How Do You Care for and Clean Your Shearling Coat
1. Read the Care Label:
The care label on your shearling coat is your first and most crucial source of information. It contains specific instructions from the manufacturer on how to clean and maintain your coat.
Care labels may include warnings against certain cleaning methods or chemicals that could harm the shearling material.
Pay attention to any temperature recommendations, as shearling can be sensitive to extreme heat or cold.
Follow the care label instructions carefully to avoid inadvertently damaging your shearling coat.
2. Brush Regularly:
Regular brushing is essential for keeping your shearling coat in good condition. Use a soft-bristle brush, like one made of horsehair, to gently remove dirt, dust, and debris.
Brush in the direction of the fur's natural lay to prevent pulling or damaging the fur fibers. For example, if the fur lies downward, brush downward.
Be gentle while brushing, especially around seams and edges, to avoid loosening the fur or causing it to mat.
Brushing not only keeps your shearling coat looking clean but also helps maintain the fur's fluffiness and natural appearance.
3. Spot Cleaning:
Small stains should be addressed promptly to prevent them from setting into the shearling.
Start by mixing a mild detergent (preferably one designed for delicate fabrics) with warm water to create a soapy solution. Ensure the water is lukewarm, not hot.
Dip a clean, white cloth or sponge into the soapy water and gently blot the stained area. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain or damage the fur.
Continue to blot until the stain lifts. You may need to repeat this process several times, using a fresh area of the cloth each time.
After removing the stain, use a separate cloth dampened with clean water to blot the area and remove any soap residue.
Allow the shearling to air dry naturally. Avoid exposing it to direct heat or sunlight, as this can cause the leather to stiffen or the fur to discolor.
4. Avoid Machine Washing:
Machine washing is a big no-no for shearling coats. The agitation and moisture in washing machines can damage both the fur and the leather, leading to irreparable harm.
Stick to hand cleaning methods, as mentioned above, for spot cleaning and maintaining the coat's cleanliness.
If your shearling coat becomes heavily soiled or requires deep cleaning, it's advisable to consult a professional cleaner with experience in handling shearling garments. They have the expertise and tools necessary to clean and care for it properly.
5. Air Out Odors:
Shearling coats can sometimes develop odors, especially if they've been exposed to dampness or sweat. To eliminate these odors, hang your shearling coat in a well-ventilated area.
Ideally, choose an outdoor location with good airflow. If that's not possible, use a room with open windows and doors to promote air circulation.
Allow the coat to hang for a few hours or longer, depending on the severity of the odors. Fresh air helps remove trapped odors and keeps your shearling smelling clean and pleasant.
6. Store Properly:
When your shearling leather coat is not in use, proper storage is essential for maintaining its quality.
Choose a cool, dry place for storage, away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can fade the color of the shearling and the leather.
Use a padded hanger to store the coat. This helps it maintain its shape and prevents hanger marks or creases in the leather.
Ensure that the coat has enough space around it to allow for air circulation. Avoid cramming it into a tightly packed closet, as this can lead to mold growth.
7. Protection from Moisture:
Shearling is highly sensitive to moisture and can become damaged if it gets wet. Avoid wearing your shearling coat in heavy rain or snow, if possible.
If your shearling coat does get wet, it's essential to let it air dry naturally. Do not use direct heat sources like heaters or hairdryers, as they can cause the leather to stiffen or shrink.
Hang the wet coat in a well-ventilated area and allow it to dry at room temperature. Stuffing it with newspaper can help absorb excess moisture and maintain its shape during the drying process.
8. Use a Shearling-Specific Cleaner:
Invest in a high-quality shearling cleaner or conditioner that is recommended by the manufacturer or a trusted source.
Shearling-specific cleaners are formulated to clean and condition the fur and leather without causing damage or discoloration.
Apply the cleaner sparingly, following the product's instructions carefully. Typically, you'll apply it with a soft cloth or sponge, working it into the shearling in a gentle, circular motion.
After applying the cleaner, allow the sheepskin coat to air dry completely before wearing or storing it. This step helps ensure that the conditioner penetrates the fibers and leather, keeping them soft and supple.
9. Professional Cleaning:
Professional cleaning is recommended for deep cleaning or handling tough stains on your shearling coat. Experienced cleaners have the expertise and equipment necessary to clean shearling garments properly.
When to Seek Professional Cleaning:
Deep stains or extensive soiling that cannot be removed with spot cleaning.
If your shearling coat has absorbed odors that you cannot eliminate with air-drying.
As a general rule, consider professional cleaning every few years or as needed, depending on how frequently you wear the coat and its exposure to various elements.
Choose a reputable cleaner with experience in handling shearling garments. It's essential to communicate any specific concerns or stains you want them to address.
Before sending your coat for professional cleaning, inspect it thoroughly, and document any existing issues, such as loose seams or worn areas. This will help you identify any potential damage caused during cleaning.
10. Long-Term Storage:
Proper long-term storage is crucial for preserving the quality and appearance of your shearling coat, especially during the off-season or when it won't be worn for an extended period.
Consider the following steps for long-term storage:
Clean the coat thoroughly before storing it, following the earlier cleaning guidelines.
Ensure the coat is completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth during storage.
Use a breathable garment bag or a cotton dust cover to protect the coat from dust and pests. Avoid using plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to mildew.
If possible, store the coat in a cool, dry, and dark place. Extreme temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight can harm the shearling and leather.
Place a few cedar blocks or lavender sachets inside the garment bag or storage area to help deter pests and maintain a fresh scent.
Avoid hanging the coat for extended periods during storage, as this can cause the shoulders to lose their shape. Instead, use a padded hanger to maintain the shape while in use and store it flat if possible.
Periodically check on your stored shearling coat to ensure it remains in good condition. Reapply a shearling conditioner if necessary to keep the fur and leather supple.
By following these detailed guidelines for professional cleaning and long-term storage, you can ensure that your shearling coat retains its beauty and quality, even during periods of extended non-use. Proper care and storage will help you enjoy your shearling coat for many years to come.