How to Wash a Real Fur Coat in Washing Machine

Washing a real fur coat in a washing machine might seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it’s entirely doable. Many people think fur requires professional care only, but there are safe methods to clean it at home.

Understanding Real Fur Coats and Washing Machine Constraints

The Characteristics of Real Fur

Real fur consists of animal pelts with natural fibers, which provide unique texture and warmth. These fibers are delicate, and their natural oils contribute to the coat’s luster and softness. When examining real fur, notice the density and length of the fibers. Mink, fox, and rabbit are common types of fur, each with different care needs. Mink fur, with short and dense fibers, demands gentle handling, while fox fur, featuring longer and fluffier strands, requires meticulous cleaning to maintain its volume.

Washing Machine Risks for Real Fur

Washing real fur in a washing machine presents several risks. The mechanical agitation can damage delicate fibers, leading to matting and shedding. Fur’s natural oils can be stripped away, resulting in dryness and brittleness. Temperature fluctuations, common in washing machines, can cause the leather underneath the fur to shrink or become misshapen. Excessive water exposure may lead to mildew or mold, particularly in thick furs such as fox or raccoon. If necessary to clean fur at home, adhering to specific washing constraints minimizes these points of failure.

Optimizing cleaning practices, such as using a front-loading washing machine on a delicate cycle with cold water and gentle detergents, helps in preserving the fur’s integrity.

Preparing to Wash a Real Fur Coat in a Washing Machine

Checking the Coat’s Care Label

Begin by examining the care label inside the fur coat. Manufacturers provide specific cleaning instructions depending on the fur type. Look for terms like “dry clean only” or washing instructions. If the label explicitly advises against machine washing, it’s best to follow those guidelines to avoid damage. Not following care instructions may void any warranties or guarantees on the item.

Choosing the Right Detergent and Settings

Selecting a detergent is crucial for maintaining the fur’s quality. Opt for a mild, specialized detergent designed for delicate fabrics, such as Woolite or a similar gentle cleanser. Harsh detergents strip natural oils and damage the fur fibers. Additionally, use a front-loading washing machine. These machines lack an agitator found in top-loading models, reducing mechanical friction and fiber damage.

Set the machine to a delicate cycle with cold water to minimize stress on the fur. Hot water and vigorous cycles harm both fur and leather. Adding an extra rinse cycle ensures all detergent residues are removed, preserving the coat’s softness and natural oils. Make sure the drum is clean before washing to prevent staining or residue transfer onto the fur.

Steps to Wash a Real Fur Coat in a Washing Machine

Spot Cleaning and Pre-Treatment

It’s crucial to spot-clean and pre-treat your real fur coat before placing it in the washing machine. First, inspect the coat for any stains or heavily soiled areas. Use a gentle stain remover or a mixture of water and mild detergent to pre-treat these spots. Apply the solution with a soft cloth, gently dabbing the stained area without rubbing. This helps prevent the fur from matting and preserves its natural oils.

Washing and Rinsing Techniques

Set your washing machine to a delicate cycle with cold water to protect the fur fibers. Use a front-loading machine as it’s gentler on fabrics compared to top-loading machines. Add a mild detergent that’s suitable for delicate fabrics. Place the fur coat inside a mesh laundry bag to minimize agitation and friction. Start the machine and let it complete the cycle. Ensure you run at least one additional rinse cycle to thoroughly remove any detergent residue.

Drying and Fluffing the Fur

After washing, carefully remove the coat from the machine. Do not wring it to prevent damaging the fibers. Lay the coat flat on a clean, dry towel, reshaping it gently to its original form. Allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated room, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Once the coat is dry, gently shake it to fluff the fur. Use a wide-toothed comb or a soft brush to restore the fur’s texture and volume, handling it with care to avoid breaking the fibers.

Ensure each step is followed meticulously to keep the fur coat in optimal condition. Avoiding shortcuts and paying attention to detail will help maintain the fur’s integrity and longevity.

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Professional Fur Cleaning Services

Professional fur cleaning services use specialized techniques. These experts clean fur without compromising its structure or natural oils. They often use non-water-based methods like dry cleaning, which protects the leather backing from water damage. This method maintains the fur coat’s softness and longevity. Additionally, professional cleaners can provide conditioning treatments that enhance the fur’s luster. Consulting an expert ensures your fur coat gets the care it needs without the risks associated with washing machines or home cleaning methods. Check for furriers with experience in your coat’s specific type of fur.

Hand Washing Techniques

Hand washing techniques offer a gentler alternative. Fill a basin with cold water, adding a small amount of mild fur-specific detergent. Gently immerse the fur coat, softly agitating it to loosen dirt. Avoid scrubbing, as this can damage fibers. After a few minutes, drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean cold water. Rinse the fur coat thoroughly by gently pressing it to remove soap residues. Do not wring the coat to avoid deforming the leather backing. Lay the coat flat on a towel, shape it back to its original form, and let it air dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Periodically shake the coat to maintain its fluffiness.


Washing a real fur coat in a washing machine is a delicate task that requires careful attention to detail. While it’s possible with the right methods and precautions, the risks involved shouldn’t be underestimated. I recommend considering professional cleaning services or hand washing as safer alternatives to preserve the coat’s quality and longevity. Always consult with experts for the best advice on caring for your specific type of fur. By taking these steps, you’ll ensure your fur coat remains in excellent condition for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash a real fur coat in a washing machine?

Yes, but with extreme caution. Use a front-loading machine on a delicate cycle, cold water, and a gentle detergent to minimize damage. However, this method still poses risks to the fur’s fibers and oils.

What are the risks of washing real fur in a washing machine?

Washing real fur in a machine can damage the fibers, strip essential oils, and deform the leather backing. Even with careful washing, these risks remain significant.

Are there alternative cleaning methods for fur coats?

Yes, professional fur cleaning services and hand washing are recommended alternatives. Professionals use non-water-based techniques, and hand washing involves cold water and mild detergent to protect the fur.

What are the best practices for hand washing a real fur coat?

Use cold water and mild detergent, gently swish the coat in the water, and carefully rinse. Avoid wringing or twisting the fur to prevent damage.

Should I consult a professional for fur cleaning?

Consulting a professional or furrier with expertise in your specific type of fur is highly recommended for proper care and maintenance. They can provide specialized cleaning methods that preserve the fur’s integrity.

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