CHECK AND SEE THAT THE SOLUTIONS DON’T ADVERSELY AFFECT THE FUR FABRIC TOO HARSHLY IN ANY WAY.
SECONDLY, NOT ALL OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS MAY OR MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE IN YOUR CITY, STATE, OR COUNTRY. THIS COULD BE THAT THE STORE DOES NOT CARRY THE PARTICULAR PRODUCT, OR THE PRODUCT IS DISCONTINUED AND NO LONGER MADE, OR SOME OTHER REASON. ALSO BE CAREFUL AS SOME PRODUCTS MAY CHANGE BRAND NAMES, LOGOS, BOTTLE STYLES, LABELING, ETC.
AS TIME MOVES ALONG, I OR ANOTHER INDIVIDUAL WILL UPDATE THIS LIST TO ADD ANY NEW PRODUCTS THAT WILL HELP IN THE CLEANING AND CARE OF FURSUITS.
 

Here are some sample supplies/products to consider as shown in the following links and descriptions:

Click picture for larger image.



RAGS/TOWELS/SPONGES
Good for spot cleaning in small areas/sections of fursuit parts.

FEBREEZE ANTI-MICROBIAL SPRAY DISINFECTANT
See picture above. ^

ANTI-BACTERIAL SPRAY DISINFECTANT
This stuff generally comes in a purple and blue can, and can be found at Wal-Mart for about $2-$3. It is the EXACT same stuff as End-Bac spray disinfectant, but only much cheaper. So if you can’t find End-Bac anywhere or don’t have a lot of money to spend, then this is the cheaper alternative.
EDIT: Please read these LJ entries and/or the Furtopian thread here for more information:
http://fursuit.livejournal.com/3431424.html
http://fursuit.livejournal.com/4011637.html

http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php?topic=31805.0

LYSOL DISINFECTANT SPRAY
Another good option for disinfecting fursuit parts.

WOOLITE
Woolite is probably the main detergent solution you’ll end up using for cleaning your fursuit parts as that is the most delicate for cleaning fursuit parts and will not harm most fabrics.  
LINK: http://www.woolite.com/

FOLEX CLEANING SOLUTION
Folex is a really great stain remover solution. It is marketed as a carpet stain remover, but can get out a lot of other stains on a lot of other fabrics as well. It is especially good for keeping white footpaws clean! It must be mentioned though that it is for spot cleaning by hand only and is not recommended for use in washing machines or hand washing in a bathtub. A bottle of the stuff can usually cost around $5-$10 and you can try finding it at Target, Wal-Mart, Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens n’ Things, Kmart, or a specialty carpet cleaning or upholstery store.
LINK: http://www.folexcompany.com/

RESOLVE
Another good solution for spot cleaning by hand is Resolve anti-stain remover. Please see picture further above.

DRYER FABRIC SHEETS
After you’ve cleaned your fursuit and are ready to put it away in your closet till your next performance, It’s a good idea to put some of those nice smelling dryer fabric sheets inside the head, the bodysuit, and any other fursuit parts, to keep those parts smelling nice and fresh.

FANS AND/OR HAIR DRYER
As your fursuit parts are drying after disinfecting and/or washing them, You’ll want to have a fan blowing air on/around them to help decrease the drying time of those parts.
As your suit begins to become less and less wet over time as it dries after you washed it, you may want to consider using/investing in one of these:
LINK: http://community.livejournal.com/fursuit/1843033.html

I bought my hanger from Scuba.com for $50. A bit expensive, but definitely well worth it!
LINK: http://www.scuba.com/shop/product_display.asp?SKUCode=032986&Action=Search

Click each picture for a larger image.


You can also use the above hanger fans at conventions too to help dry your fursuit after a performance/parade, or for when you need to dry your lycra diveskin/unitard undergarment after washing them.
Another item you can use to help dry areas of a fursuit is a hair dryer, BUT WITH PREFERABLY A COLD SETTING! Trying to use any heat from a clothes dryer, hair dryer, or anything else will damage and melt the fur fibres/fabric of the fursuit parts. DO NOT USE HEAT TO DRY ANYTHING!

HANGERS
Try to find and use hangers that are thick/wide and used for hanging medium to heavyweight type items, as these will be preferable for hanging your suit after washing it and also storing in the closet.



LARGE TUB OR OTHER CONTAINER
If you do not plan on washing the bodysuit portion of the fursuit in the bathtub or the washing machine, Then another option is a large plastic tub.

Click picture for larger image.


BRUSHES
You’ll need 1-3 different brushes for brushing the fur on your suit after you’ve washed it and/or for general preventative care at an event, etc. One type is known as a Slicker Brush (Blue colored brush) which is shown below. It can be found at most pet supply stores and has lots of thin metal bristles which are good for trying to get knots or tangles out of fur fabric or pet hair.

Click picture for larger image.


DRYING/HANGING RACKS
After you’ve washed your suit and it’s time to dry it, consider drying it on one of the following racks:

* ACORDIAN/FOLDABLE STYLE RACK
A good type to put your suit on after you washed it is this acordian style foldable clothes drying rack.

Click each picture for a larger image.



Or even some of these sample types which can be found/bought from various home supply/laundry/storage stores or websites.
(New links coming soon.)

* HANGING RACK
This is good for when your suit is semi-dry (half wet/half dry) after you’ve washed it and you don’t want to have any wrinkles develop in your suit if you laid it on something to dry. The rack I got is a simple pole/frame rack with wheels on the bottom for movability. It can be bought from Wal-Mart, Kmart, or most other retail stores for about $20. It is small and compact for portability ease.

Click each picture below for a larger image.




Either the Acordian style rack and/or the Hanging rack would be good to take to an event as they are portable, lightweight, and would be good for when you are drying your diveskin/unitard undergarment, or drying your suit after you disinfected it.

MILK CRATES
If you don’t have any type of hanging or other clothes drying rack, you can lay your fursuit over some plastic milk crate type containers that you can purchase from an office supply store. The holes in the crates allow air to circulate through and excess water to drip from the suit to the bathtub, etc. (Black crates shown in pic underneath legs of bodysuit.)

Click each picture for a larger image.


PLASTIC STORAGE BAG OR BINS
When you’re all done cleaning and drying your fursuit, you’ll need to think about how to store it till your next convention or other event performance. There are many various ways of storing a suit: Either in a box, Hanging in a closet, Laying flat, etc. It is all a matter of personal preference. Just make sure to choose a good method that will protect from dust, liquid spills, insects, etc., etc. What I have done with my suit is shown below:

Click each picture for a larger image.


I store/hang the bodysuit portion of my fursuit in one of those clear long dress/suit bags that I managed to find from a "Bed Bath & Beyond" retail store for about $10-15. It’s not quite as long as I thought it would be, but it’ll work just fine. I wanted a clear bag to put my suit in so that I could see any damage to the suit if anything happened to the bag in the future. Your feet, head, handpaws, and tail can be stored in either bags, boxes, or something else if you wish.

