CARE & MAINTANENCE | HOW TO?
Owning a fursuit also means caring for your fursuit. It is a lot of work to keep your fursuit clean, brushed and fixed. Sometimes you can also damage your costume in the cleaning process, so this section of the website is here so you can make sure you maintain and clean your suit the right way.
Slicker brush - is a must have when owning a fursuit, brush your suit before every wear. Not only will your suit look better but you will rarely get any matting if you brush your suit regularly. If you do unfortunately encounter mattes ensure you brush out any knots or mattes in the fur carefully as you can rip chunks of fur out destroying the finish of your suit. Leave in hair conditioner can help with very badly matted fur.
Lycra undergarments and balaclava - I highly recommend lycra undergarments! They will keep oils and sweat out of your costume while also stopping any itches from the fur and trust me, you don't want to get itchy while wearing paws! The balaclava is also a good idea if you would like to cover your mouth, HBA fursuits have quite a large mouth hole and sometimes your human-self can be seen at the back of the throat.
Cheap boot style slippers - HBA fursuit feet are made in a way that allows you to choose if you want to wear them barefoot, with shoes or to donate a permanent pair of shoes into them. I highly recommend using a permanent pair of shoes in the fursuit feet, the most convenient are boot style slippers. This is because they are easy to slip into. The benefits of this is once the donated shoes are at the end of their life you can take them out and wash them or put a new pair in.
Fan or specialist made fursuit dryers - Having a fan or drier to dry your fursuit after washing or even for a quick freshen up while at conventions is very convenient.
Fursuit Spray - is great for a freshen up a fursuit body between washes BUT never spray a HBA fursuit head with a fursuit spray or any other alcohol based cleaning product. This is because most fursuit sprays are alcohol based and this can affect the coloration of fursuit eyes or could cause dyes in the head lining to leech.
Washing & Drying
Do not use water above lukewarm temperature
Do not put any part of your fursuit in a machine dryer
Do not use a blowdryer
Do not leave your fursuit to dry in direct sunlight
Do not use any harsh chemicals or solvents to clean your fursuit
Do not use any alcohol based cleaners or disinfectants on the face of your fursuit head
Do not use air fresheners such as 'Glen 20' or' Febreze' on any part of your fursuit. Use fursuit spray or linen spray instead.
Never fully submerge a HBA fursuit head in water. You can clean the head by spot cleaning with a small amount of wool wash mixed with water. To spot clean, make up your dilute wool wash and water mixture, using a colour free cloth dab any spots that need to be cleaned on your fursuit head. This method will only require air drying and a gentle brush.
If you need to clean the inside of your fursuit head, fill a sink or bath tub with wool wash mixed with cold to lukewarm water. Place one hand inside the head and only submerge the back-of-the-head half of your fursuit head. Keep the eyes and mouth above the water level and softly wash the inside and back of the head. you can alternatively use a 'little green machine' upholstery cleaner.
To dry your head softly squeeze the water out of the back of the head, once your suit is light enough prop your head on top of a horizontal fan to dry or prop it onto a pole or stick of some sort (a water bottle works well). Gently brush any long fur while still wet. After fully dried give the fur another gentle brush with your slicker brush. Before you store your head make sure the foam inside the head is actually dry to avoid mold.
To clean your fursuit body you can either do a tub soak or machine wash.
When tub soaking, fill a bathtub with cold to lukewarm water and add wool wash. Turn your fursuit body inside out and submerge. You can either leave the suit to soak for an hour, giving it a turn and flip every 5 to 10 minutes OR you can quickly wash the suit by giving it a soft rub for 5 to 10 minutes, focusing mostly on the groin, armpits and any dirt stained areas. Do not scrub the suit hard, this may tangle your fur and make it loose its fluffiness.
Once your suit is clean, drain the water from the tub. Fold your suit in half lengthwise and roll it from the neck to the feet like a sleeping bag to drain out the water. If it is still very wet you can put the suit through a spin only cycle in your washing machine.
