Fur, Leather & Cashmere Care
How to Clean, Care for & Store Fur
Natural fur can offer decades worth of beauty and warmth alike when cared for correctly. In order to ensure that your fur garment lasts for years and years to come, it’s important to first understand the fundamental do’s and don’ts of preserving your piece. We’ve created the comprehensive guideline below to help our lovely customers do exactly that – plus provide a reference to answer any questions or concerns you may encounter regarding the maintenance, laundering or storage of leather and cashmere items.
Cleaning & Drying Fur:
· If your fur becomes wet from a light rain or snow, try and remove as much water as possible by gently shaking it out. Then, hang it up to dry in a well-ventilated room.
· Keep the garment away from high heat sources such as radiators and clothes dryers, and never use direct heat, including a blow dryer, on fur. This can result in cracks to the hide or leather as too much heat will see it become dry and stiff.
· Once the fur is dry, shake it gently once more to fluff it out. Do not use a comb or brush.
· If the fur has been completely drenched with water, the best course of action is to contact a fur cleaning specialist – not a regular dry cleaner – as soon as possible. This is also what you should do if the fur has somehow become noticeably dirty. Do not attempt to launder your garment at home.
· Once a year, even if you don’t wear it very often, you should take your fur to be professionally cleaned. Natural fur can gather dust, oils and odors, and an annual deep-clean is one of most important things you can do to keep it looking its best – just like taking care of any other investment!
· A fur cleaning specialist will also mend any early tears that you may not have noticed, as well as tighten closures, buttons, and linings. All of this will enhance the overall longevity and appearance of your piece.
· Respect the condition of your fur by opting not to attach a brooch, or any jewelry, to the garment. Doing so can result in matting. It is also best to avoid consistently wearing a shoulder bag over your fur because this may eventually leave a bald spot.
· Also avoid using hair spray or perfumes while wearing your fur. Most of these products contain alcohol which will dry out the hide, and any oils present can penetrate the fur and ultimately become rancid – causing odors that are nearly impossible to remove. Wearing a scarf around your neck can help prevent body oils and makeup from soiling your garment, as well.
· If you will be sitting down for a prolonged period of time, be sure to remove your fur to avoid crushing it and causing premature wear. In case you can’t find a suitable place to hang it, simply drape it over your lap for the time being.
· Under no circumstances should you treat your fur with insecticides or mothballs. Leave any concerns about protection to a specialist.
· Always hang furs on broad-shouldered, sturdy and padded clothes hangers to keep the shoulders from losing their shape. Also, be sure to allow them plenty of space in your closet. (Never try to squeeze them into a small corner.)
· You should also never store your fur in a plastic garment bag – or any bag that doesn’t breathe – as this will cause it to dry out and the hide will eventually crack. Instead, try using a cloth bag.
· Avoid placing fur in direct sunlight or a consistently brightly-lit room because the exposure could result in it oxidizing and changing color.
· During the summer months, we advise that you seriously consider placing your garment in professional storage with a reputable furrier who offers temperature and humidity-controlled vaults. It’s relatively inexpensive and guaranteed to protect your fur from damage.
· If you would rather store your garment at home during the off-season, be sure to never keep it in a cedar wardrobe or chest as the oils can be harmful and the odor is very difficult to remove. Instead, keep it in the coolest, darkest closet possible.
How to Clean, Care for & Store Leather
Leather can be intimidating to care for, but like fur, it is capable of lasting for many, many years if given the proper maintenance and attention. Check out our tips for cleaning, preserving, and storing your beloved leather garments below.
Cleaning & Drying Leather:
· Always read your garment’s tag for specific cleaning instructions. There are many different types of leather, and not all can be identified by appearance alone. Different kinds will require varying methods of care.
· If the leather has already been treated for protection, most loose dirt can be wiped away with a clean, damp cloth. Removing tougher stains calls for special treatment.
· If the lining of a leather jacket has been soiled, we recommend that you take it to a professional leather cleaner. While it is possible to hand wash aniline leather, it’s usually a safer bet to just let an expert handle it. Be sure to check the credentials of your dry cleaner as not all are qualified in this area.
· If you want to spot-clean a leather item at home, this is possible – but not in every case. In order to be sure, you should first choose a mild soap, preferably one that was designed for the variety of leather you’re cleaning. Next, test the soap on a hidden spot. If the color begins to bleed or fade, stop immediately and consult a pro.
· Once you’ve done a spot test, gently rub the cleanser onto the leather with a damp cloth and let sit for several seconds. Never saturate the leather with water or rub vigorously to avoid color transfer. Then, wipe thoroughly clean and let the leather air dry away from any direct heat. Finally, use a leather conditioner to moisturize the area.
· If your leather garment somehow becomes wet, hang it evenly on a hanger to air dry at room temperature. Remove any objects from the pockets to avoid stretching and stuff the item with some sort of fabric so it maintains its shape. Once dry, apply conditioner.
· Clean suede with a brush specifically designed to be used on the material, or a dry sponge to remove light dirt and grime. Do not use this method on non-suede leather.
· Making sure that your leather garment has been properly treated with a protective formula is key to keeping it looking its best. Leather protector products come as a liquid or spray-on and will help to repel water and avoid staining. The formula should be applied every few weeks or months, depending on instructions.
