Cleaning Fuzzy Puppets
There are two secrets to cleaning and restoring "fake fur" and other longhaired commercial puppets and stuffed animals; foam carpet cleaner and the vacuum. Check the label before buying the cleaner; watch out for stain-removing claims with usually mean bleach, and for warnings about fumes. Also get a clean smooth sponge, preferably one made from actually foam. Non-abrasive auto wiping sponges are good, if somewhat large.
Use a vacuum with a hose, ideally one that can blow as well as suck. Otherwise get out a airdryer with a cool setting as well. Put on plastic gloves or even grocery bags when working. If hand puppets are being done, set up stands of some sort to dry them on.
Work a small amount of foam with fingers into an area on the figure. Keep doing this until the entire puppet has been coated with as little foam as possible. Check instructions for drying time, but don't let the cleaner turn completely to powder (if it's that type).
Wet the sponge, wring as dry as possible and wipe foam off the puppet following the nap of the "fake fur" or long-pile fabric. Clean as much foam residue off as possible, rinsing and wringing the sponge.
Now blow dry the figure using a cool hair dryer or the vacuum running as a blower. When the figure is more or less dry, and probably very unkempt, use the vacuum to "air comb" it. Don't push the house down onto the surface, but draw the hairs up and seperate them, shaping them to make the figure neat again. This procedure also works on cheap wigs. Be careful using an actual comb or brush.
The dry powder type rug cleaners can be used for emergency cleanup, but moisture must be avoided. There's bleach in them. Just vacuuming will sometimes be sufficient. Cornstarch based baby powder will help pick up the dirt but has to be shaken out.
posted by will 1:55 PM
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