How do I care for my vintage fur?
(Credit: "The Source.")
- "Use the Right Clothes Hanger. Your fur coat should always be hung on a broad, sturdy padded hanger (not wire!) to keep the shoulders from losing their shape. The neck of the hanger should be long enough to keep the collar of the coat away from the hanging rod.
- Protect the Fur From Dust. Unless you are wearing the fur every day, use a 100 percent cotton bag to keep dust out of the fur. Do not hang a fur in a plastic bag that doesn't breathe. The fur needs air circulation to keep the hide from drying out and cracking.
- Prevent Matting. Do not leave jewelry pinned to your coat as it can mat the fur. When wearing your coat, do not use a shoulder bag consistently because it can wear away the fur and leave a bald spot.
- Avoid Staining. Wearing a scarf around your neck will prevent body soil and make-up from soiling your coat collar. Avoid using hairspray or applying perfume when wearing your coat. The formulas of most brands contain alcohol which can dry the hides. Any oils in the products may penetrate the fur and eventually become rancid. The odor is nearly impossible to remove.
- Prevent Crushing the Fur If you will be sitting for a long period, you should take your coat off to avoid crushing the fur. If you can't remove the coat, try to change positions often so that the fur will not be crushed in one spot over and over again. If possible, remove your coat and use it more like a blanket in your lap.
- Get Rid of Excess Moisture. If you get caught in light rain or snow, simply shake out the fur and remove as much water as possible. Hang it to dry in a well-ventilated room. Do not use a hairdryer, clothes dryer, or any direct heat on the fur. After it is dry, shake again to fluff the fur. Do not comb or brush the fur, simply smooth the fur with your hand.
- Off-Season Storage. Natural fur hates heat. It is not the actual hair that is affected, it is the hide or leather that can dry out, become stiff, and crack. The optimum storage temperature for natural fur is 45 degrees F and 50 percent humidity. In fur storage vaults, the room is dark which prevents bleaching and fading of the color. Moths and other insects cannot survive at that temperature.
- Furs that are properly stored during hot weather can last up to 50 years or more. If you decide not to use a professional storage facility, do not store your coat in a cedar closet or chest. The oils can harm the fur. Keep the fur in the coolest closet possible and always in the dark. Check frequently for insect activity, especially moths.
- Repairs. All repairs to the fur, alterations, and replacements of the lining should be done by a professional furrier. A tailor or seamstress can repair rips in the lining.
- What Happens During the Professional Cleaning Process
- A fur professional will inspect your coat for stains, rips, and tears.
- The lining is hand-cleaned with specific attention to spots and stains.
- The fur is then placed in a large drum filled with sawdust and an environmentally-safe cleaning solution. The coat is tumbled in this drum which draws the dirt and oils from the fur. The coat is then vacuumed to remove the sawdust and hand steamed to remove any final residue.
- The next process involves "electrifying" the coat. Using large rollers, electricity is used to make each hair lift, separate, and lie in the same direction. The process is similar to static electricity that makes each of our hairs stand separately on our heads."