LINT ROLLER
A lint roller is something that you probably wouldn’t need for caring for a fursuit. But it is quite useful for if you had to remove loose fur fibres off your clothing, furniture, etc. that may have come off your fursuit. Ones that are small and can fit inside a fursuit head would be good to pick up any loose fur fibres that accidentally got inside the head. After all, you wouldn’t want to be coughing up any furballs now, would you? LOL!
LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lint_roller

SAMPLE LIST BELOW OF LINKS TO VENDORS AND RETAIL STORES WHERE SUPPLIES CAN BE FOUND/BOUGHT:

* Bed, Bath, & Beyond store: V
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/default.asp?order_num=-1&
* Linens n’ Things: V
http://www.lnt.com/
* Kmart: V
http://www.kmart.com/
* Target: V
http://www.target.com/
* Wal-Mart: V
http://www.walmart.com/
* Scuba.com: V
http://www.scuba.com/
* The Container Store: V
http://www.containerstore.com/
* Laundry supplies: V
http://www.laundrybagstoreonline.com/
http://www.handylaundry.com/
* Folex Stain Remover: V
http://www.folexcompany.com/
* Lysol Disinfectant: V
http://www.lysol.com
* Fans: V
http://www.laskoproducts.com/fans-2/
* Containers and other organisation. V
http://www.stacksandstacks.com/
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 12:03:25 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2009, 10:51:40 am »
2-A. DISINFECTING A FURSUIT  

When you get done suiting at a convention or any other type of event, the first thing you’ll want to do is disinfect your fursuit (Head, Hands, Feet, and Body). Disinfecting a tail is generally not necessary. When should you disinfect and how often? The answer to this will vary from fursuiter to fursuiter, and also will vary depending on how long you suited and how much you sweat. But IMO, it is best to disinfect the insides of your fursuit parts, regardless of how long you suited or how much you sweat/stink, EVERY time after you fursuit.
While you may think that wearing a lycra diveskin or unitard undergarment, and also an extra balaclava, etc. will soak up/wick all your sweat and keep the sweat from permeating to your suit, this is of course not 100% true or effective. Depending on what you get and wear for undergarments, they will help to keep you cool and soak up/wick the sweat from your body and prevent it from getting into the fursuit, HOWEVER, there is always a limit as to how much sweat/odor a lycra diveskin or other garment can handle before it gets soaked and the excess sweat gets absorbed into the fursuit.

If you do not disinfect your fursuit parts, then any germs, bacteria, sweat, odor, etc. that permeated to the fursuit from your body or undergarments will make the suit smell worse and those germs/bacteria will multiply and mold could develop on the insides of your fursuit parts. And once that happens, the only way to combat that severe odor/mold is not with spraying more disinfectant spray, but by washing your fursuit with cold water and detergent.
When you spray the insides of your fursuit parts (head, hands, feet, bodysuit), you don’t need to spray disinfectant so heavily that the insides of everything are soaking wet. Just a couple of spritzs/passes will be fine. Depending on how your bodysuit was constructed, you may be able to turn the bodysuit inside out (If possible) to make it easier to disinfect it. If you do this though, then be sure to turn the suit inside out slowly and carefully so as to not rip any seams or cause any other undue damage.

Click picture for larger image.


Sample Video Links: V
Turning bodysuit inside out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8breNzzlieY
Disinfecting fursuit parts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCYGDUmjO_k

After the parts have air dried after a length of time, you’ll want to use your nose and “sniff around” and check to see if there’s any spots you missed and any odors that are still emanating from various areas, and then give any areas you may have missed a short spray of disinfectant. It may sound funny to do this, but it is the only way to be sure that you sprayed every area that you needed to. Make sure you pay particular attention to the insides of the feet, the inside of the head, and also the bodysuit – especially the armpit areas.
If your bodysuit is not able to be turned inside out due to how it was constructed, then just spray the inside as best you can by reaching down through the arms, legs, etc. You may also wish to open up the zipper/velcro entryway on the fursuit to allow the inside to dry and air to flow through:

Click picture for larger image.


And if you want the suit to dry a bit faster, then you can have a fan blowing air on it to help decrease the drying time.

One item that may be particularly challenging when disinfecting a fursuit is if the hands and/or feet are directly attached to the arms/legs of the suit. Or in other words, it looks like the wrist or ankle areas are seamless so as to give the impression of a more realistic or “one piece” fursuit. The best way to disinfect these areas is to try and follow the advice given above as best you can for turning the suit inside out and/or reaching down through the arm sleeves or leg pants parts.

Another item you may want to pay attention to when disinfecting a fursuit, especially the head, is any electrical/animatronic items that might be in the head/suit. If any of these items are removable in any way, then remove them before you disinfect. You can put them back in after the fursuit parts are 100% fully dried. If the electrical/animatronic items are not removable in any way, then the best course of action, especially for disinfecting the inside of the head, is to spray a sponge or rag with some of the disinfectant solution, then carefully wipe around the inside of the head or other areas of the suit where the electrical items are, with the sponge/rag. This would also be a good method if you had sections of fursuit parts where you couldn’t reach with a spray bottle or can.

SPECIAL NOTE: While doing various research for this entire tutorial, I have learned that some fursuiters will use isopropyl rubbing alcohol to disinfect their fursuits. While I myself have not used this solution to disinfect my own suit and do not know how good it would work, I would like to offer the following link to a LiveJournal entry which has some posts in it that discuss some hazards when using rubbing alcohol, especially if your suit has any amount of airbrushing with inks, dyes, paints on it.
LINK: http://community.livejournal.com/fursuitlounge/515016.html?style=mine
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:20:20 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2009, 10:54:42 am »
2-B. DISINFECTING UNDERGARMENTS?

So after disinfecting your fursuit parts, you may be wondering about if you should disinfect the undergarments that you wore under your fursuit such as the extra balaclava you wore under your fursuit head, your lycra diveskin bodysuit or unitard, etc. The answer to this question would be a No. Simply for the fact that these items are coming into direct contact with your skin and are therefore collecting or “wicking” the sweat from your body so that it doesn’t touch the fursuit, and because these items are collecting so much sweat and odor, you’ll need to wash that sweat and odor out of those items. Disinfecting these items would only “hide/mask” those odors, not get rid of them completely. Washing of undergarments will be explained later in this tutorial. If possible at a convention or other event, try to have multiple pairs of balaclavas, diveskins, etc. so that you can change into a fresh new pair if the other pair is dirty.
HOWEVER…….if you only had ONE balaclava and/or diveskin/unitard to use at an event, it is personal preference if you wanted to disinfect those items. For example, If you find yourself finishing one fursuit event at a convention, and then wanted to go to another event a short time later, you can then quickly disinfect those items without washing them. But if you were going to be suiting a second time much, much later, then you can choose to wash those items and then hang them up to dry.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 07:01:38 pm by Kobuk »
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Offline Kobuk

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2009, 10:58:09 am »
3. GENERAL CLEANING ADVICE

Ok, now we come to the most difficult task of all: Washing of fursuit parts. This is probably one of the most difficult tasks to do/learn simply because of the multitude of various ways to clean fursuit parts. What works for one person or suit may not always work for another. You really have to do your research well and ask plenty of questions.
Before I go any further, THIS IS NOT HOW TO PROPERLY WASH A FURSUIT!  V

Click picture for larger image. Scrub a dub dub, Husky in the tub!  :D  :D


Ok, all jokes aside, there are a few different ways of cleaning fursuit parts and each method has it’s own Pros and Cons.
* - You can wash some of the parts by hand in a bathtub or a large plastic container tub. This IMO, presents the safest means of washing, but it is also the most time consuming and labor intensive.
* - Or you can wash some of the parts in a washing machine. Washing/Drying some fursuit parts this way may be faster, but all the spinning and agitation within those machines could damage the suit by putting stress on the seams/fabric, or the claws on handpaws could get damaged, etc., etc.  
* - There will also be times when you need to do “spot cleaning” by hand. This allows you to check stains more closely and remove them, but you are only checking certain areas/spots and not cleaning the suit as a “whole”.

When should you clean a fursuit and how often? This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer. It all depends on a few things:
* - How many times you wear your fursuit. Once a week, Twice a month, Less? Or more?
* - How long you wear your fursuit such as minutes or hours.
* - Where you fursuited such as city street, beach, forest trail, etc. and how dirty you get at a location.

It’s probably best to clean your fursuit after major events such as conventions where you’ll be suiting a lot, or perhaps if you’re suiting during summertime events where you’ll be sweating a lot due to heat. If you’ve been suiting at a lot of smaller events for perhaps shorter periods of time, then maybe washing might not be needed and you only need to do some spot cleaning by hand. The best advice is to use your best judgement/discretion and check your suit often for stains and odors. However, the more times you clean your fursuit parts, then the more stress you’ll put on the fabric/seams of the suit which could rip and/or come undone, and you’ll risk possible other damage to claws, pawpads, airbrushed markings, padding, etc.


