How to Clean Costumes

Your first step for properly washing costumes is to check if there is a care label. Following instructions on the label is recommended, of course, although you may want to take extra care in certain situations.

Clean Costumes by Dry Cleaning 

If the care label recommends “dry clean only,” you’ll want pay attention. Machine-washing, or even hand-washing such costumes can make them fade, shrink or bleed. Costumes made of velvet, wool, rayon and pleather often require dry cleaning. Check around to find a cleaner that’s equipped to handle the specific fabric you need cleaned.

Clean Costumes by Hand-Washing

For costumes with sequins, tulle, beading or lettering, hand-washing is typically the best bet. Hand-washing is a gentle cleaning method that keeps delicate fabrics and details intact. You want to choose a natural laundry detergent that does the same. Charlie’s Soap fits the bill.

  • Fill a plastic tub or sink with cold water.
  • Add a dab of Charlie’s Soap Natural Laundry Liquid Detergent.
  • Turn your costume inside out, and then submerge it in the detergent and water solution.
  • Gently knead the costume in the solution for about 60 seconds.
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold water to remove all traces of detergent.
  • Turn the costume right side out and hang to air dry.

Don’t put costumes in the clothes dryer, especially those with delicate fabrics and detailing.

Clean Costumes by Machine-Washing

Machine-washing in cold water is generally safe for costumes made of acrylic, nylon, or polyester. Use the gentle cycle if you have one, and always hang to air dry. Even more durable costumes can shrink or become disfigured in the dryer.

Remove Costume Stains

Costume stains don’t have to haunt you forever. You can get them out with a few simple steps that work on all types of costumes and all types of stains:

  • Remove the costume to tend to the stain as quickly as possible.
  • Spritz Charlie’s Soap Laundry Pre-Spray Stain Remover onto the front of the stain.
  • Rub the liquid into the stain; let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Rinse the area with cold water until the water runs clean.
  • Repeat as needed.

Once the stain is completely gone, you can continue washing the costume using the hand-washing or machine-washing outlined above. While the general steps for all stains are the same, you can jump-start the process for specific types of stains:

  • Chocolate: Blot up excess chocolate, and then run cold water through the back of the fabric beneath the stain.
  • Face Paint, Makeup Stains: Blot up excess makeup with a clean paper towel.
  • Fake Blood: Rinse the stain under cold water before adding pre-spray.

Like Charlie’s Soap laundry detergent, our pre-spray stain remover is gentle enough to use on all types of fabrics and costumes. You can let it dry on the stain overnight with no worries. You can also soak the entire costume in a tub full of cold water and Charlie’s Soap laundry detergent for an even bigger boost of stain-fighting power.

If that still doesn’t work to get out the stain, we only have one tip left. Grab a pair of scissors and cut the stain out. If Charlie’s Soap can’t get it out, nothing else will. Clean costumes safely and easily with Charlie’s Soap now.