Before Con - Packing & Preparing!
Packing your fursuit for a con can be as easy as throwing it in your car, but here's a few tips and things to think about when taking your fursuit to a con.
Keep your fursuit protected. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to put it in a hard-sided tote box or suitcase. Airlines usually require checked bags be a maximum of 62 total linear inches (L+W+H), and this also turns out to be a good size for full digitigrade fursuits. This is usually what I transport my fursuits in, regardless if I'm flying or not.
Some people do not like packing their fursuit head in with their checked luggage and prefer to take it as a carry-on, or have it sit on their lap in the car if driving. This is totally fine! If you do this, I recommend putting your fursuit head in a bag of some kind to give it extra protection. I, however, prefer to pack my fursuit head in the middle of my suitcase. I put the handpaws in the head to help the head keep it's shape, and then pack the tail and maybe bodysuit around the head to keep it secure and padded in case the luggage gets tossed around. Make sure to pack things tightly, especially if you have a resin-based head, so nothings gets jostled too much.
Once you arrive at the con, unload your fursuit or at least open the box and fluff things out to help prevent creases, winkles, etc. Also remember that leaving your fursuit in a car at a con is a very bad idea! Cars get hot and fur starts to melt at 115°F
In addition to your fursuit, you'll also want to packing things to go along with it. Things I usually pack if I'm bringing a fursuit to a con include:
-fursuit repair kit (mini glue gun, hot glue, super glue, thread, needles, elastic, velcro, scissors)
-underarmor (or similar polyester/spandex base layer)
-accessories (collar, harness, bandanas, etc)
At Con - Wearing & Disinfecting!
Enjoy your fursuit! Don't forget to pace yourself and drink lots of water. Furry cons usually have fursuit/headless lounges around the con specifically for fursuiters who need a break. Use them! These lounges also typically have things like febreze and lysol wipes. Using the wipes should be fine, just make sure it dries before putting your suit back on. However, avoid the febreze! Febreze and other scent sprays can have chemicals in them that can degrade materials on your fursuit. Stick to isopropyl alcohol-based disinfecting sprays, such as the ones sold in my shop. I usually don't bother with disinfecting or cleaning my suit in the headless lounges, altho I do make good use of the fans. If you are going to take off your suit for more than a couple hours tho, always disinfect it! Especially if leaving it over night. Spray down the inside of all of it. You don't have to soak it, but make sure the surface gets covered. Only lightly spray or avoid areas with paint (such as eyes or airbrushing) because the alcohol can cause the paint to run (I've never had a problem with a light spray tho). This helps keep bacteria from growing in your suit. Make sure your suit is dry before putting it back on as the fumes from the disinfectant can be harmful.
If you can, bring a fan with you to con, even if it's a small one. I use a little 6 inch fan to help dry out my head in the hotel room.
Brush your fursuit regularly throughout con as well. I recommend a slicker brush, however use the brush backwards/upsidedown! The "teeth" on a slicker brush are designed to get the undercoat out of pets' fur, but we don't want the fur pulled out of our fursuit! Using the brush in the reverse direction tho keeps it from pulling, while still resulting in nice, well-kempt fur. Be sure to pay attention to high-friction areas like armpits, crotch, and butt when brushing.
Make sure your suit is as dry as possible before packing it to go home.
After Con - Washing & Storing!
I give my fursuit a thorough washing after each hard wear, but if you don't wear your fursuit hard at con, you can probably go 2-4 cons without washing, providing you've been disinfecting it. If you plan to store your fursuit for very long tho, give it a good wash before doing so.
Of course, this is a guide for washing fursuits that I have made. Please always consult your own maker before washing your fursuit.
All of my fursuits, with the exception of resin-based heads, can be washed in a washing machine.
I will go over both washing machine and bathtub methods.
Washing in a tub:
1-Place all of your fursuit in the tub. Yes, all of it, including resin-heads. If you can turn it inside out (bodysuits), do so. If your suit has padding, you can remove it, however I choose to simply wash it with my suit.
2-Fill the tub with warm or cold water. Fur starts to melt at 115°F, which is about the temperature of a hot shower, so don't get it that hot, but warm is fine. Most soaps need warm water to activate, however if you've purchased my fursuit shampoo, you can use cold water as well.
3-Swish soap into the water like you were washing a load of dishes. Soap can also be applied directly to target areas for better cleaning. Never apply soap directly to painted areas like eyes or airbrushing.
4-Scrub the suit as needed and swish it around well. Pretend you're a washing machine!
5-Drain the tub and squish (don't wring!) as much water as you can out of the suit.
6-Refill the tub with water and swish the suit around to get all the soap out. Repeat as needed.
7-Squish as much water as you can out again, and again do not wring your suit! This can cause the suit to stretch.
8-Lay everything flat to dry. Do not hang anything up, especially the bodysuit. This can cause the suit to stretch.
9-Get as many fans as you can blowing on your suit.
10-Brush your suit as it dries. Whatever position the fur is in when it dries is how it will want to stay, so try to keep the fur well-brushed as it dries.
Washing in a washing machine:
Resin-based heads cannot be washed with this method. Please use the tub only method for resin-based heads.
If you have pick of washing machines, front-loading is best, or at least one without an agitator in the middle.
1-If you can turn it inside out, do so. Place head and paws in pillow cases and tie them shut with a rubber band. If your suit has padding, you can remove it, however I choose to simply wash it with my suit.
2-Place everything in the washing machine. Sometimes you have to split your suit into 2 loads depending on the size of the washing machine.
3-Add your soap! My fursuit shampoo can be used in the washing machine as well.
-Temperature: If you know your washing machine and know that "warm" water is in fact just warm and not hot, feel free to use warm water. Otherwise, use cold as some washing machines' "warm" temperature is actually quite hot. Never use hot water. Again, fur starts to melt at 115°F.
-Spin cycle: Set the spin cycle to medium or high. This will help get most of the water out of your suit and reduce drying time.
5-Relax while your washing machine does the work!
6-Lay everything flat to dry. Do not hang anything up, especially the bodysuit. This can cause the suit to stretch. Never put your suit in the dryer.
7-Get as many fans as you can blowing on your suit.
8-Brush your suit as it dries. Whatever position the fur is in when it dries is how it will want to stay, so try to keep the fur well-brushed as it dries.
Tub and washing machine:
I prefer to use a combination of these two methods, following the tub method thru step 4 and then doing a rinse & spin cycle in the washing machine.
Once your fursuit is fully dry (usually 2-4 days after washing), you can put it away in storage. For short-term storage, you can simply store it in the tote box or suitcase mentioned previously. For long-term storage however, I recommend storing it in a closet, what you can hung up and the rest laid flat to prevent wrinkles or other deformations. Make sure the area you're storing in is dry and will not get above 115°F.