IMPORTANT NOTES:

Test the Cleaning Solutions - Before preparing to wash any fursuit parts in the bathtub, washing machine, etc., you may want to practice washing/drying and/or spot cleaning some scrap pieces of fur fabric to test various solutions and techniques that will or won’t work for you. Just make sure to follow directions carefully for usage of cleaning solutions and operation of any machines/equipment.


Check Fabric Cleaning Instructions - If you have bought fur, fleece, or other fabrics yourself and constructed your own fursuit rather than commissioning someone, you may wish to check if the store or the website you bought the fur from, or even the manufacturer of the fur, has any specific cleaning instructions which may be different from what is listed in this tutorial.


Special Effects (SFX) for Fursuits - When it comes to “special effects” which have been added to your suit such as, but not limited to:
* Foam padding in special places (Digitigrade legs, Chest muscles, etc.)
* Airbrushed markings on the fursuit
* Claws on hands/feet
* Taxidermy eyes/jawsets
* Wings/feathers and movable wing systems
* Animatronic/electrical items inside fursuit pieces
* Horns/antlers on a fursuit head
........Or any other unique materials, systems, or items that were used in the construction of your suit, then the best advice would be to get any special cleaning instructions from the fursuit maker that you commissioned the fursuit from first, as they will know how your suit was constructed, materials used, and what can or can’t be done in regards for cleaning of those items. If you have any animatronic/electrical or other removable items inside any fursuit pieces, then make sure you remove them (If possible) before you start cleaning your fursuit.


Airbrushed Markings – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Fursuits that have airbrushed markings need to be especially careful of cleaning as some inks/dyes that may have been used could smear, run, fade, etc. if washed and/or any cleaning solutions used had any adverse effects on the dyes/inks. Contact a fursuit maker or other fursuiters first before washing a suit to get any special cleaning instructions. You may also need to check any special instructions on bottles of inks/dyes you used if you constructed and airbrushed your own suit. It is also preferable in order to help protect airbrushing from fading/smearing, that you turn your bodysuit and handpaws inside out (if possible) when washing them in the tub or washing machine. Footpaws, Tails, and Heads should preferably be spot cleaned by hand.


Fursuit Padding – Fursuit parts (Digitigrade legs, Handpaws with pawpads, Footpaws, etc.) that have any amount of padding (foam, polyfil, etc.) added to them “may” be able to be washed (NOT FURSUIT HEADS THOUGH!), but you will need to be very carefull with foam/padding as it is very difficult to get all the water out of padding and they take a very long time to dry. If it's possible to remove any padding out of your fursuit parts, then please do so before you wash those fursuit pieces. More information about padding will be explained later in this tutorial.


Cleaning Deterrgents – As far as cleaning detergents to use when washing fursuit parts in a tub, sink, or washing machine, the most common to use is Woolite as that is the most delicate for fursuit parts and won’t harm most fabrics. If you don’t have any Woolite or don’t want to use Woolite, then select a different mild detergent and/or fabric softener solution that is color safe for fabrics and also contains NO bleach. Just remember to read directions carefully for cleaning solutions and also to test them on a scrap piece of fur fabric first to see how well it works. It is also preferable that you do not use any sort of powdered detergent, especially in the washing machine, as there may be the possibility that not all the powder will dissolve in the water and you may be left with undissolved powder residue on your fursuit pieces. It is preferable that you use liquid detergents only.


Dry Cleaning Stores – Another important piece of information is to never take your fursuit to a professional dry cleaning shop. Dry cleaners may not have any experience working with/cleaning mascot suits, plus the fact that they use steam/heat for some of their cleaning processes, and also they may use cleaning solutions or other agents that you might not be familiar with and could possibly harm the fursuit.


Heat – The most important bit of advice on cleaning a suit has to do with heat. Washing and drying fursuit parts with any amount of heat, whether it is from hot water in the washer/tub or hot circulated air in a dryer, or heat from any other source, will melt and damage the fur fibres of the fabic. Once this happens, there is no way to return the fur fabric to it’s original softness and fluffiness. Why is it so important not to use heat? Fake fur is actually made of lots and lots of really thin strands of plastic (and/or other synthetic compounds) fibres. And what happens to plastic when it is exposed to extreme heat? It starts to melt! DO NOT USE ANY AMOUNT OF HEAT FROM ANY TYPE OF SOURCE TO WASH, AND ESPECIALLY DRY YOUR FURSUIT! More information on drying fursuit parts will be explained later in this tutorial.
Sample Pics: Notice how the fur has been “damaged” slightly in this pic? That’s what will happen to your fur fabric if you use any amount of heat from any source to dry your fursuit parts. The fur fibres will melt and the fur will become matted.

Click each picture for a larger image.



Cold Water & Machine Settings – Washing any fursuit parts in the washer, bathtub, sink, etc. must be done with COLD WATER ONLY. If you wash fursuit parts in the washing machine, then use a DELICATE/GENTLE wash cycle if your washing machine has those settings. If drying in a dryer, use a NO HEAT and/or a DELICATE setting if your machines have these settings.
Example of Washer (Left) and Dryer (Right) settings. Click each picture for a larger image.




When washing some fursuit pieces in the washing machine, you may choose to put the items through an extra “Spin” cycle setting on your washer (If you have that setting on selected models of washers) so that when the main washing cycle is done, the Spin cycle will start and by using centrifugal force and gravity, will “pull/extract” any extra water from the fursuit pieces out through the sides/bottom of the washer tub. However, putting fursuit pieces through any extra spin cycles increases the likelihood of more stress on the fur fabric and seams possibly coming apart.

As for which is better: Top loading washer or a Front loading washer, I have no answer to this. It is personal preference what you use. For more information on how washing machines work and comparisons on function, etc., you can check this link here:
LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washing_machine


Scrubbing of Fursuit Parts – If you intend to scrub any fursuit parts because of stubborn spots or stains, then please scrub VERY GENTLY so as not to put too much stress on the fur fabric and/or accidentally pull fur fibres out. Scrubbing can be done with a sponge, rag, or a small brush with very soft bristles. If you scrub too harshly, then fur fibres will come out and you may end up with “bald spots” on your fursuit. Fake fur is not like real hair. Once the fake fur is gone, it cannot grow back.

Click each picture for a larger image.



Excess Water – After washing any fursuit parts in the bathtub/washing machine, whether they had any padding or not, you can try to GENTLY SQUEEZE, but do not wring/twist, those parts to get as much excess water out of them before you go to dry them with other drying methods. Just don’t squeeze too harshly otherwise you could rip a seam or do other undue damage.


Damage to Seams, Fabric, & Other Parts - It will undoubtably get tiresome hearing this in this tutorial, but try not to tug, pull, lift, push, brush, etc. the fur fabric on your fursuit parts too harshly or excessively, especially when they are wet such as a bodysuit for example. Doing so will put too much strain/stress on the fabric and especially the seams (and/or other areas or parts), and you may incur damage such as rips, tears, seams popping, etc.  Also be careful how you handle padding, claws, pawpads, animatronics, taxidermy eyes, etc. lest those items become damaged as well due to excessive or harsh cleaning and handling.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 07:06:58 am by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2009, 11:01:28 am »
3-A. CLEANING OF UNDERGARMENTS

After you get done fursuiting at an event and have disinfected your suit, you’ll then need to prepare to clean your undergarments that you wore underneath your fursuit such as a lycra diveskin/unitard, balaclava, and/or tshirt & shorts.

TSHIRT & SHORTS – If you’re wearing just a regular tshirt and shorts under your fursuit, then you can just wash those as you normally would with your regular clothing at home that you wear, and/or follow any special instructions on the care labels for those items.

DIVESKIN/UNITARD/BALACLAVA – When you’re at a convention, it’s generally best to have an extra pair or two of diveskins/unitards and also balaclavas. That way, if one pair is dirty, you can change into a fresh clean pair if you go fursuiting later. You can either wash those items according to any care labels they may have, or you can use the sample instructions listed here:

1. FOR HAND WASHING AT A CONVENTION:

Fill up a sink with cold water and add an appropriate amount of Woolite (or other detergent of your choosing) to the water. Then soak and gently swish/agitate the items in the soapy water with your hands for about 5-10 minutes or so. After agitation for a desired period of time of your choosing, then drain the sink of the soapy water, then refill the sink with cold water again (minus any detergent).  Then soak the items in the cold water again to “rinse” out any leftover suds/soap from the undergarments. After you finish the rinsing process, then gently squeeze out any excess water from those items. You can then hang the items on a hanger over the bathroom tub to drip dry. Or if you wish, you can use a fan (if you have one) to blow air on those items to help decrease the drying time.

2. FOR WASHING AT HOME:

You can follow the example hand washing instructions above in #1 or you can wash the items in your washing machine as follows: (Also check care labels on the undergarments if they have any special washing/drying instructions.) Select the “Cold Water” and “Delicate” settings if you have them on your washer. Put your undergarments in the washer and then add an appropriate amount of mild detergent of your choosing. After the washing/rinse/spin cycle is done for your items, you can then dry them in the dryer on a “Low Temp” or “No Heat” setting to prevent shrinkage since various fabrics can shrink due to heat. If you choose not to use a dryer, then you can hang the undergarments over the bathroom tub to drip dry and/or have a fan blowing air on them to help decrease the drying time.

3. – If your lycra diveskin/unitard has any amount of foam padding sewn/glued on to the suit to help give the impression of muscles or a digitigrade look when you wear your fursuit, you can still soak/wash your diveskin/unitard (Preferably by hand) if you choose, but you will want to immediately get a fan blowing air on the foamed areas to help decrease the drying time of that foam. Also, as the foam is drying, you should gently squeeze out any excess water as much as possible.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 02:15:09 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2009, 11:03:20 am »
3-B. CLEANING FURSUIT HEADS

Should fursuit heads be washed? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Fursuit heads are never soaked in a tub full of water or put in a washing machine due to the amount of damage that can be incurred to the eyes, mouth, nose, teeth, etc., and also for the fact that fursuit heads are made with a lot of foam that if gotten wet would be next to impossible to dry and air out unless the entire head was “ripped apart” so to speak so that the foam could dry out better.
The only option to clean any dirty spots/areas on the head is by “spot cleaning” by hand only with a sponge/rag and a bottle of whatever spray cleaning solution you wish to use. An example of spot cleaning by hand with “Folex” brand cleaning solution is described in the video link below. This example spot cleaning video can also be used for spot cleaning the bodysuit, tail, feet, and hands too if needed.
Sample Video Links: V
EDIT: Videos removed. Will be remade later. Sorry for the inconvenience.

After you finish doing whatever spot cleaning to the head (or other fursuit parts) you need to, then just set the head aside somewhere to dry. After the area you cleaned is fully dry, then you can go and brush the fur in that area.
For spot cleaning in hard to reach or small areas like the inside of the mouth, insides of ears, around the eyes, etc. or anywhere else on a fursuit part, you can take a small toothbrush (with very soft bristles) or a small sponge/rag and gently scrub those areas that may be dirty.

Click picture for larger image.


If your fursuit head is made with different materials/options such as taxidermy eyes/jawsets, tool dipped noses, airbrushing, horns/antlers, leatherwork, etc., then you may wish to get any special cleaning instructions from a fursuit maker or other fursuiters before working near such items/areas.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 02:24:29 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 11:06:16 am »
3-C. CLEANING OF HANDPAWS

You’ll probably want to check the handpaws often, simply for the fact that you are constantly hugging, grabbing, and touching people and things, and you don’t know what stains you might come into contact with. If you have handpaws that are more hooved for goats, horses, or some other animal style, and they are made with more durable or unique materials like rubber, fiberglass, leather, laquer/varnish and so forth, then you may wish to contact a fursuit maker for any special cleaning instructions for handpaws of those types.

SPOT CLEANING HANDPAWS – You can use the spot cleaning instructions as mentioned above in Section 3-B. This is the preferred method for when you are at a convention or event.


CLEANING HANDPAWS IN SINK/TUB –

1. – Fill up a sink or large container with cold water.

2. – If you have some Woolite fabric softener detergent (or other detergent of your choosing), then pour some into the water according to the directions on the bottle for the amount you need.
New link coming soon.

3. – Soak your hand/arm paws in the water and gently agitate/swish the paws around in the water for 5-10 minutes or a period of time of your choosing.
New link coming soon.

4. – After about 5-10 minutes or so of soaking the paws in the soapy water, drain the water, then refill the sink with new cold water, but don't add any Woolite or other deterrgent. Rinse the hand/arm paws in the cold water for a few minutes to rinse out all the suds and soapy water.

5. – Drain the sink again, then gently squeeze, but do not wring or twist, the hand/arm paws to squeeze out the excess water. ( I was accidentally squeezing a little too hard in the following pic. Oooops. No worries. They were an older set of paws anyway which I hardly ever used.)
New link coming soon.

6. – If possible, try to find a place to hang the paws to dry and also have a fan blowing air on the paws to help dry them faster, especially if there is any padding/stuffing in the hand/arm paws.
New links coming soon.

7. – When your arm paws have completely dried after a few hours, then you can gently brush the fur.


HANDPAWS IN WASHER/DRYER –

Cleaning in washer/drying machines presents another option for handpaws and/or other fursuit parts, but it could be a bit riskier as the constant spinning/agitation in those machines could put stress on the fabric, seams, and possibly do other damage.

1. – If you have claws on your handpaws and you’re worried that they could break and fall off inside the washer/dryer, then you might want to consider putting your handpaws inside one of those mesh lingerie bags before sticking them inside the washer:
http://www.handylaundry.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=27&item=Mesh-Lingerie-Bag

2. – When putting a fursuit part in the washer, then use a “Delicate” wash setting (If your washer has that option.) and cold water only.
 
3. – Follow directions carefully for operation of your washer and add appropriate detergent of your choosing.

4. – After your handpaws are done washing, you can then put them in the dryer on a “NO HEAT” setting if your dryer has that option.
 
5. – After the handpaws have fully dried for a desired period of time, you can then gently brush the fur. Brushing of fursuit parts will be explained in more detail later in this tutorial.

« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 09:05:41 am by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2009, 11:08:49 am »
3-D.  CLEANING OF FOOTPAWS

Your footpaws will probably be the one item that will get dirtiest the most, especially if your footpaws were made with white fur. Since the footpaws are made with a moderate or large amount of foam to shape the toes or other areas of the foot, then washing of footpaws would NOT be recommended in a washer or sink/tub as the foam will get soaked with water and then it is extremely hard to dry that foam out unless you had a fan continuously blowing air on the footpaws to help decrease the drying time.
What follows are basic instructions for simple footpaw types like canine or feline, etc. that are made with shoes, slippers, etc. If you have footpaws that are more hooved for goats, horses, or some other animal style and they are made with more durable or unique materials like wood, fiberglass, leather, laquer/varnish and so forth, then you may wish to contact a fursuit maker or other fursuiters for any special cleaning instructions for footpaws of those types.

SPOT CLEANING BY HAND – This is the preferred method for cleaning footpaws.
You can use the example spot cleaning instructions as mentioned in Section 3-B further above if you wish.


CLEANING IN WASHER OR SINK/TUB

Preferably NOT recommended for the reasons already mentioned above. HOWEVER……..if you do decide to wash them this way (and I have read stories of people doing this), then be sure to wash the footpaws in the washer on a “Delicate/Gentle” wash cycle so as not to damage claws on footpaws or have the parade soles on the bottoms come off or risk other damage, and to use cold water only. And then also be sure to IMMEDIATELY get a fan blowing air on the footpaws to help decrease the drying time after you’ve washed the footpaws. You can try to squeeze the water out of the foamed areas, but do it carefully and gently.
Also, if you wish, you can put your footpaws inside one of those mesh laundry bags as described above in Section 3-C (Handpaws) so that anything that does come off such as broken toe claws, parade soles that come off, etc. won’t get lost in the machines and will instead stay in the mesh bag.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 02:37:55 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 11:11:19 am »
3-E.  CLEANING OF TAILS – Chances are, your tail will not need cleaning since it’s a part of your fursuit that does not come into direct contact with your body and does not smell of bodily odor and sweat. However, it may still need to be washed if you had kids tugging on your tail when you were at an event and you didn’t know what those kids were touching/grabbing before they touched your tail, or your tail is especially long and the tip may be dragging on the ground.
The best and preferred option for cleaning tails is by spot cleaning by hand as mentioned in Section 3-B further above.

