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Fursuit Cleaning & Care Tutorial.

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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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

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.


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.


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.

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:
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.


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