Furs Last Longer with Proper Care

By Harrop, Joanne Klimovich | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 8, 2013 | Go to article overview
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Furs Last Longer with Proper Care

Harrop, Joanne Klimovich, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

As spring approaches with warmer weather, fur coats need to go into storage.

"We are getting ready to send out letters to our customers about storage at the end of March," says Guy Herrmann, president of Carl W. Herrmann Furs, Downtown, and a board member of Fur Information Council of America.

"We have already cleaned more than 40 infested coats that were not stored in 2012."

Furs not properly taken care of can be destroyed by moth larvae. Signs include bare spots, usually at the hemline, unusual shedding and loose clumping of hair. In most cases, Herrmann says, he is able to repair the damage.

Don't let it get to that.

Find a professional who has a storage facility with the proper temperature and low humidity. Herrmann's vault ranges from 39 to 41 degrees.

"If you control the temperature, that helps to slow down the drying out of the hide," says Herrmann, who stores 7,000 garments. "If you take care of it, a fur will outlast how long you will like it."

The cost to store a coat is in the $50-per-year range. Accessories are less. Most furriers store furs locally so customers have in-and-out privileges.

A fur needs proper air circulation to looks its best, says Suzanne Mauro, a stylist accredited by the Association of Image Consultants International and producer of "Style Everyday with Suz" on PCTV Pittsburgh. Always use a broad, nonwire coat hanger, she says. And avoid using air fresheners or mothballs, because they will dry out your fur and may cause damage.

Easter Monday seems to be the benchmark for when customers start thinking about fur storage, says Keith Rosenstock, owner of Canadian Fur Company, Downtown.

"They usually stop wearing furs after Easter," he says. "And this year, we have had more instances of moth larvae than in my 25 years here."

Rosenstock says high humidity causes dry rotting in garments. "You should store your coat," he says. "Look at the cost to replace it. People need to take care of things of value."

Moth larvae live in the best of homes. He says one customer skipped storing her seven coats last year and had moth damage that cost $1,742 in repairs.

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