For machine washing only use front loading machines or toploader that does not have a counter rotation blade in the centre, turn your body suit inside out and place it inside a large laundry bag (or pillowcase). Use wool wash on a COLD delicate cycle. After this is is complete run a high spin only cycle to remove excess water.
To dry a fursuit body, turn it right side out and spread it over an indoor clothesline with a fan blowing onto the suit. Gently brush the fur in the correct direction - from head to toe.
Tail & Digitigrade Padding:
There are zippers on every HBA fursuit tail and padding. The tail zipper is located between the belt loops.
Remove the stuffing. Wash and dry the tail the same as you would the fursuit body.
The emptied padding can be washed with the fursuit or in with your normal clothes.
After dried replace old stuffing or fill with new stuffing at least once a year.
Feet & Hand Paws:
DO NOT machine wash feet or hand paws.
Due to the way HBA feet are made you can wash them in a bathtub or sink with your fursuit body to remove stains on the fur.
If you installed a pair of shoes into your fursuit feet, this will stop your feet-paws from smelling. Simply remove the shoes from inside. You can either wash these shoes or throw them away are replace with a new pair.
Hand paws can be spot cleaned the same as the head and should only be washed in a bathtub or sink. Submerge them in the same wool wash mixture as the body and let them soak for an hour. Softly squeeze out the water and leave your paws to dry on an indoor washing line, gently brush the long fur while wet and gently brush again once dry.
Make sure the stuffed fingers are actually dry before you store the suit.
The most ideal way to store a fursuit body is to hang the body on a coat rack with a garment bag. This is so your fur will maintain its smoothness and avoid wrinkles. You can also store your suit in a plastic storage container or inside a suitcase but your suit may get wrinkles in the fur.
To store your head, hands and feet I recommend placing them on a shelf in your wardrobe or to store them in your convention travel box (do not stuff your hands inside your fursuit head).
Ensure your fursuit has fully dried (both from washing and sweat from wearing) before you store it. Make sure you are storing it in a dry and well ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the colours of your fur. Check your suit every month for fabric eating bugs or moths (this is a rare occurrence but can be a problem in some areas).
Avoid squashing or flattening fursuit parts for extended periods of time to prevent misshaping.
When traveling with your fursuit I highly recommend an opaque lockable plastic tub if you will be driving to your destination. For flights I recommend a lockable hard suitcase and if possible take your head as carry on inside a motorcycle helmet bag.
Ensure you do not leave your fursuit inside a hot vehicle or in direct sunlight while traveling as this can melt the faux fur and glue.
Post convention or event your fursuit may be sweaty, try to let it dry before you travel home but if you have a deadline for travel a fursuit can stay moist for a few hours only. Wash your bodysuit after every convention or extended wearing sessions (Hands, Feet and Heads do not need to be cleaned as regularly).
*Tip: If you plan to travel internationally and need less bulk, every HBA suit has zippers on the tail and digitigrade padding. Remove this stuffing and fill with a new bag of stuffing/poly-fill in your destination country.
Repairs & Self-Repairs
Fursuits are prone to breakages when actively moving, this is normal wear and tear. Suits with lots of stripes, patterns and spots have even more seams that can split.
I offer free repairs up to 90 days after your commission or pre-made fursuit has been delivered. If it is outside of this time I can do repairs for a fee. Please see my Terms of Service for more information.
As a suit owner it would be beneficial learn how to do on the spot repairs. The most versatile, strong and easy to learn stitches are the blanket stitch and back stitch (avoid a running stitch as it is weaker and prone to break again). I recommend using upholstery thread for hand stitched repairs as cheaper and weaker thread just doesn't last.
Travel Repair Kit
For travel I recommend a travel repair kit consisting of:
Upholstery thread in black, white and your primary fursuit colour
Different sized sewing needles
Hot glue gun with 10 spare glue sticks
2-part 5 minute epoxy
If your suit has electronics add:
Spare electrical wire