Just like a piece of clothing, a mascot has to be cleaned every so often. But you can’t just throw everything in the laundry and wash it with your jeans, and we highly recommend against dry cleaning because the chemicals can damage the material.
Mascot care isn’t very complicated, but we do recommend you consult your manufacturer first so you know you’re doing it right. At Hogtown Mascots we offer complete mascot care services, but if you’re a DIY-type person that’s fine too. Here is what you need to know about cleaning your mascot.
The Tools of The Trade
You’ll first need to have a few things on hand.
· Wet-Dry Vac – This is by far the most useful tool to have when cleaning your mascot. It will allow you to hand wash the head and feet and remove the water and dirt quickly and easily.
· Wire and soft bristle pet brushes – These are used to brush or re-fluff fur material, and they can also be used to clear any debris from Velcro fasteners.
· Alcohol wipes – These are used to remove smudges and smears from the plastic pieces on the suit.
· Two spray bottles – These are used for cleaning the head and feet. Fill one with room temperature or cold water, and the other with cold water and a teaspoon of mild detergent.
Cleaning The Head
First remove any inner padding and the fan, if it’s removable. The padding can go into the washing machine, but the rest of the head requires special care.
For the outside of the head, take your spray bottle with soap solution and apply a few sprays to dampen an area that is dirty or stained. Gently brush with your soft bristle brush, and then remove the soapy water with the vacuum. Spray the area with the cold water bottle. Next, use the wet-dry vac to suck up the water until it feels dry. Repeat this process as many times as needed to remove all moisture and soapy residue.
For the inside of the head, spray with soapy water and wipe gently with a clean cloth. We use closed cell foam because it won’t absorb your breath and sweat, but if your mascot head has open cell foam you will need to spray and wipe several times to be thorough.
Cleaning The Feet
Some feet have removable foot covers. If this is the case with your mascot, you might be able to simply put them in the washing machine. However, if the foot covers have any plastic or metal pieces it will be better to wash them by hand. For cleaning the feet, use the same technique that you used with the head.
Cleaning The Body
Remove any clothing pieces and turn the jumpsuit inside out. Then remove any tubing from the inner body. The jumpsuit, clothing and inner body can all go into the washing machine in COLD water. Be sure to wash any colorful pieces separately, in cold water. Once those items have been washed, hang them up to dry. Do not put them in the dryer as the heat and tumbling action will ruin the fabric. Alternatively, these pieces can all be washed by hand, in cold water.
Cleaning The Plastic Pieces
If you mascot has any plastic parts like eyes, teeth, or buttons, use your alcohol wipes to give them a good polish. Avoid any painted areas as the alcohol can remove the paint. If you aren’t sure if it’s safe to use the wipes, just use your soapy water solution applied to a clean cloth instead
Keeping the Fleece Soft
We make some of our mascots with Antron fleece, or “Muppet fleece”. After a while, it can start to lose its fluffiness. A good way to bring back that soft, furry look is to take a piece of male Velcro and gently stick and pull it away from any matted parts to refluff the material. This is an inexpensive and simple trick that all mascot owners should know about. Do not brush this fabric as it will fluff it too much and tear away some of the material.
Keeping The Velcro Sticky
The Velcro fastening in a mascot eventually becomes gummed up with debris. When this happens it won’t stick as well. To clean the male side of the Velcro, brush it with a wire brush to pull out all the stuff caught in the tiny hooks.
Post Cleaning Inspection
When the clothing and inner body are hanging up to dry it’s a good time to take a look at all the seams to check for holes and tears. If there are any open seams it’s important to stitch them back up as soon as possible because it will only get worse over time.
Goo Gone and Spot Remover
It can be a good idea to have a bottle of Goo Gone in case you get any chewing gum stuck on the bottom of your mascot feet. Spot remover can be handy as well to quickly remove any small stains that might appear. Be careful with these chemicals, though. To make sure they are safe to use, test them on the inside of a seam or somewhere else where it will not be visible if it damages the material.
How To Store Your Mascot
After every use, it’s a good idea to give your mascot a quick wipe with a damp cloth to keep it clean in between professional cleanings and make sure it is completely dry before putting it away. When storing your mascot, hang it up somewhere it has ample space to breathe. Don’t keep it stuffed in a small space like the trunk of a car or a small closet as this won’t be good for the smell and shape of your mascot suit.