Mistakes to Avoid When Washing Natural & Faux Fur

by Yvette in Comment — Updated March 29, 2024

Let’s talk about keeping our fur – the real deal and the faux kind – looking fabulous using the best way to clean fur.

With proper care, we can wear that luxurious real fur coat, even an inherited one, that makes us feel like Hollywood royalty. Or we can preserve that coziness that our faux fur provides, keeping us warm on chilly evenings.

Sadly, it’s all too easy to make mistakes that can lead to permanent damage. But I’m here to share my secrets—the do’s and don’ts—to ensure my fur items stay in tip-top shape.

We’re talking about why tossing them in the washing machine with detergents is a big no-no. Or how cool or cold water can be your best friend, and why a trip to the dry cleaner might save your vintage fur coat.  If you’re looking for the best coats, vests & jackets on the web, we’ve got you covered!

Plus, we’ll cover some at-home care tips. These pointers include using a clean cloth, protecting those natural oils, and keeping our furs from direct sunlight.

At the end of this article, you’ll be more confident about using and buying furs. That’s because you’ll gain more insights on how to keep them looking luxurious for years to come. And that’s while avoiding those common mishaps that can ruin their look and feel.

Let’s get into it!

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Key Takeaway

  • Washing machines and hot water can damage real and faux fur. Handwashing delicately with cool water is better, but it is still risky if not done properly.
  • Air drying real and faux fur away from heat and sunlight is crucial to maintain softness and prevent fading. Don’t store damp fur.
  • Storing fur improperly allows stains to set in, humidity to damage fur, and moths to feast. Ensure fur is completely clean before storage and store somewhere cool and dry.
  • Occasionally trusting fur to professional cleaners, especially for large/delicate items, tackles set-in stains and restores fur’s luster. They have specialized tools.

Washing Machine Mistakes

Ever thought about tossing your fur into the washing machine for a quick clean? Well, think again. The washing machine is not your fur’s friend.

  • Soaking Fur in Hot Water: Putting your faux or vintage furs in hot water in the washing machine can lead to disaster. Hot water can shrink or damage the fur, leaving it sad and worn out.
  • Relying on the Machine Motion: The rough-and-tumble action inside the washing machine is no fun for your fur. The tumbling and twisting can cause both real and fake fur to mat and feel together, creating a permanent bad hair day.
  • Using Regular Detergent: Regular detergents are too harsh on fur, stripping away natural or added oils that keep it soft and shiny. Without these oils, the fur becomes dry and brittle, losing its luster.
  • Air Drying With Heat: Avoid throwing fur into a heated dryer, as heat can cause it to mat and lose its fluffiness. Instead, air dry your fur gently, away from direct sunlight and heat sources, to maintain its softness and appeal.
  • Ultimately, the washing machine is meant for regular clothes, not furs. Sometimes, the old-fashioned methods, like using a soft-bristled brush and patience, are still the best for keeping your fur in top shape.

Handwashing Blunders

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We adore our natural fur coats and cozy sheepskin rugs, but handwashing them isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are a few tricky mistakes that can ruin the beauty of your fur.

Let’s explore how to avoid turning wash day into a sad story.

  • Excess Moisture Imprints Crease: After giving your fur a gentle bath, too much water can weigh it down. This can leave behind unwanted creases. To prevent this, gently press the excess water with a dry cloth, avoiding heavy-handed moves.
  • Minerals in Tap Water Leave Residue: Tap water contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can stick to your fur, leaving a dull residue. To avoid this, use filtered or distilled water for rinsing. This keeps your fur clean without the unwanted mineral buildup, similar to how hard water clouds up a clear glass.
  • Ground-in Dirt Must be Brushed Out First: Diving straight into washing without prepping your fur is also a bad idea. It’s like walking into a storm without an umbrella. Ground-in dirt and loose dirt need a polite but firm goodbye with a soft-bristled brush before water touches the fur. This step is like clearing the path before a parade, making everything that follows much smoother.
  • Rubbing Against the Nap Distorts the Fur: Rubbing your fur the wrong way is also a don’t in our care. Washing or drying against the nap can make the fur look like it just got out of bed, not in a good way. Always move with the grain, gently coaxing the fur back to its glamorous self with a clean, dry cloth or brush. This keeps it looking sleek, not sleepy.