1. – If your tail is removable from the fursuit (meaning it attaches via loop or belt around your waist) and you still wish to wash it in the bathtub/washing machine for whatever reason, then please be sure to gently squeeze out the excess water as much as possible before you hang it up, or lay it down, to dry. And continue to squeeze out water every so often while you also have a fan blowing air on the tail to help decrease the drying time.

2. – If your tail is directly attached (sewn) to the fursuit body, then washing the tail might be a bit more complicated, especially if you need to clean the bodysuit in the tub or washing machine and/or if your tail has any sort of armature (Coat hanger rod, Delrin rod, etc.) inside to help give the tail curve/shape. To help prevent the foam/padding in the tail from getting soaked when you wash your bodysuit in the bathtub, you can try the following method as mentioned in one of Matrice’s posts in this LJ entry here:
http://community.livejournal.com/fursuit/2511923.html
If you instead wash your suit (with attached tail) in the washing machine, then wash the suit on a “Delicate/Gentle” wash cycle with cold water so as not to put too much stress on the seams where the tail is attached to the bodysuit, and also so any armature inside the tail (If there is one.) won’t break. For drying, it is up to your own personal preference as to whether you want to put the suit in the dryer (“NO HEAT” setting.) or simply hang/lay the suit to dry. Before putting the bodysuit (with attached tail) in the dryer, you should at least try to gently squeeze as much water out of the tail as possible.

3. – Again, if your tail has any sort of armature (Metal or Plastic rod, “chain spine”, etc.) inside to help give the tail curve, shape, and/or you have any sort of animatronics in the tail for a movable tail, or a foam core, then it is generally best to spot clean the tail by hand, or remove those items from inside the tail (if possible) when spot cleaning or washing in the tub/washing machine.

Special Note About Tails: Here's another idea that I've heard about from various sources that people may wish to take advantage of when getting tails commissioned or constructed. For anyone that is currently in the process of either:
* Commissioning a fursuit.
* Commissioning a separate tail piece.
* Building their own tail. or
* Re-constructing an old tail.
.........You may wish to think about adding a zipper along the underside length of the tail. This would allow you to remove any padding, foam, animatronics (for a movable tail), etc. as needed for when you clean/wash/repair your tail, and then you can put everything back in when the tail is dry, Or for when you need to do maintenance on your tail and add more stuffing or fix the animatronics or other armature inside the tail.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 06:26:50 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2009, 11:14:32 am »
3-F.  CLEANING OF BODYSUITS – Now the last item to explain about cleaning is the bodysuit. This will most likely be the hardest, but not impossible, item to wash. Your bodysuit portion of your full fursuit represents 60% of your total costume and you want to take care of it really well. Otherwise, if you didn’t, then your full fursuit/character wouldn’t be represented as a “whole” so to speak.

SPOT CLEANING BY HAND – This is the preferred method for when you are at a convention or other event. You can use the sample instructions as provided in Section 3-B further above.
SPECIAL NOTE: If your fursuit character/bodysuit has any type of wings and wing mechanical system, then make sure that is removable from the bodysuit before washing the suit. If your wings need cleaning for whatever reason, then the best option is spot cleaning by hand only with a mild spot remover solution and a soft rag or sponge.

WASHING BY HAND IN BATHROOM TUB – This presents the safest means of washing a suit, but it is also the most labor intensive.
1. – First thing to do is clean your bathroom tub! You don’t want to have any soap scum or other previous “dirty deposits” in the water and getting on/in your fursuit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01240.jpg
2. – For keeping the water in the tub and also for draining, I’ve found the following stopper to be helpful:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01238.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01239.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01644.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01645.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01646.jpg
When you go later to drain the water from the tub after washing, you pull off the top part and the water drains through the mesh bottom part. As the water is draining, the mesh catches and prevents any loose fur fibres from going down the drain and clogging the pipes.
3. – After cleaning the tub, you can then begin filling with cold water and then adding an appropriate amount of Woolite detergent or other detergent of your choosing to the water.
4. – As for washing the bodysuit in the bathtub or the washing machine, it is personal preference whether you want to turn it inside out or leave it as is. However, since all the sweat and odor is on the inside of the suit rather than the outside, it is better to turn the suit inside out (if possible depending on how the suit was constructed) to wash away all that odor and sweat. If you do leave your bodysuit “as is” and do not turn it inside out, then you do run the risk of lots of loose fur fibres coming loose and eventually clogging the bathtub drain or washing machine. If your bodysuit has handpaws and/or footpaws that are directly attached/sewn to the arms/legs of the bodysuit thereby giving the appearance of a “one piece” suit, then trying to turn the bodysuit inside out may not be possible. See Section 2-A for a sample video of how to turn the bodysuit inside out.
One possible option which I’ve heard of, but am not sure how well it would work, to help prevent loose fur from falling off and clogging the washing machine is to put the bodysuit in a very large bag, preferably a mesh type laundry bag. The mesh would allow the soap and water to pass through easily but would also help to prevent the loose fur fibres from getting into the water and then clogging the washing machine.
5. – Carefully add your bodysuit to the water and then you want to create a type of “agitation action” with your hands/arms by moving the bodysuit around in the soapy water so all the parts of the suit get wet and the soapy water can help clean the suit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01242.jpg
 If there is a particular section you wish to scrub due to a stubborn stain on the suit that needs removing, then be very careful and scrub very gently so as not to put too much stress on the fur fabric and/or pull fur fibres loose. You may wish to scrub lightly with a soft rag, a sponge, or a small brush with very soft bristles. Do not pull/tug on the suit too heavily with your hands when moving it about in the tub as the wet fur could stretch and you may bust a seam since wet fur increases the weight of a suit. If you wish, you may choose to leave the suit in the tub for a short period of time (Preferably no more than 30 minutes, Although your mileage may vary.) to let the detergent ingredients help work on loosening/removing stains and odors. If your bodysuit has an attached tail that is directly sewn on, you may wish to review Section 3-E further above.
After soaking and/or scrubbing your bodysuit for a desired period of time, you can then drain the soapy, dirty water out of the tub. As the water is draining, you may wish to additionally gently squeeze out any excess soapy water from the bodysuit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01243.jpg
6. – After rinsing out the tub of the residual soapy dirty water after you had drained the tub, you can then begin re-filling the bathtub with fresh clean cold water (minus any detergent) in order to rinse your bodysuit out of leftover soapy detergent. Add your bodysuit to the water and use your hands/arms to agitate (rinse) the suit around in the water for about 5-10 minutes or however long you desire. After a desired period of time, you can then drain the water out of the tub. As the water is draining, you can again gently squeeze any excess water out of the bodysuit.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01244.jpg
7. – Although discussing drying the bodysuit should probably be put here, I have instead made a separate section for discussing how to dry fursuit parts in Section #4 further below.

USING A WASHING MACHINE – As mentioned a few times already before in this tutorial, putting fursuit parts in the washing machine and/or dryer may be faster for cleaning, but the risk is that all the spinning and agitation within those machines could put much stress on the fabric and the seams could come apart. Therefore, use at your own risk. Also, if for any reason you intend to use a washer in an apartment building complex or at a public Laundromat where other numerous people wash their clothes, then be sure to check the insides of the washer and dryers first and make sure they are clean and don’t have any previous “dirty deposits” or forgotten laundry inside. 
1. – Add your bodysuit to the inside of the washing machine. If your bodysuit has any removable items such as foam padding inserts, animatronics/electronics, etc., then please remove those items before washing. If your bodysuit has an attached tail directly sewn on, then you may wish to review Section 3-E further above. Sample Pic:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01649.jpg
2. – Select “Delicate/Gentle” wash cycle and “Cold Water” settings on your washing machine if you have them. Once your machine begins filling up with water, then add an appropriate amount of Woolite brand detergent (or a different type of your choosing).
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v216/icyhusky/fursuitcare/DSC01635.jpg
3. – After your bodysuit has gone through the main wash/rinse/spin cycle, you may be able to put your bodysuit through an extra spin cycle as described in one of the “NOTES” found in Section 3 (General Washing Advice) further above. This would allow you to try and get more excess water out of the bodysuit before putting the bodysuit into the dryer.
4. – For all other information about washing fursuits, please read Section 3 (General Washing Advice) further above. Drying of a bodysuit will be explained in Section 4 further below.

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2009, 11:18:29 am »
3-G. CLEANING OF FURSUIT PADDING

Practically all fursuits have some type of foam or polyfill padding in one form or another in various places on the fursuit. Trying to clean and dry padding is difficult, but not entirely impossible. Depending on how your suit was constructed, it can take mere hours to wash and dry padding, or it can take a few days.

1. – If any of your fursuit parts have removable foam padding that is inserted into “pockets” in your fursuit pieces or you have a different system of removable foam padding, and you wish to wash that foam should it have sweat, odors, and stains on it, then you can wash that foam in cold water in a sink or tub with a mild detergent solution such as Woolite. After soaking for a few minutes, then gently squeeze out any excess water, then rinse and soak again in clear water to rinse out any leftover soap deposits. After rinsing and squeezing out the excess water again, then set aside those pieces to dry and get a fan blowing air on them IMMEDIATELY to help decrease the drying time.

2. – If your fursuit pieces and/or diveskin/unitard undergarments have foam or another type of padding that is sewn in and/or glued directly on, then you may still be able to clean those fursuit parts as mentioned in the various Sections further above, but because the foam padding is “hidden” behind fur or other fabric material, then it will be much harder for foam to dry out and air to get at it. The best hope to quickly dry any form of padding after washing is to IMMEDIATELY get a fan blowing air on those parts/areas. As the padding is drying, you can gently squeeze (If possible) out any excess water in that padding, but also be carefull not to do other damage such as rip a seam, etc. to the surrounding area of the item that is drying if you squeeze out the water too harshly. If padding is not properly dried, then any moisture left inside the padding can be a “breeding ground” so to speak for mold and foul odors. And once that happens, the only way to get rid of that mold and foul odors is to completely replace all the padding/stuffing which will take time, new materials, and money.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 06:54:31 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 11:22:28 am »
4. DRYING OF FURSUIT PARTS

The next biggest step is: How do I dry my fursuit pieces after washing them? Well, that can take a few hours or it can take a few days depending on how you cleaned your fursuit pieces. Leaving fursuit pieces to “air dry” out in the open will take the longest. But using a fan to blow air on the fursuit parts to help decrease the drying time is usually the shortest.


1. BALACLAVA AND DIVESKIN UNDERGARMENTS
As for the undergarments that you wore underneath your fursuit and then washed, you can hang those up to air dry normally on a hanger or you can have a fan blowing air on them to help decrease the drying time. If your diveskin/unitard had any foam padding sewn/glued on to give the appearance of digitigrade legs and/or muscles on the body, then you’ll definitely want to immediately get a fan blowing air on those foamed areas to dry them out. You can also put your undergarment items in the dryer if you wish, but preferably on a “No Heat/Tumble Dry Low Heat” setting as some various fabrics could shrink over time with multiple washings/drying.
If you instead just wore regular tshirt and shorts under your fursuit, then you can wash/dry those items as you would with your other regular clothing. Example pic showing diveskin/unitard drying on a rack:

Click picture for larger image.



2. FURSUIT HEAD
As mentioned before in this tutorial, fursuit heads are NOT washed in a tub/washing machine for whatever reason due to the amount of foam padding on them and the damage that can be incurred to the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. After “spot cleaning” the head by hand though, you can simply set the head aside someplace to air dry. If for any reason your fursuit head accidentally came into contact with a large amount of water or other liquid, the odds of trying to dry your head, even with a fan, and preventing mold/mildew and foul odors is almost impossible IMO without completely “ripping apart” the entire head to dry it out. If you do have “catastrophic” damage to your fursuit head due to a liquid, then you’re almost better off making a completely new head or trying to rebuild your existing head with new foam and other materials.


3. HANDPAWS
Fursuit handpaws can either be hung up to air dry as shown in this sample pic:

Click picture for larger image.


Or you can have a fan blowing air on them to help decrease the drying time. You can also put them in the dryer, but preferably with a “NO HEAT” setting.


4. FOOTPAWS –
Footpaws are mostly spot cleaned by hand. After doing this, then you can just set the footpaws aside somewhere to air dry.
While I have heard of people putting footpaws in the tub/washing machine to help get them clean, drying them afterward will take quite a lot of time due to any amount of foam used. It is probably preferable to set the footpaws aside somewhere and have a fan blowing air on them to help decrease the drying time. As the footpaws are drying, you may wish to gently squeeze the footpaws/padding from time to time to help get more water out.

Click picture for larger image.



5. TAILS
If you spot clean your tail by hand (Which is highly preferable.), then you can just set the tail aside someplace to air dry. If your tail was washed in the bathtub or washing machine for whatever reason, then you’ll want to get a fan blowing air on the tail immediately to help decrease the drying time since there’s a large amount of foam or polyfil batting inside the tail that will be wet. Sample pic: V

Click picture for larger image.


 As the tail is drying after having been in the tub or washing machine, you can also gently squeeze out any excess water from the tail. Hopefully before you washed your tail, you took out (if possible) any animatronics/electrical items (for a movable tail), or a “chain spine” (for a weighted tail), or any other armature, padding, etc. if you had any. You can put those items back in once the tail is 100% dry. See Section 3-E further above for more advice about tails.

When doing any kind of cleaning on a tail (especially if the tail had to be put into a tub/washer for whatever reason), whether it is directly attached (sewn) onto the bodysuit or not if it's a seperate piece, It is preferable if the tail were laying on a flat surface to dry. If you hanged a tail when it is still wet, then all the water still in the tail will flow down into the lower areas of the tail and all that weight from the water will start to pull/stretch the upper portions of the tail/fabric. And once that happens, then you’ll have to do some major alteration/sewing work to adjust the tail to fit correctly again.


6. BODYSUITS –

Drying a fursuit bodysuit is probably the most tedious and longest to do. If you just spot cleaned by hand certain areas of your bodysuit, then you can just set the bodysuit aside someplace to air dry.
If your bodysuit was cleaned in the bathtub or washing machine, then it is preferred that you DO NOT immediately hang your bodysuit up on a hanger to dry after washing it! Lay the bodysuit on a flat surface instead!
If you were to immediately hang it, then all the water still in the suit will flow down into the lower areas/legs of the suit and all that weight from the water will start to pull/stretch the upper portions of the bodysuit, especially in the shoulder areas where the hanger is. And once that happens, then you’ll have to do some major alteration/sewing work to adjust the upper portions of your bodysuit to fit correctly again.
Once your bodysuit has started drying after a specified number of hours (12-24 hours, Although your mileage may vary.) to get rid of most of the water/moisture and is then “semi-dry” – meaning that it is slightly damp or half wet/half dry, then you may choose to switch to hanging your bodysuit on a hanger if you wish, preferably on a wide/thick hanger for hanging medium to heavy type garments.
Also, if you turned your bodysuit inside out when you washed it, then you may wish to turn the suit back to it’s normal configuration so that the fur is on the outside and it can properly dry. Because the bodysuit will be so heavily weighted down by water, then make sure you very carefully turn the suit back to it’s original configuration and you do not stretch the fur fabric and/or bust a seam. Work slowly and carefully. However, it is personal preference if you wanted to do this or if you wanted to wait till the suit is 100% dry, then turn it back to it’s original configuration. You may also decide to open up the  zipper/velcro entryway area on the fursuit so more air can get inside the suit and the inside can dry faster.
Sample pics showing suit turned inside out, and also back to normal configuration with fur on the outside, with suit being hanged when it is slightly damp or “semi-wet/dry”.


