Take Care of Your Fur This Summer – Tips on Fur Repair, Cleaning & Storage
Fur coats are both practical and stylish, and the chic mainstays have recently burst back on the scene as a modern must-have. However, it is important to note that they are made from a breathable, organic fabric that requires specialized care and maintenance. So, how do you keep your garment looking as good-as-new after a few seasons of continuous use? Read on to learn how to properly clean, repair, and store your coat over the summer months so it will be pristine and ready for use as soon as those first autumn leaves fall:
Cleaning Your Fur Prior to Storing
Fur cleaning may not seem to be something that immediately comes to mind when you think of fur maintenance, however annual cleaning is something that you should consider to keep your fur looking brand new over several years of use. Just remember, maintaining your fur is much more affordable than replacing it. After all, a fur is a significant investment which should be cherished and protected.
While your fur may not even appear to be dirty, the most prominent reasons for fur cleaning are to remove small particles and to preserve natural oils found in the pelt. But, how do you know if your fur’s oils have been compromised? You can simply run your fingers along the edge of the fur to determine if there is still a fair amount of oiliness. As for those nasty particles, almost any coat will pick up tiny bits of dirt, dust, and salt during even the most benign winter, and these contaminants can absorb the natural moisture of your garment. Removing these irritants will lengthen the life of your fur.
To keep your fur clean while in use, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First of all, do not spray hairspray or perfume on or around your fur. The chemicals that they are comprised of may upset the natural balance of oils within your garment. Also, if possible, try to keep your fur cleared from cigarette smoke, as the odor can permeate the pelt and it is hard to remove. Another consideration to keep in mind is the unpredictable weather. While fur coats can handle copious amounts of snow and rain, it is still pertinent that you shake off the elements and leave your coat in a well-ventilated area to drip dry. Never expose it to any type of heat source, and whatever you do, never attempt to blow dry it.
Finally, do not ever try fur coat cleaning on your own. Placing your fur in the washer or dryer can damage your garment in ways that cannot be repaired; such as bruising or ripping it. Also, household cleaners use harsh, unnatural ingredients that will stain or destroy it. In order to preserve your item’s aesthetic appeal, you must clean it in the correct manner, and that means that it must be left in the hands of professional cleaners at least once a year to be thoroughly cleansed and conditioned. However, if you are dealing with a particular stain, such as lipstick or wine, it would behoove you to get it taken care of right away, rather than waiting until the season’s end.
This means taking it to a professional furrier, not a dry cleaner, who knows exactly how to care for your fur’s delicate pelt, lining, and each of its individual hairs. Your average dry cleaner may know how to take care of a variety of fabrics, but luxury items like furs require special attention.
Fur salons have the capability to enable your fur to last for decades on end. Of course, it is crucial that you locate one that has the experience and credentials to take the best care of your item. To find one near you, simply read online reviews or ask friends and family that also own furs who they would recommend for a good fur coat cleaning. Most reputable companies have their cleaning facilities located on-site and can do the job pretty fast. If your furrier is shipping your garment to another town or state, it may be because they lack the professional expertise to properly clean your fur, and they should be avoided at all costs.
A fur salon worth its salt will also take the time to condition an aging fur. This means adding a glaze that will retain the natural oils as well as add a healthy shine. Without the oils, furs can lose their innate luster, dry out, and possibly deteriorate. It is nearly impossible to resuscitate a brittle fur once it gets to that state. That is why it is so important to glaze and condition your fur annually to create a barrier that will protect it from the elements.
Remember, the best time for you to get your fur professionally cleaned is either in the late spring or early summer because you are less likely to need your garment and you should be preparing to place it in storage. That also means that when you take it out the following fall, it will still smell fresh and ready for another year of consistent wear.
Repairing Damages to Your Fur
You should always take as much time as necessary for fur repair. While fur is one of the most durable fabrics to work with, it requires special care in order to last multiple seasons. So, when you first see any minor tear, snag, or rip in your item, do not ignore it – have it repaired as soon as possible. Even if the issue seems to be minor, that small damage can quickly grow into a costly issue.
To prevent such atrocities, you should check your garment frequently for any signs of wear and tear as they appear throughout the season. Remember, though fur is delicate fabric, immediate fur repair can restore even the most damaged fur to its original condition. Always examine vulnerable areas such as the lining, buttons, and seams first. Then take a look at the cuffs and collars for frayed edges, and conduct a thorough check for holes, bare or bald spots, and tired-looking fur.
Again, the best course of action for fur coat repair is to take it to a professional furrier. Because the fabric is so unlike traditional materials like denim or cotton, it is best not to attempt to repair it yourself or even bring it to a professional tailor. One inaccurate stitch can destroy your garment, and you will not have any recourse if you did it yourself or left it with a seamstress.
Conversely, fur salons have the proper needles, thread, and other equipment to complete such an intricate process. A reputable furrier will conduct a thorough inspection prior to initiating the job and will give you a call to keep you informed of their every move. They will initiate proper repairs by starting inside the lining, opening the coat and completing repairs in a discrete, nearly invisible manner that is also stronger and longer-lasting than anything that can be done with a tailor’s tools or those that most of us have at home. There may even be occasions when extra fur will need to be added to your item, such as when areas of the pelt present as brittle or weak. Only a fur servicer by trade will be able to match the fur that your garment is made from with one hundred percent accuracy.
