PAKT Fabric Guide – Fur Care 101

The sun is starting to come out and we look towards packing up our winter wardrobe and getting some much needed space back into our lives. One of the quintessentially classic items of winter wear is fur that exudes elegance, luxury and wealth.  Let’s be honest, a fur also does come with a hefty price tag and is definitely an investment. 

Furs are all about luxury, elegance, wealth and class…

Therefore care and maintenance of fur is KEY.  Actually that’s also true for your designer faux fur and of course leather.  Fur is especially tricky since you need to maintain the health of the actual fur but also the leather (or animal skin) underneath it.  

If you get caught in the rain, it is always best to shake the fur first and let it dry naturally.  Hang it up but definitely not next to a radiator!  But otherwise humidity and chronic damp needs to be avoided as much as possible as it will not only cause the fur to come away from the leather underneath but damage the leather itself.  

Mould eats away at a fur coat surprisingly quickly and you will be left unfortunately with remnants of what was once a beautiful lush fur. 

So what to do? First thing, a dry cleaner cannot always help you (unless they specialise in fur). You need to go to a fur specialist and here in HK, there are very few fur specialists.  Fortunately, we at PAKT work closely with one who works miracles with furs. 

One of our clients had her fur coat disintegrated due to humidity with clumps of fur falling off the coat. Our furrier resurrected what was seemingly a hopeless case of damp and mould into a restored fur vest. 

Your specialist should be able to give you a condition report which points out any areas of concern and suggest what further steps need to be taken.  There are obviously care products which are used to help maintain your furs in cases of damp or humidity affected furs.  Traditional methods usually contain powders such as corn starch, walnut shells or even corn cobs! 

TLC is your fur coat’s best friend, if maintenance is done on a yearly basis i.e. get that professional condition report, either specialist cleaning so that all minute dirt or potential abrasive particles are removed or specialist repairs of any small tears or faults, and then stored in a 24/7 air conditioned and humidity controlled, dust and odour free environment, your fur will last and remain beautiful.  It is like an annual doctor’s check up but for your fur. 

Annual Check-ups keep your furs looking beautiful

So now we have covered the biggest problem of fur care: damp and high humidity.  We also need to be careful of the opposite which is storing in an overly dry environment.  If a fur has been stored in very dry conditions (a word of warning here cedar wood wardrobes or cedar wood balls may keep away mites but will actually suck out all moisture from your furs), the leather will become dry and brittle.  Also cleaning too often or unnecessarily is drying for a fur. 

So here we come to the most important part – storage when the weather turns warm and you don’t need your fur.  In fact for storage there are specific ideal conditions for storage for furs. 

Furs have to be kept in “cold storage” as much as possible. NOT room temperature. Why? Because as the temperature decreases, molecules slow down. With such “biological” materials such as fur,  the less molecular activity, the slower the biodegradation process.

However, this does not mean freezing it, if it is too cold, materials such as furs can expand and tear or become brittle and crack. The right cold storage means that fur and leather materials remain supple and pliable due to the natural oils being maintained and a slower evaporation rate. Once the oils are depleted from fur or leather it can tear as easily as tissue paper. 

So what are the ideal conditions for storage?  Professional 24/7 storage facilities are who you should turn to.  However, for your peace of mind, be sure you can visit the facilities to make sure it has the optimal conditions for fur storage. 

Here is a quick list of what you should look for (as recommended by the Fur Care Organisation):

  • Between 2°c – 10°c is optimal, but any temperature under 13°c is worthwhile.
  • Humidity controlled around 55%
  • Vermin and insect proof
  • Secure premises
  • No U.V. light exposure
  • Ample space for each garment
  • Easily accessible (you may want your garment for an event or suddenly cold weather)

The key points that you have to remember are: regular maintenance and professional storage such as what we offer at PAKT.  These points will help you maintain that beautiful fur for many years to come.  Feel free to come and visit us and check out our fur storage.