While you’re enjoying some candy, a melting chocolate bar or dripping caramel from a candy apple may make its way onto your costume. To take care of any Halloween food stains, pre-treat with a stain remover formula and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Costume fabrics usually aren’t particularly breathable, so you’ll also want to pre-treat areas where perspiration stains have occurred (such as under the arms and around the neck).
Check your costume’s label for recommended washing instructions. If your costume is made out of cotton, polyester, acrylic or nylon, and doesn’t have special embellishments, it can likely be machine washed in cold water on the delicate cycle.
Costumes made of tulle or spandex can be gently hand-washed at home, even if they have sequins or plastic attachments. However, careful consideration must be taken when you’re cleaning these items yourself.
- Flip the costume inside out before placing it in cold water with a gentle laundry detergent.
- Knead the material in the water for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Gently squeeze the costume to remove excess water, but take care not to wring it, which can weaken the stitching.
Costumes labeled as “dry clean only”—especially with special embellishments or trims made of fur, leather, suede or feathers—should be taken to a professional, who will be equipped to provide a thorough cleaning.
Avoid the dryer, which can shrink a costume made of inexpensive fabrics (like acetate and polyester) by up to two sizes or ruin the material altogether. The dryer can also loosen the elasticity in spandex or nylon. Most costumes should be hung to dry, but ones with a distinct structure should be laid flat to dry in order to preserve their shapes.
If you need to remove any wrinkles, iron on the lowest heat setting. High heat can damage fabrics like acrylic, rayon and polyester. Always keep the iron moving so that you avoid overheating and ruining the fabric.