In an ideal world, fur coats are stored with furriers. A good furrier will have a storage facility which is kept at 16 degrees and 40% humidity, which is the ideal conditions to preserve furs (this has been scientifically proven.) Fur coats should be stored professionally in the summer months, and can be kept at home in the winter, or can simply be taken out of storage when needed.
It is usually not worth it to professionally storing vintage furs, anything over 20 years old, as the fur will be nearing end of life. Walter, the master furrier at Papaps Furs, told me that beaver, fox, and water animals tend to stay in good condition for 20-25 years, and mink, persian lamb, marten, and any other cats (ex. lynx) can last about 30 years. Any pieces older than this should be worn and enjoyed, but know that they are, well, senior citizens in the fur world.
If you are really concerned with preserving your fur, particularly if it is expensive, it is worth it to store. Storage often costs around $100 a year, which is the price of about one coffee per week…well worth it for a great investment piece, isn’t it?
But if you are like me, and you have a collection of mostly vintage furs that aren’t valuable enough to store professionally, then here are some tips on how to store your furs at home.
Of course it is near to impossible to create conditions that ensure a constant 16 degree temperature and 40% humidity in your home closet, so here are a few tips that can help you in storing your furs so that they have a long lifespan.
- Walter says that it is more likely that the conditions in a home are too humid, rather than too dry. Avoid storing furs in a basement, where it can be quite moist. Too much humidity can result in a mouldy lining.
- Ideally you want to store the furs in a place where there is no direct sunlight, and not too much heat. Walter suggests a bedroom, providing you don’t keep yours too warm.
- The furs need to hang freely, don’t try to stuff too many in a closet. They need space! And use a proper hanger, hang the coat by its shoulders.
- If you don’t use them frequently, or during the summer months, cover your furs with cotton garment bags or cotton sheets, not plastic (the fur needs to breathe!)
If you decide to store your furs professionally, Walter suggest you ask the furrier them how they store. He says a few furriers will just stick the furs in a back room, and charge you, even though it is the same conditions you’d create at home. Make sure the storage is 16 degrees and 40% humidity. Ask to see the storage area, I’ve been into the one at Pappas several times, there shouldn’t be anything to hide if you just want to have a peek to see if the conditions are good.
Thanks to Walter from Pappas Furs, who kindly supplied me with this useful information.