Care and Mantinence of Your Costume
Again, do not rush or yank pieces of the costume off of you, if you need help, ask a friend!
After wearing you should spray the inside of your costume and head with a rubbing alcohol solution. I prefer an 80% alcohol to 20% water ratio, but you can use what ever concentration you feel works best. DO NOT USE SPRAY DISINFECTANTS SUCH AS LYSOL OR FEBREEZE. These products contain harsh chemicals that will break down the materials used in your mask and costume, and leave a residue. Alcohol evaporates and works just fine at disinfecting.
Mask and costume should be placed in front of a fan or set up in a way that it receives airflow so it can dry. Drying should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.
Costume should be gently brushed with a slicker brush (A type of dog brush) after each wear to prevent matting and keep the fibers looking nice. Special attention should be paid to areas prone to matting such as under arms, seat, between the legs, etc.
If your suit has wefted yarn, such as a mohawk, or faux human hair, this should be brushed with a soft bristle brush.
Fleece fabric suits do not need to be brushed.
Eventually your costume will need to be washed, especially after a convention or event where it has been used heavily. I prefer to wash costumes in a tub, because it is gentler and special attention can be paid to any soiled areas. Fill the tub with tepid to cool water, do not use hot water as that will melt and warp the fibers of your fur.
I use a mild laundry detergent, such as Woolite or Tide, and gently works the suit into a lather. Baking soda or Borax can be used to help brighten whites. (Keep in mind that some white furs react to UV exposure and will yellow over time. Nothing can be done about this.) If you have a particularly stubborn spot on your light colored fur, you can make a paste with with baking soda and a little bit of water and apply directly to the spot. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse.
When you are finished washing be sure to rinse your costume thoroughly.
Ask me if your head can be submerged in water. Usually a light spot cleaning will with a damp cloth or light soap if you have a few soiled areas.
First and and foremost DO NOT PLACE COSTUME PARTS WITH FAUX FUR OR HEAT SENSITIVE PLASTICS IN THE DRYER. Just don't do it. Faux fur fibers are made out of plastic and the heat from the dryer can and will warp and melt the fibers. Sometimes BBW uses heat moldable plastics in costumes, and these can warp in high heat.
If you have a dryer with a no heat setting, you can use that if you are absolutely certain no heat will be applied.
Fleece costume parts can be placed in the dryer in a pinch, but it is still best to air dry these, as I have found that dryer heat changed the texture of the pile slightly. Beware that tumbler drying can cause claws to scrape or chip.
Drying should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Costumes should be LAID out in front of a fan, over something that allows air flow, such as over some chairs or crates. Do not hang your costume directly after washing as the sheer weight of the wet fibers will cause your costume to stretch out of shape. You may have to flip or adjust your costume every so often to make sure all parts are receiving attention from the fan.
As it is drying you should run a brush through the fur every 20 minutes. This assures that the fibers dry straight and neat. After the costume is simply damp to the touch you may hang your costume in front of the fan, and resume brushing every 20 minutes until the costume is dry.
Costumes should be stored in a dry place at room temperature, either in a closet or plastic storage tub. You can hang your suit up within a garment bag for extra protection against dust. Never store a costume in your attic. You can place your mask on a shelf, but I recommend placing a trash bag or cover over the head to keep out dust. I usually place hands inside the head to prevent losing them. If you are storing your feet inside the container, I suggest packing the feet 'sole to sole' so that no dirt on the bottoms of your feet may get on your suit!
When you receive your costume you should know a little about how to clean and care for it properly. Like clothing your costume can and will wear out eventually, this is normal, but proper care and maintenance can help keep your costume looking and functioning better for longer!
You should wear lycra undergarments under your costume. This will help keep you cooler, and wick sweat away from your costume. Look for something meant to be worn in hot weather, and has "wicking" mentioned somewhere on the label. A lycra cap or hood should be worn under the mask. This will help keep you cooler, and serve as an extra barrier of protection between sweat, oils, dirt and your mask.
Don't rush or force yourself into your costume, as this could put extra strain on the seams and structure. If you need some help, ask a friend!