How to Care for Your Real Fur Coat in Three Simple Steps
Fur coats are one of most stylish items you can own—and they aren’t just for the wealthy or famous anymore.
Real fur is a trendy addition to a diverse crowd. Fashion bloggers, teens, and stay at home parents are embracing furs. Not just for the opera or extravagant evenings, fur is taking on a modern look complementing blue jeans, leather pants, and high top sneakers.
Fur is now an effortless way to stay chic and stay warm. Wicked winters are a fact of life in Boston, so coats need to pull double duty as far as style and practicality.
Unique and versatile, fur does require special care. Fur is an organic, breathable fabric so you must consider these steps for proper fur maintenance:
- Repair as necessary
- Yearly cleaning
- Seasonal storage
All of these steps may sound overwhelming, but remember: these guidelines are part of your entire yearly fur maintenance plan.
If you own a natural fur or fur trimmed item, these steps will help ensure your coat will give you years of enjoyment and warmth.
Before Getting Started
Sometimes we come across a fur garment and buy it without knowing if it’s real fur. This is common if you buy your fur at a vintage or secondhand store. These fur maintenance steps only apply to real fur, so if you are unsure, first determine whether or not your fur is real.
Look at the label and research to see if the coat was made by a real fur manufacturer.
One of the main differences between real and fake fur is the texture. Fake fur can feel slick and artificial.
If you’re still unsure, do the burn test by taking a small bit of hair and burning it with a lighter. This method may seem extreme but will give you a strong indicator on whether your fur is real or not. Real animal fur will burn normally; fake fur will melt and smell like plastic.
Fake fur is made out of synthetic materials and chemicals so it does not need the careful preservation real fur needs. Making sure your fur is genuine will ensure you are taking the right steps to protect it.
Step One: Repair Your Fur Coat as Necessary
Fur is a durable fabric, but it still needs special care when it comes to damage. As soon as you notice a tear, rip, or snag in your fur coat or jacket, have it repaired immediately. These minor issues may seem like they can wait, but small damage can grow into expensive problems.
Find a professional furrier for your repairs. Repairing a fur coat is not like repairing cloth or denim. Never take your fur to a regular tailor or try to fix it at home. Traditional methods will not properly mend your coat, and one wrong cut or stitch can ruin it. If you take your fur to regular seamstress business and damage occurs, you will likely not have any recourse for reimbursement.
A professional furrier will have the proper tools, needles, and threads for this delicate process. The everyday tools at most tailors or at home will not be strong enough to hold repairs.
For proper repairs, the coat is opened and the reconstruction is completed on the inside below the lining. This will make stronger, longer lasting repairs. In addition, repairs made on the inside are more discrete and will not be visible when you wear the coat.
Find a Reputable Furrier Experienced with Repairs
Locating an experienced fur salon with an in-house furrier is key to ensuring quality repair work. Go online and read reviews before bringing your fur into their store. A good fur salon will take time to do a complete inspection before any repairs and call you before beginning any work.
They should check for vulnerable areas like the seams, buttons, and lining. Common repairs include updating worn edges around cuffs or collars, replacing tired looking fur, and stitching up holes.
Your choice in a fur salon for your repair is an important one. Make sure the shop cares about your fur and has a solid reputation for quality. The right furrier will have experience in many types of furs including mink, fox, chinchilla, rabbit, and more. The best furriers have extensive experience, training for years with industry masters.
In some cases, additional fur will have to be added to your coat if the pelts are weak and brittle. A professional fur servicer will carefully source the right fur to match your coat.
The time involved for repairs depends greatly on the severity of the damage. Expect minor issues to take one to two weeks, while major damages can take much longer. If possible, take in your fur coat for repairs during the off-season so it will be ready to wear when winter hits.
Important Tips to Remember
Remember to periodically check your fur coat for any signs of damage throughout the year. Fur is a delicate material so some other tips to keep in mind include:
- Remove your fur coat before sitting down to avoid extra stress on the seams
- Do not pin jewelry such as pins or buttons directly on your fur
- Take special care along more delicate areas of the coat such as the shoulders and cuffs
When you do need coat repairs, don’t leave your precious investment the hands of inexperienced tailors. Have your fur repaired as soon as you notice damage, and always go to an experienced furrier.
Step Two: Cleaning, Conditioning, and Glazing for Your Furs
Fur cleaning is necessary to keep your fur looking new every year. You may look at your coat right now and notice it doesn’t look particularly dirty. But the number one reason to clean your fur is to preserve the natural oils in each pelt.
Touch your fur and rub your fingers along your coat. In a healthy coat, there should be a bit of oiliness. Without these essential oils, your fur coat will dry out quickly, losing its luster and possibly resulting in permanent damage. Dry, brittle fur is difficult to bring back to life without expensive repairs and your coat being unavailable for weeks.
During a rough winter, your coat will pick up tiny bits of salt, dust, and dirt. These particles love the natural oils in your fur. Once they are in your coat, they will soak up natural oils. The main objective for cleaning fur is to remove these particles while preserving the oils.
