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Things to know when working with fur

Fur storage by professionnal experts ? Annual cleaning ? Do you need to do that all ? This services cost money, so I introduce the "how" you can limit the fur degradation process by yourself.

In the next projects, I will work with fur, and do not want to explain each time how to do what.

Cutting fur

Avoid scissors (you are highly likely to cut the hairs). If you need them, use your finger to move the hairs out of the cutting line.

With a cutter, on the back. Be slow, gently move the cutter.

Avoid cutting on a board, otherwise you will cut the hairs.

Trace with a ruler the line to follow (or use a pattern).


Pelts together

Edge against edges. Fur against fur. Same hair direction.

It doesn’t matter if it is natural or synthetic fur.

The second point is stronger. About the distance between two stitches, it depends on your time, on the visibility, on how the material will be used. Try to be close from the edge, leather is stronger than fabric so there is very few risks.

Pelts to fabric.

You need to use the most simple stitch but well spaced (point de bati). You need to be careful with the fur side to mask the thread.

Taking care of fur.

The bibliography about fur is disappearing, because of all the lobbies against natural fur.


About durability, some people estimate it to 10 years while others to 40, and up to 60.

There is no information about how lifetime is estimated. Fashion trends, brightness, color, pelts cracking, or other factors ? It seems to be related to degradation, which is a mix between insect and drying.


Compared to synthetic fur, it is very difficult to know the truth. Website are or for natural fur or against it, so results are biased.

Additionally, people from the both side are “eco oriented”. So people for synthetic fur would say that the carbon footprint is lower (even if synthetic fur is made of petroleum), while people for fur would say it is eco-friendly as it compostable. So with all that stuff, you don’t know how durable is your coat.

Sagafur: degradation test on soil.

Degradation test for 1 year

4 weeks under special condition

Preservation and Humidity

Water is the worst nemesis.

If soaked and not dried quickly, the pelt will rot.

If soaked and not dried correctly, the pelt will change of shape, and is likely to shrink.

The recommended option is to store the furs (coat) in an area with 45-55 % of humidity, and between 5-10 degrees.

If too dry, the pelt would crack.

The idea under low temperature is to decrease the degrading process. However, I have no resources that prove how fast a fur degrade.

Alcohol would dry the pelt, so avoid adding perfume.

Adding oil in contrast will soften the pelt. It is used during the tanning process, so it might be okay to oil it on the leather side.

Neatfoot oil is often used for traditional leather projects, so it might be okay. There is no literature on that, so take it as an advice, not as a ground truth.

Dry rot is also a problem for leather object (shoes, bag, …). Here, the remedy is to periodically use cleaning lotion, to store them far from heat, with mid level of humidity, as for fur.


Insect are likely to eat the fur. To avoid them, there are multiple options:

  • Store the coat with chemical moth repellent. Some are made of naphthalene, where some people are allergic to.
  • Store the coat with natural moth repellent ones (lavender for instance)
  • Preservation at low temperature (moth doesn’t develop when it is too cold. Storing room are around 10°C)

There are some special storing room that follow heat and cold cycles. Heat cycles allows the eggs to develop into larvae while cold allows to kill them (but not to kill the eggs). It allows to naturally removes those insects.

Some storing room use fumigants to get rid of it.

Hair loss

I saw many stuff which advice to put the coat in a freezer during 4-10 hours. However, you need to manipulate very carefully the coat, as the skin would be very fragile at this temperature until the temperature rise again.

I am not sure about the mechanism used here, and if it damage the fur.


Like any other material, UV lighten the colors. So store in a dark room. Windows block most of the UV, but small x time = large.

Additionally, direct light is not recommended as it heat the coat unnecessarily. If heated, the pelt would dry and break prematurely.


It is not recommended to spray something on the fur to mask the odor.

One method is to store the coat with coffee ground to absorb the odors. It might mask the general odors (for instance, if you smell the smoke), but it might not be helpful for perspiration smells.

Cleaning Dust and Other Residues

Depending on the color, different methods are used. This operation is often performed by professionals, as they have drums to put the coat. Hot sand is used, or wood particles.

There is an other method (or complementary) which makes the hairs electrostatic so it lets the dust particules to go out.

At home, I don’t know. There are many brands that advertise on how to care about coats to sell their products, but there is no proven results. Nothing about color alteration, durability, skin impact, etc. I would recommend not to follow blindly the commercial advices.

To remove stains, some propose to use talk for light pelts, but it may dry the pelt (talk is used for climbing, such as it absorbs sweat so you can climb without slipping). So, I am not sure about the truthfulness of this one. In my opinion, it might help to remove the strain, but it may affect on the long term the coat.

Other propose to use shampoo for animals. Animals do not need to take bath, and washing them is not a good idea at all. Like for babies, it is preferable to use shampoo which do not harm the skin. But for fur pelt, water is a nemesy, so maybe for synthetic fur, but I do not recommend it for natural fur.

Brushing the Hairs.

No ground truth there.

Brushing helps to remove dirt particles.

What I see is that it is preferable to use soft brush, made of natural hairs, like boar bristle brush or cashmere brush. There might be something about static electricity where plastic brushes are bad.

For fox furs, brushing might flatten the hairs (what you don’t want, you would like the buffing effect like lions hairs). Gently shake the coat to get the hair separated from each others.


To make the fur glow, TODO

Fur Technics

A great online book about fur and the methods is here:

Advanced fur craftsmanship, Raphael, Samuel.Raphael, Samuel, New York,Fur Craftsmanship Publishers (1948)


A blog about fur and technics.

Fur cleaning

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