· Grease or wax-based products are not recommended for jackets because they may affect the garment’s color, longevity, shine and smell.
· Even if correctly treated, however, the leather will not be waterproof and should never be immersed in water.
· If your garment has been hanging untouched in the closet for a prolonged period of time, gently dust it off with a clean cotton or nubuck cloth.
· Never carry heavy items in the pockets of leather pants or a jacket because this will result in stretching.
· Like with fur, the alcohol from hairspray and perfume can dry out and stain leather. If you use these products, allow them to dry completely before wearing your garment.
· Never attach jewelry, pins, or adhesive labels to leather as this can damage the finish, and have a professional add any patches or embroidery to the piece. An incorrectly placed needle could result in a hole that’s next to impossible to repair.
· Applying leather conditioner on occasion can help quite a bit to maintain your garment’s condition and prevent dryness and cracking. However, doing this too often can affect color and longevity, so only do it if the leather feels stiff. Be sure that the product is suited to your variety of leather, and avoid those that contain waxes, silicones, mineral oil or petroleum.
· Always use a wide, sturdy, and preferably padded hanger to store a leather jacket – no wire hangers! This will help support the garment’s weight and maintain its shape.
· Be sure to keep the garment in a cool, dry place with plenty of space surrounding it. Avoid any closets that are prone to moisture, such as those near a bathroom.
· Never store leather in a plastic bag for the same reason you shouldn’t do so with fur – there’s no air circulation, and any moisture that gathers may become mildew. Instead, use a cloth bag or old cotton sheet.
· Don’t keep leather near direct sunlight, as this will result in fading and discoloration. Heat should also be avoided to prevent stiffness and, ultimately, cracks.
· If you are planning to store your garment for a long period of time, have it professionally cleaned first to take care of any bacteria or odors that may cause permanent damage if left alone for too long.
How to Clean, Care for & Store Cashmere
Few things feel as luxurious as cashmere, but it can be a bit difficult, and even confusing, to care for. Most labels will tell you that your cashmere garment is “dry clean only”, but that isn’t necessarily true unless you’re dealing with a tough stain. In fact, hand washing will actually make your piece even softer over time. Learn everything there is to know below.
Cleaning & Drying Cashmere:
· If you’ve decided to hand wash your garment, be sure to use baby shampoo or a very mild detergent such as Woolite. If your washing machine has a hand wash cycle then you can use that, but if not, a clean sink or Tupperware bin will do just fine. In a pinch, you can also place your cashmere inside a pillowcase and put it on a cold wash.
· Wash your cashmere in cold water – lukewarm at the most. Any additional heat will result in shrinkage.
· Be sure that the soap is evenly distributed throughout the water in your sink or bin before you place your garment inside. Press and gently massage the soapy water through your cashmere, being very careful not to wring, stretch, twist or rub.
· Use caution if you’re hand washing a large piece as it will become very heavy once saturated with water.
· When you’re finished washing, drain the sink and rinse your garment with the same temperature of water that you washed it with, as any sudden change can cause the cashmere to shrink.
· Do not hold or hang up a piece of wet cashmere by the shoulders – this will stretch the fabric and cause dimpling. Sweaters and cardigans should be held in a lump while wet, fully contained within your hands.
· Gently squeeze as much water as you can out of the garment with your hands, but never wring or twist. Then, roll it up into a towel and press out more excess water. Finally, lay it out onto a fresh towel, making sure to arrange the cashmere into its original shape. Let it air dry without ever applying direct heat.
· Treat any stains IMMEDIATELY with cold water and an appropriate stain remover.
· Do not spray perfume directly onto cashmere and allow it to dry on your skin before putting the garment on. Otherwise, perfume can cause stains and even attract moths.
· To help preserve lighter pieces such as sweaters, do not wear them more than once within four or five days.
· Wait for deodorant to dry before putting on your garment, as it can be very difficult to remove from cashmere.
· Carefully consider what kind of jewelry or accessories you’re wearing. Purses with metal embellishments and some jewelry can result in pilling, snags, and holes.
· Use a fine-tooth comb or sweater shaver to remove any pilling but be very cautious not to press too hard and make a hole.
· The best method for de-creasing cashmere is with a handheld steamer.
· Moths are attracted to natural fibers, particularly if they are dirty or stained, so always be sure to clean your cashmere garments before storing them and make sure they are completely dry, as well.
· If you don’t have a steamer and want to protect against creases, fold sweaters and cardigans around a piece of acid-free tissue paper.
· Do not keep cashmere inside plastic bags. Use a breathable fabric like cotton instead that will still prevent pests from getting in.
· Never hang a lightweight cashmere garment in order to preserve the shape.
· Always store cashmere in a cool, dry place away from any heat sources or direct sunlight to maintain color and quality. Do not use a cardboard box as these are not pH neutral and the cashmere could react to any acidity or alkalinity.
· If you’re storing your garment on a shelf or in a drawer, consider lining it with anti-moth paper. In the case of a wardrobe, you could try cedar balls or similar scented products, or anti-moth paper strips for the inside of a garment bag. Be sure that none of your fur or leather items are within the same vicinity, however.