Remember, the time your fur coat repair takes greatly depends on just how damaged it is when it comes into the shop. Minor problems can take as little as a week or two, while more complicated fixes can take up to a full month. That is why it is always best to bring your fur in for repairs between seasons when it is not constantly needed, such as the late spring or early summer. That way it will be all set and ready to go once the winter weather hits.
Most importantly, you must be sure that the fur salon that you choose is the best one in your local area to serve your needs. It is best to choose a shop that has many positive reviews online and seemingly cares about your fur from the moment you walk in with it. The optimal choice would be a furrier that has experience with a wide variety of furs, including rabbit, mink, fox, and chinchilla.
However, possibly the best way to keep your fur in tip-top shape is to prevent damage from occurring altogether. Be extra careful when you are wearing your coat to avoid getting it snagged on anything, which can cause nasty rips. Also, never pin buttons or jewelry on your garment, as this can lead to small holes that can get larger and progress into tears.
Practice lifting your coat a bit when sitting so you will not rip the armhole, or simply take your coat off before sitting to relieve any undue stress that the weight may put on the delicate seams. Other areas that should be treated with kid gloves are the cuffs and shoulders. Finally, when you are removing the fur from its hanger take special care not to yank or pull on it from the outside. Rather, lift the garment off the hanger by reaching inside to the lining and lifting it gently. This will preserve both the lining and the seams over time.
Storing Your Fur Over the Warmer Months
While many fur enthusiasts will rave about professional fur coat storage as a pretty inexpensive method of keeping furs looking great for years, there are many things that you can do on your own to store your fur safely, as well. Of course, you will want to keep your coat in your possession during the fall and winter months, so you will still need to know the basics of fur coat storage even if you prefer to have it boarded on the off-season. Of course, outside of your freezer, your home is not likely to have a cold-storage area, so you will have to acknowledge some basic truths about fur storage.
First of all, you cannot store a fur in a cedar closet or in an area with mothballs. Both cedar and mothballs absorb moisture, and this can increase the humidity of the surrounding area, causing great damage to your garment. Not only that, but both mothballs and cedar give off distinct and unpleasant odors that can be absorbed into your fur’s pelt, which can be difficult to eradicate. You will also have to shield your fur from pests and vermin that will burrow into your fur, leaving stains, tears, and ghastly holes.
Fur is meant to remain supple and moisturized, which can be difficult to manage if the storage temperature is hotter than that of the average room. The hairs can dry out significantly, and the fur can appear dull and lifeless. Not only will they become brittle, but this damage may not be able to be reversed. In fact, the material absolutely hates heat, and would do much better if stored somewhere particularly cool, if not cold, such as in a first floor closet near an air conditioner. This is particularly important during the fur’s off season, when the temperatures will climb.
As previously mentioned, humidity is a fur’s natural enemy. Excessive humidity, like dryness, can also affect the fur’s natural oils. So, while it seems like it would preserve the moisture in the pelt, there is actually an inherent danger to your garment when it is stored in areas that are too humid, just as when it is housed in an area that is too dry. Humidity can also adversely affect a fur’s natural texture.
Since most fur coats are worn in areas with a temperate, four-season climate, it is important to note that the day-to-day weather in such areas can be quite unpredictable. It is important to store your fur in a place that is safeguarded from the ever-changing conditions. While many people may feel that the basement makes a cool, secure choice, they fail to consider that basements tend to be humid places that absorb moisture. It is much better to store your item in a closet fitted with a dehumidifier, to maintain the quality of your fur.
Hanger selection should not be overlooked, either. The method in which you hang your coat is very important when it comes to storage, since the wrong type of hanger can permanently damage your coat. Only a broad-shouldered hanger can support the extraneous weight of a fur coat. You can purchase broad-shouldered hangers online, or pick one up in any fine department store. Sometimes it’s actually best not to hang your fur at all, depending upon its weight. You wouldn’t want to ruin the coat’s intended shape.
If you do hang your fur in the closet, however, it is best to place it by itself in a closet that is not over-packed or stuffed. Pushing your garment into a cramped space can flatten and damage its hairs and fibers. Also, refrain from storing your fur in a plastic garment bag. Using a cloth bag is the best option since the fabric will be able to breathe comfortably. Plastic bags will dry out the fur, and frequently do not come in large enough sizes. You can easily find an appropriate cloth bag online.
It is also best to place your fur in the darkest area possible. After all, while sunlight may seem far from threatening, direct rays can not only fade the color to unattractive hues, but they can also oxidize the fur after prolonged exposure. A closet, situated far from windows, is the best place to store your item, since even the slightest amount of light can sneak through the cracks of the door jamb. A hallway closet makes a great choice.
If you are traveling, turn your garment inside out for best results. Once the lining is exposed, roll the fur into itself. Remember, cloth bags are always best and plastic or vinyl bags should only be used for the shortest of excursions. Once you arrive, you can simply fluff the fur up by shaking the item vigorously.
If all else fails or you have the budget to do so, you should consider professional storage for your fur. This is especially a good idea if you live in an area that is prone to heat and humidity, like the American South. In such regions, it can be nearly impossible to maintain the perfect combination of heat and humidity, even with central air conditioning. That is why a professional fur storage facility can be the answer to your prayers. A reputable furrier will maintain storage centers at a precise fifty degrees Fahrenheit with only fifty percent humidity.
In conclusion, a fur coat is an expensive luxury item that can be difficult and heartbreaking to replace. By following the above tips for cleaning, repairing, and storing your fur, you should be able to enjoy its beauty and utility for several years to come.