When it comes to owning a fur, a little regular maintenance goes a long way. It is much easier and less expensive to take simple steps to protect your fur. Your fur coat is a significant investment so it should be handled with the utmost care. One of the best ways to maintain your fur is to schedule a cleaning appointment at least once a year. Your fur should be professionally cleaned more than once a year if a serious stain occurs such as wine or lipstick.
Professional Fur Coat Cleaning
Always take your coat to a professional fur cleaner. A professional fur salon will know how to properly clean, condition, and glaze your coat. Never take your coat to a regular dry cleaner or try to clean your coat at home. Dry cleaners are a practical choice for many other fabrics but lack the appropriate knowledge for luxury materials like fur. Also, home cleaning products often do not use natural ingredients which can seriously damage or stain your delicate fur coat. In addition, at home washers and dryers will bruise and rip your fur.
With the right cleaning, your fur can last years, so do a little research to find the best fur care specialist in your area. Read reviews and make sure they offer quality fur cleaning services.
When you bring your fur in for cleaning, the specialists should first inspect the coat for any issues such as stains or rips. The fur salon should bring these issues to your attention before beginning the cleaning process especially if repairs are necessary.
Ideally, the fur salon should have their cleaning services on-site so fur is not shipped to another town or state. Your fur boutique should have professional equipment and gentle cleaners for your fur. Conditioning and glazing are also two important steps. Both add a protective layer that acts as a barrier against new particles as well as leave your coat feeling brand new.
The most convenient time to clean your fur is late spring or early summer right before it goes into professional storage. Having your coat cleaned in the off-season before storage means it will come out feeling and smelling wonderful, and your coat will be winter ready when the cold weather blows into town.
At-Home Fur Tips
While you should never deep clean your fur at home, there are some basic guidelines you should follow to make sure your fur is protected. Most fur coats can handle regular amounts of water and snow. If you’re fur coat is slightly wet, just hang it up in a well- ventilated part of your home or apartment. While it’s drying, keep it away from direct heat and never use a blow dryer on it. Let it air dry. If your coat is soaked with water, schedule an appointment with your furrier immediately.
Another quick tip is to avoid spraying perfume or hairspray around your coat since these sprays can upset the natural balance of oils in your furs. Also, avoid cigarette smoke if possible so the odor does not get trapped in your coat.
Fur cleaning is one of the best ways to maximize the life of your fur by removing tiny particles and protecting the natural, lustrous oils.
Step Three: Professional Storage is the Right Place for Your Furs
Your fur coat is a one of a kind garment. Fur keeps you flawlessly stylish and luxuriously warm, without one sacrificing the other. Since your fur coat works overtime as both a fashion statement and a practical shield against the elements, it needs a break in a safe and comfortable environment.
Always store your fur garments (including coats, jackets, stoles, and muffs) in professional fur storage when you’re not wearing it or during the warmer months. This is one of the most critical steps you should take to protect your fur.
There is no exact time frame for when to put your coat into storage, but generally it’s best to do so when it’s too warm to wear your fur.
There a several hazards to your fur. From heat, moisture, light, and insects, the everyday conditions in your home can damage your fur:
Heat – While fur performs well in cold weather conditions, fur hates heat. The hairs can dry out leaving your fur with a dull, dry appearance. Too much heat can even cause your fur coat to become brittle, resulting in serious damage.
Humidity – The Boston area is known for its unpredictable seasons. Some days are pleasantly cool while others are hot and balmy. The irregular highs and lows of humidity will affect your coat’s natural oils. Too much or too little moisture in the air will disrupt the natural balance.
Light – Sunlight may seem innocuous, but direct light will oxidize your fur leaving unattractive color changes.
Pests – Do you know who else loves your fur as much as you do? Vermin and insects. These pests are not only a nuisance in your home, but to your fur coat. These critters can burrow into your fur leaving holes, rips, or stains.
Why Professional Storage?
As comfortable as you keep your home, no closets or wardrobe will consistently maintain the conditions necessary to properly protect your fur. Professional fur vaults are specially designed to protect against humidity and temperature changes, pests, and light. Real fur needs to be kept around 50° Fahrenheit and at a consistent 45-55% humidity level.
When you take your fur to a professional fur specialist, make sure they utilize this cold storage technology. A cold, consistent temperature with moderate humidity slows the aging process of your fur coat or jacket. Professional fur storage is a relatively inexpensive way to make sure your fur looks great for years.
How to Keep Your Fur at Home During the Winter
When you keep your fur coat at home during the cold months, only use a broad-shouldered hanger and store it in well ventilated area in your home. Don’t try to fit your full length mink coat in a tiny part of your closet. If you travel with your fur, use a cloth travel bag. Never use a plastic bag since your fur will not be able to breathe. Avoid using mothballs around your fur at home since the odor will latch onto your coat.
While fur is a naturally durable material, it requires the right maintenance and care to last. Make sure your fur can give you years of warmth and fashion by following these three simple steps:
- Go to a professional furrier for necessary repairs.
- Schedule yearly cleaning with a fur care specialist.
- Store your coat at a professional fur vault.