What To Wear: What you were under your suit will help keep it in great shape for years to come. For full suits or suits with arm or leg sleeves, it is recommended to always wear Under Armor or a similar brand under your suit to help keep you cool and help keep moisture off your suit. It also provides a layer of protection against the scratchy backing of some furs. Long pants and shirts are the recommended type to buy. Hunting stores also carry similar Under Armor type clothing that you can wear under your suit.
Storage: Storing a suit can be done in several different ways. For home storage, you can store your suit in a closet, a drawer, or anywhere the head won't be squashed or damaged. Hanging up a bodysuit can help save space, as well as hanging tails, sleeves, and hands. You may also store your suit in a large plastic bin. Be sure that everything you plan to store in the bin fits in the bin without being squashed or damaged, especially the head.
During travel, it is recommended that your head remain outside the bin to help prevent accidental damage. However, it is not law. Obviously, a bin large enough to comfortably store an entire suit is an acceptable mode of transport. Heads are small enough to be used as a carry-on item on most airlines.
Remember to always store your suit DRY. A wet or damp suit can and will encourage microbes to colonize. No one likes mold or mildew. Ew.
Things To Have: Keeping a small care kit with your suit is always a plus. It helps keep your suit fresh and clean on the go, at conventions, or even just after a long period of storage. The following are good items to consider:
- A small spray bottle with 50/50 rubbing alcohol/water mixture for disinfecting between wears.
- A dog brush, commonly labeled as a “slicker brush” These are available at pet stores, and most wal marts in the pet department. You can also find them online.
- Dryer sheets or a Glade odor eliminator wax cone* to put in your head, or in your storage box between wear. These help keep your head or storage box smelling fresh.
*similar items are available by the name of Citrus Magic.
- Folex carpet cleaner. While you won't want to carry this with you everywhere you go, it’s good to have in your home for tough stains on your suit during washing.
On The Go Care: Suiting on the go, whether at a conventions, or just for the day with friends, means you can’t always access your house for heavy washing. Basic on the go care will keep your suit clean and fresh while you’re out of the house. Use a spray bottle full of 50/50 alcohol/water to disinfect your suit after wear. You can spray this in everything. Be sure to get the inside of the head, the inside of the hand and feet, and the high sweat areas of your bodysuit. You can also flip your body or sleeves inside out and spray them well with your disinfectant. Remember to always let a suit COMPLETELY dry before storing it. This is also a good time to put you dryer sheets or odor eliminating cones inside your head while it dries.
Brush your suit before and after each outing. This keeps your fur in nice condition and helps prevent tangles from forming in high movement areas. For long conventions, it’s perfectly ok to bring your folex in case of emergency dirt. Hanging up a bodysuit or sleeves in between wears at a convention helps keep items off the floor and prevents crumpling in a storage bin.
Head: Heads are NOT machine washable. Soak the problem area with Folex and gently scrub with your fingers to lift stains and dirt. Let the area dry and rub any leftover Folex away with a towel. Brush the area and repeat if needed. Avoid spraying anything in the eyes.
Bodysuit: Your bodysuit, and digitigrade legs are 100% machine washable. For digitigrade legs or bodysuits, remove all the padding before washing. For both plantigrade and digitigrade, simply flip the suit inside out, and wash it on a GENTLE setting with COLD water. Never use hot water settings. Use your regular BLEACH FREE laundry soap. Soap pods like Tide Pods are useable as well.
Once your bodysuit has been through the washing machine, squeeze out any remaining water and lay it on a flat surface to dry. DO NOT HANG YOUR WET BODYSUIT. The weight of the wet suit will damage the body and stretch it. You may have to flip the body several times to get it completely dry.
If you can’t/don’t want to use a washing machine, you can soak your bodysuit in a bathtub full of water and laundry soap. Gently scrub dirty areas by hand and swirl the suit around in the tub. Once it is clean, drain the tub, squeeze out the water, and follow the drying steps listed above.
Hand Paws: Handpaws are machine washable as well. Hands do not need to be flipped inside out in order to wash them. Put them in a pillowcase that you can either zip up or tie off. Set the wash to a gentle setting using cold water and regular bleach free laundry soap.
Once the hand paws are done, untie them from the pillowcase, and squeeze out any leftover water. Then lay them out to dry, flipping them to help dry evenly.
If you can’t/don’t want to use a washing machine, you can soak your handpaws in a bathtub or large bucket with water and laundry soap. Gently scrub dirty areas by hand and swirl the hands around in the tub. Once they are clean, drain the tub or empty the bucket, squeeze out the water, and follow the drying steps listed above.
Sleeves: Arm and leg sleeves are machine washable and do not need to be tied up in a pillowcase. (however, if you feel more comfortable tying them up in a pillowcase, you can) Flip the sleeves inside out, and wash them on a gentle setting with cold water and your regular bleach free laundry soap.
Once the sleeves are done, squeeze out any leftover water. Then lay them out to dry, flipping them to help dry evenly.
If you can’t/don’t want to use a washing machine, you can soak your sleeves in a bathtub or large bucket with water and laundry soap. Gently scrub dirty areas by hand and swirl the sleeves around in the tub. Once they are clean, drain the tub or empty the bucket, squeeze out the water, and follow the drying steps listed above.
Tail: Some smaller tails are machine washable. Please ask to make sure your tail falls under the size limit for machine use. If it does, set your machine to a gentle cycle with cold water and regular bleach free laundry soap. If it doesn't, submerge it in a bathtub of cold water and laundry soap. Gently scrub problem areas such as the base of the tail, anywhere it touches the ground, or in stained areas. Once it is clean, rinse it out, squeeze out any extra water, and lay it on a flat surface to dry. Do not hang your tail up until it is completely dry. The weight of the wet tail will damage the elastic straps and stretch out the top section of fur.
Footpaws: Foot paws are not machine washable. Areas around the bottom of the paw, where dirt collects, should be thoroughly scrubbed with Folex before soaking in the bathtub. Once the problem areas are scrubbed, put the paws in a bathtub with cold water and regular bleach free laundry soap. Scrub the problem areas again, and swirl the feet around in the water to help lift any dirt left behind. Rinse the feet well, and squeeze out any remaining water. Set the feet out to dry on a flat surface.
**If you have a dryer that has an AIR ONLY setting (not low heat, a specifically air only) you can toss you suit parts in the dryer with your favorite dryer sheets. This will take several cycles. If you choose to use your dryer, and you are not sure if the settings include an air only, test it on a sock. If the sock comes out of the dryer even slightly warm, do not use your dryer for your suit. If you choose to risk it, and your suit is damaged by the dryer, we will NOT honor your warranty.
Remember to ask questions if you aren't sure about something! You don't want to damage your suit with poor care.