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Dos and Don'ts of Caring for a Long Fur Jacket

Authentic furs are an amazing and worthwhile investment that will bring you a lot of value, almost regardless of how you use them. Whether you are in the habit of wearing authentic furs on a nearly daily rotation in the cold months, or only break out your finest for truly special occasions, furs will lend class and distinction like few other garments even have the ability to do.

Moreover, in modern design, furs can be utilized in a staggering variety of ways. At one time, furs were effectively the domain of those that could afford to flaunt extravagant wealth and lent an image of the same. Today, patchwork coats and dyed furs are limitlessly trendy and highly in vogue. You can add furs into your rotation without even having to make accommodations to the rest of your wardrobe.

That makes furs so much more accessible to so many different modern schools of design that were not prevalent in the past. If you’re thinking about getting yourself a real fur coat, or you have already done so, you still need to remember that furs, being a natural material, require special care and attention.

A long fur jacket might last your entire life and be an heirloom that you can hand down with pride, provided you care for it properly. We’ve compiled a list of some things you can and should do with your favorite fur coat - as well as others that you should avoid at all costs.

Do:

  • Hang your coat when not in use

One of the most important things you can do to ensure the longevity of your favorite long fur jacket is to keep it hung when you’re not actively wearing it. This will help to prevent stresses to the fur itself, to the lining of the jacket and to the pelt, all of which are liable to crack or tear if abused. It will also help the coat keep its shape; and, one more thing - never hang your coat on a wire hanger. Use a broad-shouldered hanger to fill out the shoulders of the coat and properly support it. Fur is heavy, and stress is the enemy; always hang it when you aren’t wearing it!

  • Protect your long fur jacket from the light

Obviously your coat is going to be exposed to the light at some point or other, since coats are supposed to be worn. The trick here is to limit the coat’s exposure to light. Light hastens the breakdown of natural materials, and what’s worse, light can bleach the colors of fur if the fur is exposed to them for too long.

The easiest way to protect your coat from overexposure to the light is to make sure you keep it stored somewhere dark when you aren’t wearing it. Don’t leave it on the back of a chair in the middle of the room; that’s bad etiquette and it’s a sure way to overexpose your coat to the light.

  • Turn your coat inside out in bad weather (if it is reversible)

Water damages leather and fur, which is not a secret and should not come as a big surprise. However, coats are meant to be worn and sometimes you’ll find yourself out in the weather when it’s coming down. However, if your favorite long fur jacket happens to be reversible, we have some good news. Just turn it inside out to protect the fur from the water; it’ll be just as warm, and many reversible coats are made with a weather-resistant liner.

  • Shake the coat to remove or dislodge excess water or debris

Now let’s say that you have exposed your coat to the water or the snow, or that there’s some dust or debris stuck in the fibers. If you can help it, you don’t want to brush the fur, especially if you don’t have a specialized fur brush. What you should do is gently shake the coat. This will enable dirt, dust and even drops of water to work themselves free from the fiber so they can fall away from the coat. It removes debris without mechanical stress - get in the habit of doing it.

  • Use a fur brush to brush the coat while it’s hanging to clean the furs

If and only if you have a fur brush, you should use it to clean the fur coat while the coat is hanging. Using a fur brush, which is specially designed so as not to damage the fur, start at the top of the coat and work your way to the bottom, using short, even strokes. This will help to coax any stubborn particulate matter from the fur, which will better preserve it in the long run.

  • Take your coat to an experienced furrier for service periodically

Whether or not you believe your coat needs it, get into the habit of taking your coat to an experienced furrier at least once per year. A fur cleaner will inspect your long fur jacket both inside and outside for damage, rips and tears. They will also meticulously remove dirt, moisture and oil from the coat, before realigning every hair on the coat. This deep clean will help restore a well-used fur coat to its prime and should be performed every year even if the coat visibly appears to be in great shape.

  • Utilize a fur storage vault or other storage services

A fur vault or other storage facility will keep your coat stored in optimal conditions year round, or just through the summer, if that’s your preference. Fur vaults are pest and insect free, protect your furs from the light, and control air flow, moisture and temperature as well. In short, they control the conditions perfectly for the health and longevity of fur; it’s hard to simulate the perfect environment in your home, utilize fur storage services if you can.

  • Wear your coat with pride and pave your own unique look!

Any list of fur “dos” would be incomplete without an admonition to wear your favorite fur coat with pride, even if it’s only for a few nights per year. Furs are warm, beautiful and classic, so make sure you put your favorite look to good use.