Handwashing may seem harmless, but improper technique can be disastrous for fur. With a little care and the right approach, you can keep your fur looking fabulous for any occasion.

Drying Errors

Drying our faux fur and real fur garments is also crucial in fur care, but it’s also tricky. Even if we’ve mastered the gentle art of washing these treasures, drying them incorrectly can spell disaster.

The stakes are high, from turning them into a moldy mess to causing colors to fade. So, here’s my drying do’s and don’ts, ensuring our furry friends emerge fluffy and fabulous, not flustered and faded.

  • Sunlight Bleaches and Dries Out Fur: While it might seem tempting to let your fur soak up the sun, too much sunlight can bleach and dry out the fur, stripping away its natural oils and vibrant colors. Think of it like leaving a colorful towel in the sun for too long – it fades and feels rough. Instead, dry fur in a cool, shady spot with gentle airflow.
  • Storing Damp Allows Mold and Mildew: Packing away damp fur invites mold and mildew to thrive, turning your precious fur into their new home. Make sure your fur is completely dry before storing it to prevent musty smells and mold growth. Allow air circulation to keep mold spores at bay.
  • Plastic Bags Trap Moisture and Heat: While wrapping fur in plastic bags might seem protective, it actually creates a steamy environment that fur dislikes. Instead, use a cotton bag or hang the fur freely in a cool, dry place to allow proper air circulation.
  • Moth Balls Are Toxic, and the Fumes Damage Fur: Using moth balls may seem like a good idea for protecting fur, but the chemicals in them are toxic and emit harmful fumes. Opt for professional cleaning services occasionally to maintain your fur’s quality without exposing it to harmful chemicals.

Storage Mistakes

Storing vintage pieces and luxurious fur requires more than a simple hang-up or fold-away approach.

A few storage slip-ups can turn these beauties into a sad tale. Here’s what I always keep in mind when storing my fur pieces:

Soil and Stains Set Over Time When Left Uncleaned: Ignoring spills or stains on your prized fur can lead to permanent marks. Like forgetting a stain on your favorite tee, neglecting fur stains allows them to settle in and become a part of the fabric.

The first storage step is ensuring your fur is clean. A trip to the dry cleaner or a gentle spot-clean at home can prevent trouble later.

Improper Folding or Hanging Stretches Fur Permanently: Incorrect hanging or folding of fur can cause permanent stretching. Furs prefer to be hung in a cool, dry place, draped in a garment bag for breathability.

Natural fibers like rabbit fur pelts need space, so avoid cramming them in with other garments. If folding is necessary, do so for short-term situations, laying the fur flat to prevent unwanted stretching.

Humidity Causes Shedding, Clumping, and Pilling: Humidity is fur’s not-so-secret enemy. Storing fur in a damp room can lead to shedding, clumping, and pilling, causing irreversible damage.

The best storage place for fur is somewhere dry with proper air circulation. This ensures your fur maintains its fabulous appearance, just like the day you fell in love with it.

Professional Cleaning

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Sometimes, as I’ve mentioned above, professional cleaning is the answer to our fur care. I usually avail of that for my lavish white faux fur rugs.

A helping hand from the pros who wield dry cleaning tools and have years of experience under their belts.

Some Rugs are Too Large for Home Care: Picture wrestling with a giant white faux fur rug in your bathtub or laundry room – a potential recipe for disaster.

Certain pieces are just too grand for a DIY approach, requiring the spacious care, special attention, and gentle touch that only professional cleaners can provide. It’s not just about size; it’s about preserving soft edges and maintaining a lush appearance.

Set-in Stains May Need Chemical Removal: When an accidental spill becomes a stubborn, set-in stain, home remedies may fall short. This is where the magic of professional dry cleaning shines.

With a combination of special chemicals and techniques, experts can lift away pesky stains without compromising the delicate fibers of your fur.

Vintage Fur Often Needs Special Restoration: Vintage fur is not just clothing; it’s a piece of history with a responsibility to maintain its great style. Over time, these pieces may require more than just cleaning; they may need restoration to recapture their former glory.

Professionals possess the tools and knowledge to rejuvenate vintage treasures, reinforcing weak spots and revitalizing the fur’s natural luster.