Click pictures for larger images.
 



* DRYING BODYSUIT AFTER TUB WASHING –

Hanging a fursuit immediately after washing is NOT recommended for the reasons I already gave above. What I usually do myself is a 50/50 mix of having the bodysuit vertical and horizontal when drying, kind of like in a step pattern:

Click picture for larger image.




After an hour or two, I’ll then flip the suit over and let the other side dry for awhile. I’ll usually continue to flip the suit a few times every so often so that the front and back sides get equal drying time, and I’ll also have a fan blowing air on the bodysuit to help decrease the drying time.
Another option for drying is to lay your bodysuit completely flat on an area to dry so that no one section of the suit is being weighted down by water and stretched. One option to lay your suit on is a bunch of milk crate type containers. These have numerous holes in them that would allow the air and water to pass through. Just make sure to flip the suit over every so often to let the other side get dry and to keep flipping occasionally so each side gets evenly dried.

Click picture for larger image.





* DRYING BODYSUIT AFTER WASHING MACHINE USE –

After cleaning your bodysuit in the washing machine, you can use the methods for drying I already mentioned above or you may choose to put your bodysuit in the clothes dryer. If you do this though, then try to make sure your bodysuit is not too overly wet. Putting your bodysuit through an extra “Spin Cycle” (If possible, and if your washer has that setting) may help to remove more excess water before you decide to put the bodysuit in the dryer. Also, if your tail is directly attached to the bodysuit, then you may want to try and gently squeeze out as much excess water out of the tail (or other foamed areas in the bodysuit) as possible before finally putting it in the dryer. And as mentioned numerous times before, Any fursuit parts that are put in the dryer are to use a “NO HEAT” setting if your dryer has that setting. Using any amount of heat will melt and damage the fur fibres on your fursuit parts. Sample pics: V   Click each image below for a larger picture.

Dryer settings:                               Suit turned inside out:                         When heat “melts” fur:





OTHER DRYING METHODS FOR FURSUITS/FURSUIT PARTS -

7. FANS
Do I really have to mention it again? GET A FAN! Using a fan to help dry your fursuit parts by blowing air on them will greatly decrease the drying time of those parts.
Another option to dry your diveskin/unitard undergarments and/or fursuit bodysuit after disinfecting or washing those items is to use the example fans as mentioned in the “Supplies” section at the beginning of this tutorial.


8. HOME-BUILT DRYING FANS
From time to time, some fursuiters will make their own small portable home-built fans to dry their fursuit parts and/or their undergarments. Usually, these types of home-built fans are made with a wood/plastic/metal framework, small motor, CPU computer fans, batteries, and other assorted components. An example of a home-built head drying system is shown here: (Sample LJ link used with permission from Jase the Husky a.k.a. “loup_garou_wolf”)
LINK: http://loup-garou-wolf.livejournal.com/54474.html


9. USING A DEHUMIDIFIER
As strange as it may sound, not only do dehumidifiers “wick/pull/suck” the moisture out of the surrounding air during summer time, but they can also help to “pull” the moisture out of fursuit parts after you washed them. Just lay or hang your fursuit parts someplace, then set your dehumidifier nearby.
LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dehumidifier


10.  DRYING OUTSIDE IN SUNLIGHT/FRESH AIR
This is probably the easiest out of all the drying methods mentioned. However, there is a “slight” downside to this option. While drying out in the warm air and sunlight will definitely speed up the drying process, overexposure to sunlight can possibly fade the fursuit colors, especially white. Now something like this won’t happen overnight or within hours, but it could happen over a course of days, weeks, or months, and how often you put your suit outside in the direct sunlight. Instead of putting your suit in the direct sunlight to dry, it would probably be recommended that you had your suit hanging or laying somewhere in a shaded area instead.

« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 09:03:29 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2009, 11:26:08 am »
5. BRUSHING OF FUR

As was previously mentioned in the “Supplies” section, you’ll need 1-3 different brushes for brushing the fur on your fursuit after you’ve washed it and/or for general preventative care at an event, etc.
One type is known as a Slicker Brush which is shown here:

Click picture for larger image.


It can be found at most pet supply stores and has lots of thin metal bristles which are good for trying to get knots or tangles out of fur fabric or pet hair.

Another type is also shown to the right of the blue slicker brush in this picture here:

Click picture for larger image.


Whatever brushes you decide to get, you should probably make sure they have soft bristles on them. If you pull/tug on the fur too harshly when you brush, then you’ll have clumps of fur coming out and be left with “bald spots” on your fursuit pieces. Once this happens, there is no way for the fur to “grow back” since fake fur is not like real hair. You want to use short strokes when brushing fur and to always go “with the grain” so to speak to use an old woodworker’s phrase, and follow the direction that the fur is in, which is usually downward. Although the following link talks and shows about how to fur a fursuit head during construction, I figure the pic could also help show how to brush the fur on a fursuit head by viewing the directions of the arrows on that picture in the entry.
LINK: http://community.livejournal.com/fursuit/693806.html

Sample video link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb7dJ0O9yQs
One reason for using multiple brushes is that since fursuits are made with multiple colors, you can use one brush for one color, then switch to a different brush for another color. If you only used ONE brush for ALL the colors on your suit, then you may accidentally be mixing loose fibres of one color into a different color on your fursuit. It would look kinda funny to see green fibres mixed in with white fibres or pink fibres mixed with black. LOL.
It is also personal preference whether you want to try and brush your fursuit pieces after you washed them when the fur is still wet or semi-dry, or if you’d rather wait till your fursuit is 100% dry. IMO, I find it is often best to wait till the suit is 100% dry before brushing.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:34:41 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2009, 11:28:17 am »
6. STORAGE OF FURSUIT PARTS

And now we come to the last section of caring for a fursuit: How to properly store it. There are many ways to do this and what you choose is personal preference.
After your fursuit has been washed/dried or you’re done suiting at an event and are ready to put your suit away, then you should at least disinfect your fursuit pieces one last time before finally putting them away in the closet or wherever else before your next future event. Just make sure to let the suit dry out after you disinfected it before packing up the fursuit.
Another option to keep your fursuit pieces smelling clean and fresh is to put a dryer fabric sheet in each of the pieces:
* One sheet in each handpaw
* One sheet in each footpaw
* One sheet in the head
* One sheet in each arm sleeve of the bodysuit
* One sheet in each pants leg of the bodysuit
* And one sheet in the main body.
You can put fresh new sheets in the parts every 3 months or at a time of your choosing.

For packing up the fursuit, it is personal preference whether you want to hang it or lay/fold it someplace. Hanging is preferably better as that takes up the least amount of space, but you want to make sure your bodysuit is hung on a thick and sturdy hanger. And if your bodysuit is hung for a lengthy period of time such as weeks or months without getting used, there “might” be the possibility of the shoulders getting stretched from hanging on the hanger too long. You can also put your bodysuit in one of those clear dress garment bags if you wish to help protect the suit from dust, insects, liquids, etc.

Click picture for larger image.


Laying/folding the bodysuit is another option, but the downside to that is you could have wrinkles in your bodysuit if you folded it too much or your bodysuit became flattened too much over a period of time.

Click picture for larger image.


This would be especially true if you used one of those special “space saver” bags where the air is expelled out of the bag so that the bag can be compressed and you can fit more garments or other items in a closet or other area. Using those types of bags would probably not be recommended.
What you choose for containers or garment bags to put all your fursuit pieces in is your choice. One sample place to buy containers from is here:
LINK: http://www.containerstore.com/index.jhtml

Also, when putting away your fursuit pieces, then place them in a cool and dry area away from moisture/humidity and also away from sunlight. Your bedroom closet is a good place or maybe the closet where you store your family coats in the hallway. Also be careful of any extreme heat or cold temperatures as they may affect the bonding qualities of the hot glue which was used to attach fur and foam, and/or other substances and materials.

