Fur Cleaning

The Importance of Fur Storage

The higher heat and humidity of the late spring, summer, and early fall months cause fur skins to gradually lose some of their natural oils. Eventually, the garment will begin to exhibit stiffness, cracking of the skin, and fur shedding.

Thus, to preserve your fur's beauty, fit, and to protect your investment, you should store it in a professional fur storage vault during the warm months of the year.

Professional fur vaults are dark, chilled, and humidity-controlled. Additionally, they are protected against moths and other destructive insects that are common in the summer months. These conditions cannot be met by storing the fur in your own home. Professional vault storage will add years to the life of your valuable fur.

Understanding Fur Cleaning

Furs are typically cleaned in the following manner:

The garment is first inspected for age and condition, to ensure it can be cleaned safely in the rotating, fur-cleaning drum. Repairs are made to any minor rips or tears, and the customer is informed if any major repairs are necessary before the garment can be safely tumble- cleaned. If the pelts in the garment are in good condition, cleaning is a safe process.

The garment lining is hand cleaned, and spots are removed from the fur.

The fur is placed in a large, sealed drum filled with sawdust or ground corncob. Ground walnut shells or pumice is sometimes used for more abrasiveness. The ground material is moistened with solvents to help dissolve oily soil. The garment is then tumbled in the drum while the ground material penetrates the fur and "scrubs" the fibers clean. A little water is sometimes added to the sawdust to help remove water-soluble soil.

After solvent tumbling, the garment is tumbled again in an open wire drum inside a vacuum chamber to sweep away the sawdust.

The fur is then removed from the wire cage, and the remaining sawdust blown out of pockets, sleeves, and hems with a stream of compressed air.

The cleaned garment then goes through a process called ironing, glazing or electrifying. The fur is placed in a machine that irons it with rollers. But instead of flattening the fur, as you would expect, the hairs are lifted, separated, and returned to a uniform direction with static electricity.

The lining is then hand-ironed and the fur is inspected, bagged and returned to the customer.

Home Care of Furs

Always hang your fur on a broad-shouldered, padded hanger, never on a thin wire hanger. Give your fur enough room in the closet so the fur is not crushed.

Never store your fur in a plastic bag or a rubber-lined bag. Plastic and rubber prevents air from circulating through the fur and can dry out the leather. Store the fur instead in a cloth garment bag provided by your furrier. When you are traveling, hang the garment in the cloth garment bag.

Never store your fur near heat.

Avoid storing your fur in bright light or in direct sunlight. The light can cause the fur to oxidize and change color.

During warm weather always place your fur in a cold storage facility equipped with temperature and humidity controls. Nothing shortens the life of your fur, shearling, fur-trimmed garment, or even a fur hat or scarf, like keeping it in your closet during a long, hot summer. Fur cold storage is the single best thing you can do to care for your fur.

Do not let insecticides, mothproofing, or other chemicals get on or around your fur. Do not spray perfume or hairspray directly on your fur. Do not store your fur in a cedar chest, or in a closet with cedar shavings. Once a chemical odor, perfume, or cedar volatiles gets into your fur, it could be there to stay. Never mothproof a fur. Home treatments are no substitute for professional cold storage.

Have any small rips or tears repaired immediately by a professional furrier. This will prevent more expensive repairs later.

Have your fur cleaned annually by a fur specialist, not a dry cleaner.

If your fur gets wet, shake it out and hang it to dry in a well-ventilated room. Keep it away from direct heat or a radiator, which can cause both fur and leather to dry out. After it is dry, shake it out again. Most furs will take some rain and snow far better than wool or other winter coat will. If the fur is soaked through, however, take it immediately to your fur retailer for proper treatment.

Never comb or brush your fur.

Never pin jewelry through your fur. It leaves pinholes that cannot be repaired.

Do not use the shoulder straps of handbags on a consistent basis. This will eventually leave visible wear marks on the fur.

Ensure your fur on your homeowner's policy for its replacement value, so you will be able to replace your fur and not be heartbroken in case of theft. Furriers usually offer nominal insurance coverage while your coat is in storage, and sometimes make further coverage available for a small fee.

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