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."
Note from Juliet: Now more than ever, we are particularly selective and discerning when it comes to the cleanliness of our furs, therefore, we would like to assure our customers that each one of our luxury vintage furs has been professionally cleaned and stored in a cold fur vault to ensure that they are in immaculate condition and ready to wear. Please be aware that some online fur sellers especially on the e-commerce site (ETSY) we were previously selling on leave the cleaning process up to the buyer. Many of those vintage furs were acquired at garage sales, online auction sites from "pickers" and thrift shops and then sold to the highest bidder in as-in condition without any previous knowledge of where the fur came from or how it was stored. One particular fur-seller who is obsessed with emulating our shop, routinely plagiarizes our listings and steals our creative concepts, has been describing her furs as "fresh and clean" and uses adjectives such as "cherished heirloom" "luxury vintage" (stolen from our listings) to describe her furs without knowing when they were last cleaned, if ever, or how they were stored. Many of her vintage furs were purchased on Ebay for a a few dollars and then marked up considerably but leaves the cleaning up to the buyer! Many have stained and frayed linings and vintage odors which is a good indication that the fur was not stored properly. Not all vintage furs are created equal. We also notice that many vintage sellers are unfamiliar with vintage furs so they will erroneously tag their furs "mink" or "sable" when in actuality it's squirrel or some other animal. There is no quality control when it comes to "vintage" and some furs offered on that site that we used to sell on, were actually new imports from China or less than 20 years old yet labeled vintage. Most all of our mid-century vintage furs were acquired from the estates of their original owners (some belonging to our family members) who took great pride in their investments. Their original owners evidently cared for their furs by storing and cleaning them professionally and our verified five-star reviews speak about the excellent condition and quality of our furs. We, too, take great pride in the fact that our furs are truly clean and free of issues such as dust mites, moth holes, frayed linings, old food and makeup stains, water damage, mold, mildew and other contaminants and allergens. Vintage furs that have been around for 20 to 50 years should be professionally cleaned, even if they look clean to the naked eye. I compare it to a sweater belonging to your grandmother which had been sitting in a drawer for 50 years plus years. It may look clean to your naked eye but seriously, would you not have it washed or dry-cleaned prior to wearing it, especially if you're going to be draping it over your wedding dress and bare shoulders?! Enough said! A discerning, discriminating fur shopper is my best customer! Thank you and be well. Juliet