Special Note: When storing your fursuit parts, especially the head, then please be sure that no other objects are stored in the same containers as your fursuit parts. You don't want to have anything else poking, pushing in, or doing other damage to your fursuit. Fursuit heads should NOT be compressed/compacted in any way as you will incur damage to the eyes, nose, ears, etc.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 03:41:15 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2009, 11:32:42 am »
7. QUADRUPED FURSUITS

Quadruped (Or spelled "quadsuits" or "quad suits") fursuits are those types of suits where the performer/character is walking on “four legs” in feral animal form in a fursuit instead of performing in anthropomorphic form walking on two legs. Sample video showing a quadruped fursuit:
LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2vOjyKu1UE&feature=related
While I have never constructed or performed in a quad fursuit, it is therefore difficult for me to give any special disinfecting or cleaning advice for them. While some disinfecting and cleaning advice could be used from this tutorial, it is almost better to get more experienced help from professional fursuit makers about what can and can’t be done for quad suits, as quad suits are built with different materials and construction techniques than a regular fursuit.


8. FURSUIT PROPS, ACCESSORIES, AND CLOTHING

Do you use any props or accessories when you fursuit? Does your character wear any clothing? Then here’s a few extra side notes to help clean and care for such items.
As for any clothing that your fursuit character wears such as a vest, jacket, or anything else, you should clean those items separately from your fursuit parts. You can either clean clothing by spot cleaning stains by hand or by washing the clothing in the washer/dryer depending on the instructions found on the care labels for those clothing items.
As for cleaning stains and spots from props that your fursuit character uses, It would be recommended that you spot clean by hand with a sponge/rag and a bottle of whatever stain remover solution you wish to use.
Just make sure that whatever cleaning you do, that you follow directions carefully for usage of cleaning solutions and the instructions of your washer/dryer.


9. SEWING & REPAIRS

If your fursuit parts need sewing or other repairs such as hot glue mending, seams that need stitching, airbrushing that needs applying again, etc., etc., then please make sure you take care of all those things as soon as you can when you notice them. The more love and care you put into your fursuit, then the longer it will last. ;) An example of a fursuit maintenance kit can be found here:
LINK: http://forums.furtopia.org/index.php/topic,31805.0.html

EDIT: If by chance a person does forget to bring along a fursuit maintenance kit to an event, then you may be able to borrow a friend's sewing kit if they have one, OR.....sometimes conventions may have a "Fursuit Repair Station" set up in a special room/area for fursuiters to make emergency repairs to their suits. Not all conventions may have such a section though as some conventions are limited by space they can provide, How big or small the convention is, and What other resources the convention can provide.
Also, if you see the fursuit maker that you commissioned the fursuit from at the event that you are going to and you ask them to make repairs or changes to your suit during the event, They most likely will not do this due to time constraints, Their event schedule, Materials they have, and most importantly.........They are at the event for rest, relaxation, and to have a good time. The last thing they would want to do is spend numerous hours at an event helping people with repairs and alterations.  :P Remember folks, Once you commission and wear your fursuit, It is therefore YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to take care of it. ;)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 07:55:55 pm by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2009, 11:35:10 am »
10. FUTURE ADDITIONAL NOTES AND EDITS –

12/27/2009 - Up in the SUPPLIES section of this thread, I had mentioned a type of fan that I bought and used from Scuba.com for possibly drying diveskins and fursuits. While using that fan is quite nice, it does have a drawback that I noticed whenever I dried my stuff in the past: The downward airflow from the fan inside the garment will not go into the shoulder areas and the sleeves that much and the sleeves will still tend to be damp/wet after a period of time. Most of the downward airflow from the fan on the inside of the garment is drying the body and/or legs.
Here's a tip to correct the issue of drying sleeves for diveskins and/or fursuit bodysuits: You can pull the sleeves inside and have them tucked "inside" the body of the garment as shown in the sample pics:

Click each picture for a larger image.



.........This way, your sleeves are tucked inside the main body portion of the garment and the downward blast of air from the fan will help dry them better. :)


6/18/2010 - Personal Hygiene

There's another aspect of fursuit care and cleaning that I want to discuss, and that has to do with "personal hygiene". If you're going to be suiting (Particuarly with a FULL fursuit), you may wish to use a bit of deodorant to help combat body odor when suiting. What you use and how much you use is optional and your choice.
If you get done suiting at an event, but then want to suit again later, then please take the time to either take a shower and/or disinfect your fursuit between outings. Don't go out in fursuit again smelling all stinky from your previous outing and wearing your suit a second time without disinfecting it and/or airing it out. All you'll end up by doing that is making you and your suit a stinky sweaty "walking toxic critter" that nobody will want to be around and nobody will give hugs, etc. The last thing any adult or child would want is your stinky odors getting on them. So please be considerate and take the time to shower and/or disinfect between outings. The people you hug and greet will thank you for it. :)

If you're a non-fursuiter and you wish to hug and greet the fursuiters you meet at events, then please do not hug and greet a fursuiter if you yourself have not showered and taken care of yourself. Some fursuiters can be picky about who they will want to hug and/or greet them. If you did not take the time to properly bathe and use deodorant, a fursuiter may notice as the smell of your body odor permeates through the head mask and they will take notice and move away from you. Fursuiters want to try and keep their suits looking and smelling as good as can be when appearing in public. Having a non-suiter's body odor rubbing off on a person's fursuit is just plain gross.  :P

Another aspect in relation to personal hygiene and suiting is if people swap/trade fursuits. If you're going to lend your fursuit out to another person to try on or if you want to wear someone else's fursuit, then please make sure that the suits being swapped/lent are properly disinfected and cleaned, and make sure you yourself don't put on another person's suit if you are all stinky and sweaty. Doing that is just plain rude and gross.  :P Please have the decency and courtesy of taking a shower and using deodorant before wearing another person's fursuit.

The general rule of thumb so to speak for suiters and non-suiters at conventions is the following:
6-2-1
6 hours of sleep.
2 meals a day.
1 shower. (But more if you're a fursuiter.) ;)



EDIT: (6/24/2010) Added an Edit to item # 9 (Sewing & Repairs) in Post # 15 further above.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2012, 04:37:06 am by Kobuk »
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2009, 11:52:10 am »
Well.......to the best of my knowledge and ability.......I'm done. *collapses on floor due to exhaustion*  x_x This tutorial isn't perfect. So please, no harsh critiques, ok? I tried to do the best I could with as much research as I could.

Enjoy it, folks. :) Don't ask me what my next tutorial will be for the future. I'm taking a long break before I write my next future fursuiting tutorial. ;)
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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2009, 12:09:15 pm »
wow, awesome tutorial Kobuk.

*hands Kobuk a metal for largest wall of text in all of Furtopia*

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2009, 03:20:50 pm »
Kobuk, you deserve a hug for all that.

*hugs* :)

Seriously, that's really impressive.
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Fluttershy and Rarity are possibly both best pony
I was wrong, it was Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash all along

Offline Kaloyan Alett

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2009, 12:18:32 pm »
Have a Kit Kat for you diligence and devotion to nearly all things fursuit. Wonderful guide.
Semi-retired from the furry fandom.

Offline wolfnevets

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2009, 06:05:47 pm »
Bravo Kobuk, your tutorial is a logical, well thought out guide for both the novice and seasoned pro fursuiter. All in all most fursuiters will find this a very helpful guide in caring and maintaining their suit(s).

So what's a fursuit? I'm kidding. Really.

Offline Kattywampus

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2009, 07:03:06 pm »
I will warn you..  I learned this at work.

Lysol is awesome for a tough job that needs to be done quick.  However, Lysol will eventually cause the fabric to deteriorate if used TOO OFTEN.
A great alternative is to use a spray bottle with 1 part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water.  It dries fast, and is good for taking out the sweat.
NYA!  =^_^=

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Offline Kaloyan Alett

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #23 on: December 28, 2009, 06:32:53 am »
Kobuk, do you have this in print somewhere?
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Offline 489109

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Re: Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.
« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2009, 10:50:29 am »
Ooh, Kobuk for pwn'd by the Shroud.