  • Upcycle an old coat, if you feel the need

Something that’s great about modern fashion is that fur can be endlessly upcycled provided it is well cared for. It may have once been the case that only certain styles of fur coats were received well, but nowadays patchwork and dyed coats are highly popular in some cycles. Take an old fur coat to a specialist if you feel its lackluster and you might be able to put the pelts to better use.

Don’ts:

  • Allow your coat to get wet

As stated, your coat is probably going to get wet from time to time, because it’s a coat. That’s just par for the course. However, you should protect your coat from excess moisture in every situation that you can, and if your coat does get wet, shake it out and dry it out right away. Also, don’t dally with maintenance; if your coat gets soaked, don’t try to deal with it on your own. Take it to a fur specialist to get it cleaned and dried properly.

  • Expose your coat to prolonged periods of humidity

Actual precipitation is not the only thing that can damage your coat, the underlying pelt, or the liner. High atmospheric humidity can and will also cause permanent damage to your coat if left unchecked. You should never store your coat for prolonged periods of time in high-humidity environments, regardless of the temperature. If you can’t provide the right conditions for your coat, take it to a fur vault or storage location.

  • Expose your coat to prolonged period of heat

Heat, like humidity, is the decided enemy of fur. High heat will damage the coat, the fur and the liner, will encourage the coat to absorb moisture, and will accelerate the breakdown of the coat. This is why fur coats need to be stored at cold temperatures for long periods of time, and it’s also the reason that some conscientious owners take their coats to a storage facility during the winter months.

  • Allow spots, stains or other damage to go unaddressed

Don’t let your fur coat get torn, ripped, stained, spotted or otherwise damaged and then ignore the issue. It’s not going to go away on its own and might become a permanent problem. Rips and tears won’t fix themselves and with time they will travel; with time, stains and spots may sink in and become permanent. Take your coat to a specialist right away to have these addressed.

  • Allow accessories to rub against the coat; this causes shedding or malting

Something else to remember is that mechanical stress causes fur to drop from the pelt. If you carry a purse or other accessories, don’t allow them to rub against your coat, if you can help it. This might shorten the lifespan of the coat or adversely affect its appearance.

  • Fold your coat

Never fold your coat, even if only for a few minutes. Folding your coat will alter the lay of the hairs and it will also stress the pelt and the liner. Doing so, over time, could cause the fur to fall out and it could also cause the liner or pelt to take a set or to crack from the stress.

  • Store your coat in a chest, regardless of the conditions

Storing your coat in a chest is even worse than folding it, because it introduces new and distinct issues. First, you’d be folding your coat, which is unacceptable even when you don’t intend to place it in a chest. Secondly, closing a coat in a chest will cut off air circulation to and around the coat, which can speed up the rate at which the natural components of the coat break down. It can also allow odors to sink it; don’t do it.

  • Store your coat in a plastic bag

Storing your coat in a plastic bag is, in some ways, even worse than storing your coat in a chest. It will shut off the coat from air circulation and what’s worse, plastic is impermeable to water. That means that any water that got into the bag with your coat will not be getting out. It’ll be sinking into the coat’s fibers, causing breakdown and decay. Never store your coat in a plastic bag; if it needs the protection of a garment bag, opt for the protection of a cloth bag.

  • Expose your coat to cosmetics, perfume or hair care products

We’re not trying to bar you from wearing makeup or perfume or using hair styling agents when you don your choice furs, but you do need to be very particular about how you do so. Exposing a coat to the oils, solvents and pigments in makeup and perfume can damage a fur coat. Even if they don’t damage it, they can sink in and permanently discolor it, which is something you want to avoid.

  • Sit on your coat for prolonged periods of time; or at all, if you can help it

Finally, one more good practice to adopt is to abstain from sitting on your coat, and we mean even while you’re wearing it. You can get away with this for a few minutes or a short while, but if you’re going to be off your feet, properly hang and store your coat meanwhile. Sitting on it, like allowing accessories to rub against it, will distress the fibers over time.

Questions? Call Us!

There you have some of the best tips and tricks for how you should care for your favorite long fur jacket, as well as those that you should avoid. If you have any questions about specific situations or care for a particular type of fur, feel free to get in touch with us at 1-800-TLC-FURS or at info@maximilian.com. We offer fur storage services here as well; let us know what you need and we’ll be quick with an answer!

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