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How to Clean Halloween Costumes

Halloween is a time for sweets, scary movies and costumes galore. But after all the Halloween shenanigans are over, those costumes can get seriously messy. Sticky candy, sugary drinks, sweaty trick-or-treaters… those little costumes are put through it. Your kids might wear them again next year, but let’s be honest, they’re probably going to want to wear it again next week. And maybe there will be dress-up day at school. Or if you have more than one kiddo  — hand-me-downs, anyone? Millions of trick-or-treaters dress up in adorable, scary and hilarious costumes each year. It goes without saying, parents invest a lot of money in Halloween costumes. So, here’s how to properly clean and store them, rather than just do away with them.

Hand washing costumes is probably the best option

Halloween costumes are usually quite delicate and are likely to just fall apart in the washer. The best rule of thumb is to hand wash children’s costumes. Halloween costumes are often very cheaply made, and are sewn with just basic stitching; the washing machine will likely be too rough and abrasive. Many will even say on the tag, “Not machine washable” — always check first.

Check the labels and the material 

Costumes made from materials like cotton, polyester, nylon or acrylic can probably be machine washed. Always check the tags first. Whether you’re machine washing or hand washing, be sure to turn costumes inside out to protect appliques, sequins, buttons or any extra things that make the costume complete!

Use a gentle detergent, regardless 

Whether you’re hand washing or machine washing, use a gentle, natural detergent. Harsh detergents with lots of added chemicals have no business with any laundry, let alone delicate garments like princess dresses and Batman get ups. Plus, you don’t want harmful chemical residues irritating your kids’ skin. Instead, try our Platinum Series detergent to hand wash the garments in a sink or use a couple tablespoons in the washer on a delicate cycle.

Watch out for these materials 

Costumes made of tulle, spandex and with embellishments should be carefully hand washed and lined dry. Not only are those materials especially delicate, but extra embellishments can catch on the material and damage it. As mentioned earlier, if the material is cotton, polyester, nylon or other traditional fabrics, it’s probably okay to machine wash and tumble dry on low, but always read the tags first.


Air dry costumes, just to be safe 

Because the materials in Halloween costumes are so delicate, we recommend playing it safe and air drying them.


Use low heat to remove wrinkles 

So what to do about wrinkles… If there are wrinkles, try a low setting on a steamer or iron, but of course, read the instructions on the tag before doing this. Remember that many children’s costumes are inexpensively made and could get damaged from high heat.


Now that you can wash and preserve those costumes, you can allow siblings to rewear the next year, let your kids play dress-up or you could donate them! Happy Halloween, everyone!

We'd love to see your costumes this year — please tag us on social media! 

Instagram: @RockinGreenSoap

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