Article: How to take good care of your fur coat
By Konstantinos Tsiopoulos, Co-Director TSOP Fur Machines. 16.10.2018
This is not written for the furrier professional, it is written for men and women who bought a nice fur coat and they want to preserve its perfect appearance, for the longest possible time. Keep in mind that 4 things will harm your fur coat more than anything: water, heat, light and time. So, let’s go through each one of the elements and see what we can do about it.
Water, can reach to your coat in many ways. The most obvious one is rain. As long as water stays on the hair, there is absolutely no harm. Hair is waterproof and even if your coat has been dyed in some stage of its production, the dying has been made with a chemical process similar with the one that is used by hair dresser salons, so it doesn’t wash off. However, when water goes further inside and reaches the leather of your fur coat, well that can cause some damage. When leather gets wet, it can change shape very easily. So, you must be careful not to stretch your coat too much, do not pull too strong on the sleeves, do not bend the elbows too much. Any deformities caused while the leather is wet will probably stay there even after your coat dries. So, try to cause as little deformation as possible.
One more thing water does, it makes the leather more stiff and harder than it was before. The drying temperature plays an important role in this. This takes us to the second harmful factor, heat. Never dry your fur coat near a very hot surface. For example, don’t hang your coat on the radiator to dry. Instead, use a hanger or a chair and place it at a close distance from the heat source but not too close. When you coat was produced and became wet during production, it was dried in special drying machines at low temperatures of 40-45 °C. In some cases, where and when the weather permits, furriers just leave the coats to dry naturally in the open air outside the building.
Heat is harmful for your coat even when it is not wet. Prolonged storage at temperatures more than 20 °C -for example during the summer months- can cause damage to the leather and your coat may start losing hair because of this. So, make sure you store your coat in a relatively cool place inside your house. Having said that, make sure that place is also not too moist, otherwise there will be other dreadful consequences, like mould and other organisms, devouring your precious garment. An air-conditioned room is what keeps the air cool enough and at the same time, dry enough for your fur coat. If you use your basement for storage, a dehumidifier device, will take a lot of the moisture out of the air. You may even find a professional fur storage facility for this purpose, in your area.
Light is another thing to avoid touching your fur coat. Sunlight has a very unpleasant effect on hair colours, it makes the white colours dull, darker and yellowish, while on the other hand, it makes the dark brown and black colours, lighter and greyish. Don’t get me wrong here, there’s nothing better in the middle of the cold winter, than the occasional bright sunny day. Don’t miss the chance to go out for a walk, wearing your favourite fur coat. Just try to avoid direct sunlight, when you are not wearing it. For example, try not to leave it hanging right next to a sunny window. Or, when you take it off, fold it inside-out, so that the inner lining faces outside, while the hair are protected folded inside. Finally, keep in mind, that the sun is not the only light source around us. Leaving your coat under strong spotlights for long time, will have exactly the same undesirable effects.
Time, well yes, we cannot escape this one for sure. Time also leaves its mark on your fur coat. The hair is gradually pulled downwards and loses any spikey effect it had when you first bought your coat. The shining of the guard hair fades away and some of them become loose and fall out, especially while you are moving around in your coat. Also, the soft inner hair sticks together and appears less dense. The leather becomes harder and it feels like your fur coat is wearing you, and not the other way around.
Battling time is not an easy task. You need the help of an expert fur cleaning professional. Be careful, not everybody in the textile cleaning and dry-cleaning business has the knowledge to take care of your fur coat. Treating a fur coat like textile, can have the exact opposite results from what you desire.
Many will advertise that they can clean fur coats, but very few of them really know how to do it correctly. Maybe you should ask them questions on how they plan to treat your coat. What will the process be? Are they going to use a professional dry-cleaning machine specially designed for fur coats? Are they going to use a drum cleaning machine to soften the leather and get rid of any loose hair? Will they use high pressure dry steam machine, to redirect the hair? Are they going to use fur ironing -glazing cylinder to open the inner hair and restore the shining of the guard hair? If yes, then trust them and you will certainly get what you expected and even more. If they don’t know what you are talking about, then probably you will end up with a garment that looks worse, than before you took it to the cleaning store. So be prepared to ask questions.
Take proper care of your favourite fur garment and you can be confident, that you will enjoy it in perfect condition for many years to come.
A friendly advice: remember to wear it in all occasions and as much as you like. After all, nothing lasts forever.
Want to learn more? Watch this demonstration: