Can you iron cosplay?
What about keeping your cosplays fresh?
That’s what this post is all about! But first, let’s answer the burning question….
Can you iron cosplay?
Ironing is one of the key components of costume-making. In many cases, it’s perfectly fine and even recommended to use on an iron, as it will even out any stitches and of course, get rid of wrinkles on the material. With that said you want to be careful or avoid ironing certain materials such as leather or foam, as these do not respond well to heat and may ruin your costume.
So can you iron cosplay? TLDR: It depends on the material of your cosplay.
In this post, I’ll give you 10 tips on how to keep your cosplays fresh.
1. Roll or fold your cosplays when bringing them to a convention or photoshoot
Do you know where it’s easy to get your costume all messy and wrinkled? In your luggage or bag while you’re traveling to a convention! If your costume is being tossed and turned along with your other clothing, of course it won’t end well. And the last thing you want to do is walk around in a wrinkly cosplay, or taking photos with it.
So what I recommend is either folding and rolling up your costume, and putting in in its own separate bag. Don’t worry; you can still put it in the luggage. But have an extra bag to protect it from being knocked around with the other things inside. If there are a lot of intricate or delicate details on the costume, then I wouldn’t even put it in the luggage or bag. I would either carry it on a hanger with you, or even wear it along the way to the convention (click here to learn how to safely).
2. Dry cleaning = expensive but easiest method to wash your cosplay
Dry cleaning is an option if either your cosplay is super delicate or the fabric can’t be washed conventionally. This will guarantee the con funk will be gone! However, dry cleaning can be costly depending on the amount of clothing and the delicacy of the material. Also, some people with sensitive skin may react to the chemicals that are used to clean the fabric.
Timing is also important for dry cleaning; you have to really plan out to make sure your cosplay is ready to be worn by the next shoot or event, as dry cleaning can take up to a week.
3. Steam cleaning – good cleaning option for some cosplays
Steam cleaning is another option. This involves buying a handheld steamer and steaming the fabric. The hot steam loosens up the fibres of the fabric so the dirt and oil is released. This is the same way they clean upholstery and carpets. Steam cleaning can get tricky if you aren’t able to remove the oil and dirt that’s supposed to get released from the garments; it doesn’t always work. As well, some fabrics are also heat-sensitive so this may not be an option if your fabric is prone to melting.
4. Hand-washing – most time-consuming but safest method to wash your cosplays
While hand-washing is the most difficult way to clean your cosplay, it’s also the safest method as well. Because you’re washing your outfits with your own hands, you know exactly how gentle you are so as not to tear seams or destroy the details. And you can smell the con funk going away!
5. Keep the iron away from heat-sensitive materials
Can you iron cosplay?
If your cosplay is mostly regular clothing fabric, then you can use the iron to get rid of wrinkles off your costume. For example, a Pokémon cosplay with regular jeans and a t-shirt is totally fine. However, if you’re cosplaying someone like Bayonetta, you definitely want to avoid using the iron! Her outfit is all leather, which is not very good for ironing and may ruin the material.
So to answer the question of “can you iron cosplay?” It’s all about the material of your cosplay that decides if you can or not.
6. You gotta keep em separated
This tip is more about keeping your cosplays intact.
When you come home from a convention or photoshoot, what I like to do is pack away my cosplay all into one bag, if possible. That way, you don’t accidentally lose any of your accessories for that particular character, the next time you cosplay them.
And more importantly, by keeping your cosplay sorted into one bag, none of the stuff gets shuffled around in your room. Ask me how that happened! I’ve had quite a few cosplay tops wrinkled because I threw my stuff in a room and forgot about it. Then find out 6 months later where I left it…
Keep in mind; you won’t always be able to keep everything neatly into one bag. Wigs for sure need to be put elsewhere. But that brings me to my next point…
7. Hang your most delicate and intricate cosplays
As mentioned earlier, you might have costume with a lot of embroidery or delicate parts. Maybe a lot of fancy buttons for example. In that case, you don’t want to fold over them, as that could damage or ruin the material. So what I suggest is hanging them on a hanger, like you would with your normal clothes. This will help preserve the costume and you won’t have to worry about ruining the material if you were to fold them. Save space and keeping your cosplays in good shape!
8. Storing your cosplay wigs
In order to keep your cosplay wigs in good shape, you want to store or hang them properly! Don’t throw them in a bag for them to get super tangled and messed up.
If you can, the best thing you can do for your cosplay wig is to hang them on a mannequin head. Not only will the head keep the shape and style of your wig, it will also be easier to do any adjustments or polishing for when you wear it again.
With that said, not every wig needs to go on a mannequin head. For wigs that are short and simple, you can simply place them in a sealable plastic bag to keep them fresh.
So in short, you want all your wigs to be on a mannequin head or put in a small, sealable plastic bag.
9. Do the “Shoebox” technique when transporting cosplay wigs
I learned this from my cosplay friend! After seeing my cosplay wig styling get ruined when thrown into my luggage, I asked my friend how she keeps her wigs so intact while transporting it to a convention. I mean you could hold the wig in your hand the whole time, but that gets tiring.
The next best thing? Use a shoebox!
Yes, so what you do is put your wig inside a shoebox. That way, you can put your cosplay wig safely inside your luggage, and the shoebox protects it from getting squished from other items in the suitcase. The shoebox is sturdy, so most things won’t break its shape or form. You can also add something round to keep the “circular” shape of the wig, such as a ball of Styrofoam.
The only downside is that a shoebox does take up a good amount of space in your suitcase.
But ever since I used the shoebox technique, my wigs have stayed in great shape when traveling around with my cosplay wigs! This is another way to keep your cosplay stuff in good condition.
10. How to fix your cosplay wigs
Despite all your best efforts, sometimes your wigs will lose their styling and upkeep. Synthetic AND natural wigs are prone to get dirty. Sweat and other atmospheric factors break down the fibers in all wigs.
So what I recommend is a water free cleaning solution such as On Organic Natural Water Free Cleanser for Wigs and Weaves – Synthetic & Natural Hair. This solution is easy to use, dries quickly and makes little to no mess.
For wigs that need a stronger cleaning solution do the following: mix 1 part Fabric Softener to 2 Parts Water in a basin and allow the wig to soak for 1 hour; then rinse the wig and allow it to dry for 24 hours while hanging from a hook and/or over the top of a shower rod/wash basin.
Detangling wigs gets VERY tricky. But you can use Mane ‘n Tail Detangler: The Tangles and Knots Solution. This was originally created for horse shows to detangle horse hair and has since become the go to product for wig AND natural hair detangling.
You can also use a handheld travel steamer to steam the plastic and carefully detangle stuck strands.
- While safety pins are the standard for holding your cosplay together, try opting for magnets instead of safety pins to fasten bows and accessories to your outfits. Safety pins can pull and stretch the fabric, and may leave holes.
- Be sure to wear undershirts and undergarments as a barrier between your skin and the cosplay, so as to avoid sweat stains.
- Minimize dragging your cosplays on the ground if they are long. Pick up long dresses and gowns when you’re walking and set them down for short durations only, such as shoots and photos.
- Take care of stains promptly; if you get a stain, don’t rub it in. Treat it as soon as you can with some baking soda, or water if needed.
To summarize, here are the 10 tips to keep your cosplays and wigs fresh:
- Roll or fold your cosplays when bringing them to a convention or photoshoot
- Dry cleaning = expensive but easiest method to wash your cosplay
- Steam cleaning – good cleaning option for some cosplays
- Hand-washing – most time-consuming but safest method to wash your cosplays
- Keep the iron away from heat-sensitive materials
- You gotta keep em separated
- Hang your most delicate and intricate cosplays
- Storing your cosplay wigs
- Do the “Shoebox” technique when transporting cosplay wigs
- How to fix your cosplay wigs
And there you have it; all the techniques you need to keep your cosplays fresh and clean! And we also answered the question of, “Can you iron cosplay?” I hope this helps you out. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.
My name is Roger Senpai. I’m a cosplayer that’s been in the community for well over a decade now. I’ve traveled all over the world to Anime and Comic conventions and hosted my own cosplay events. Now I’m writing articles for new and experienced cosplayers like you to help inspire, save you money and improve your cosplays!