Severe Damage Requires Expert Intervention:  Despite regular maintenance efforts, fur may encounter severe damage that seems irreversible.

Professional cleaners can work wonders in such cases, assessing the damage, determining the best course of action, and often performing magic to restore fur to its former glory. Trusting the experts ensures our beloved fur items live on for another season.

To keep our fur fabulous, trusting professionals becomes a crucial step. Whether using a clean, damp cloth for a small section or avoiding excessive liquid use, the goal is to preserve the glamour of our cherished fur.

Cleaning Instructions & Tips

Faux Fur Crocs

Handwash faux fur Crocs using a small amount of mild detergent diluted in cool water. Gently scrub with a soft brush, then rinse thoroughly. Allow to fully air dry out of direct sunlight before wearing or storing.

Faux Fur Rugs

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Regularly vacuum faux fur rugs on a low setting to remove loose dirt. For deeper cleaning, mix a gentle laundry detergent with cold water in a spray bottle. Spritz small sections of the rug and blot gently with a clean white towel. Allow the rug to fully air dry before walking on it.

Faux Fur Uggs

Brush uggs with a suede brush before wiping down with a damp cloth to lift surface dirt. For set-in stains, dilute laundry detergent or Ugg cleaning solution in cold water. Dampen a cloth and gently blot stained areas. Stuff with paper to retain shape as they fully air dry.

Faux Fur Coats

Hand wash faux fur coats in cold water using a mild laundry detergent or specialty fur shampoo. Rinse thoroughly. Blot excess water with towels, then let the coat lie flat while air drying to prevent matting. Fluff the fur occasionally as it dries.

Faux Fur Slippers

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Use a lint roller on faux fur slippers to remove surface debris. For deeper cleaning, wipe with a soft, damp cloth and mild soap, then allow it to air dry fully. Use corn starch to fluff and revive flattened fur when necessary.

Faux Fur Pillows

Spot clean faux fur pillows as needed with a cloth dipped in cold water and gentle laundry detergent. Blot gently and rinse the suds away thoroughly with clean water. Allow the pillows to air dry completely before recovering or using them.

Faux Fur Shoes

Use a suede brush to lift dirt from faux fur shoes. For visible stains, dilute laundry detergent in cold water and gently blot the spot with a damp soft cloth. Allow shoes to fully air dry in their shape before wearing.

Alpaca Faux Fur Sweater

Carefully brush lint and surface debris from an alpaca faux fur sweater with a lint brush or garment comb. Hand wash in cold water with specialty wool wash. Rinse thoroughly and reshape while drying flat.

Faux Fur Chairs

Vacuum faux fur chairs regularly using a brush attachment. Spot clean gently with a soft cloth dipped in cold water and mild detergent. Blot the area and immediately rinse away all soap residue thoroughly. Allow fabric to air dry before using chairs.

Faux Fur Blankets

Shake out and air faux fur blankets frequently to prevent compacted fur. For deep cleaning, wash your hands with cold water and gentle laundry soap. Rinse thoroughly. Reshape blanket edges while air drying then fluff fur once fully dry.

Faux Fur Stuffed Animals

Surface clean faux fur stuffed animals using a lint roller or brush to lift debris and dust. Spot hand wash with a soft, damp cloth if necessary, using very mild baby shampoo diluted in cool water. Blot the area gently and air dry thoroughly before giving it back to a child.

Rabbit Fur

Use a specialized fur cleaning solution made specifically for rabbit fur. Apply to small sections at a time using a soft, clean cloth. Lightly rinse the solution out then blot excess moisture with a towel. Allow rabbit fur coats or accessories to fully air dry before storing or wearing.

Fox Fur

Utilize professional fur cleaning for fox fur pieces. The intricate grooming requires specialized tools and knowledge. Keep fox furs stored in a cool, dark place during warmer months or during long periods between wear. Ensure fox fur remains well-ventilated in storage to prevent heat damage.


Keeping our fur and faux fur in great shape is easy if we follow the tips above. From washing to storing, these steps help maintain their pristine appearance.

Remember to read the care tags on your items for the best cleaning advice. And if you’re unsure, seek help from experienced furriers and cleaners who know how to keep fur looking fabulous.

With a little care and professional guidance, we can ensure our fur stays cozy and stylish season after season.

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