Store your fur garments in cold storage when you are done wearing it for the season or not using it. This is one of the most important steps you can take in preserving your furs. There are no rules or set dates in regard to when furs should be stored. Whenever it is warm enough outside to be done wearing a fur coat for the season is when you should put it in storage. By the same token, when it is cold enough to justify wearing a fur (depending on your furs individual level of warmth) bring it home from storage. (Usually when it is cold enough to wear a winter jacket, it is time to put on your mink coat). The more time a fur is in cold storage, the longer it will last. Professional Cold Storage facilities should have the following characteristics:
- 34-45° Fahrenheit is optimal, but any temperature under 55° is worthwhile.
- Humidity controlled between 45 and 55%
- Vermin and insect proof
- Theft protection (vault architecture, alarms, guards or other methods)
- Minimal U.V. light exposure
- Ample space for each garment
- Easily accessible (you may want your garment for an event or suddenly cold weather)
- If your furriers storage facility is on site, it is always a good idea to ask them to see where your fur garments will be stored.
WHY “COLD” STORAGE?… A SCIENTIFIC EXPLANATION
The more time a fur coat spends in cold storage, the better. Please note the word “COLD”. Storing a fur at room temperature negates the most important benefit of fur storage. If a storage facility is kept at room temperature or warmer, then you should consider looking for another facility that meets the temperature and humidity standards.
This is why… as temperature decreases (gets colder) molecules slow down. In biological materials, the less molecular activity, the slower the biodegradation process. One may ask “Why not just freeze it?” You may think that would suspend your fur in time, and this is true. But, if we think back to 5th Grade science class, we remember that when water freezes, it expands. When freezing and thawing is repeated season after season the expansion and contraction stresses, stretches and tears the material on a molecular level and actually speeds up deterioration. The same concept is demonstrated on city streets every spring thaw when pot holes appear. Also, frozen materials become brittle, risking cracking and breakage
This same principle applies to the natural oils in fur and leather materials that keep them soft and pliable. Colder temperatures slow down the evaporation of these necessary oils in your fur garments. Once the oils are depleted from fur or leather it can tear as easily as tissue paper.
With the understanding that colder temperatures protect fur and leather materials against deterioration and drying (as long as there is no risk of freezing), the experts advise that any temperature under 55°F is worthwhile and temperatures of less than 45°F are considered especially valuable to the preservation of fur and leather materials, with effectiveness increasing as temperatures decrease.
Note: It is always a good idea to ask your furrier to see their storage vaults, assuming they are on-site (see below “About Storage Facility Locations). Remember, you are the customer giving them your hard-earned money, you have every right to ask and they should be pleased to oblige you.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMIDITY CONTROL
Humidity level is important when a fur will be hanging in one place for a significant amount of time. If the humidity is too low (dry air) the natural oils in the pelts will evaporate more rapidly causing the garment to become dry and deteriorate. If the humidity is too high (damp air) they pelts can rot at a fast rate.
ABOUT STORAGE FACILITY LOCATIONS
It is possible that your Authorized Furriers’ storage facility may be located off-site. True, “proper” storage facilities are very costly to construct. For this reason a furrier may build a centrally located facility or lease space at a true Cold Fur Storage facility. This is acceptable and you can be assured that your furs are being handled by experts that handle furs every day. Just keep in mind that you will have to arrange pick up of your fur garments in advance. Ask your Authorized Furrier for specific details about their procedures and lead-time.