How to Care For Your Wonderful Winter Coats
 Well there's no doubt that we're knee deep in winter! And let's face it, it's going to be freezing until the end of March! But for us, the saving grace of this punishing weather is getting to feel like the queens we are by prancing around in our gorgeous faux fur and glamourous wool coats! And here at Goldsmith Vintage we have a range to die for!
But when it comes to keeping them looking in tip-top condition, it can be a tricky business! We get asked these questions all the time. How do I clean my faux fur? How do I hand wash a wool coat? Can I put my faux fur in the washing machine? How often does my wool coat need to be cleaned? If you have ever asked yourself any of the above, then look no further! We've devised a helpful guide that covers it all and will have your prized coats looking stunning!
Be sure to check out our 'staff picks' list of gorgeously unique vintage faux furs and wool coats at the end of the article!
So let's start with faux fur. What are the different ways to clean your coat?
First of all, unlike real fur you CAN get faux fur wet without completely ruining it! But there are certain precautions you will need to take to keep your garment looking it's best. Before we get into the nitty gritty, here are a few general tips you may find helpful.

Useful Tips and Advice Regarding Faux Fur

Before washing, cleaning, or taking your coat to the cleaners, do up any buttons and zippers-this will help to keep them from becoming entangled or snagged during the cleaning process.
Use quality robust, preferably padded wooden hangers for hanging all coats, this will help to retain their shape.
Mend any rips before cleaning to avoid the fill from coming out and to retain the garment's shape. Small tears in the backing of faux fur can be fixed by hand-stitching the rip with a similar coloured thread. Once the fur has melted or  fallen out, it can't be mended.
You will find that shaggy or long-haired fake fur can be prone to becoming knotted and matted when washed. The result will be much better with looped or short-hair fibres. If washing long and shaggy faux furs yourself hand-washing is definitely better than using a washing machine.
When cleaning any type of faux fur, try not to irritate the fibres by wringing.
Gently vacuuming a faux fur item before the washing process will help reduce shedding and additionally get rid of sme of the dirt. Use the brush or upholstery tool whilst you lightly glide across the fur.

How to Hand-Wash Faux Fur Coats 

Hand-washing is the best choice for washing any type of faux fur item. For large coats, the cleaning can be done in a large plastic storage container or bathtub.

  1. Fill the sink or bathtub with cool water and mix with 1–2 teaspoons of a good quality mild detergent. 
  1. Completely submerge the faux fur in the water/detergent solution. Manoeuvre the fur through the water for no more than 10–15 minutes. Do not rub fur sections against each other or wring out. 
  1. Now we need to drain and rinse so you'll need to lift your fur up out of the water. Gently squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Drain and rinse the tub and fill up again with clean water. Rinse your fur until it is completely free of suds.

4. It is important to remove any excess water by lightly squeezing. Additionally you can roll the faux in a thick bath towel. 

  1. Place a clothes drying rack into the bath to prevent soaking your floor and place the fur across it in a flat fashion in order to dry out. Alternatively, pop it onto a robust padded hanger and hang from your shower rail.


How to Machine-Wash Faux Fur 

  1. Fill the washing machine using cold water to roughly a medium level. Add 1–2 teaspoons of a quality, gentle, colour-safe detergent.
  1. Place your faux fur coat directly into the water, soaking in the water/detergent solution for no more than 15 minutes or you risk damaging the coat's backing fabric.
  1. After the 15 minutes are up, it's time to drain, rinse and spin. Set the machine to drain and onto a low-speed spin. Now shift to a rinse cycle and let the machine fill with cool water. Finally, drain and spin at low speed again. If your fur still feels soapy, now is the time for an additional spin.
  1. You may find the fur seems a little matted post-wash but you can simply fluff it up using a soft-bristled hair brush. Alternatively you can just toss the coat into a tumble dryer and use the air-only setting. Do not use heat! 
You can of course take your beautiful faux fur to a dry cleaners if you want to ensure a quality job but ensure the establishment has the relevant experience.
So that's it! Time to enjoy your lush faux fur and look amazing!
But what about wool?
If your gorgeous winter wool coat of yours is in need of a spruce up, it’s time to get it cleaned! But where do you begin?

Can I Wash My Wool Coat at Home?

Ok, this can be confusing! The first thing is-if the label says 'dry clean only' (specifically if your wool coat has feathers, suede, fur or leather details) then it means just that-get to the cleaners! But if it says 'dry clean', minus the 'only', the advice is that dry cleaning is recommended but not essential. So if your wool coat is marked 'dry clean' or with symbols that indicate cold water wash, gentle cycle or hand-wash, then you have the option to clean it yourself at home. Machine-washing however is only possible with a top-loading washing machine. however so if you have a front loader then it's worth checking to see if your local launderette has one. Drying poses a problem though as this can take up to two days so unless you live extremely close to the launderette, hand-washing is likely the most practical option. So let's get washing! But how?? Follow our helpful guide to washing your delicate coat without any hitches.
Firstly, Whether you hand-wash or use a washing machine it's important to prepare the coat.
  1. Brush off any lint or dirt with a garment brush using a downward motion, beginning at the collar.
  1. Pre-wash any stains on your coat. You can use a spot-cleaning spray, mild soap, stain remover wipes or some other solvents to remove a stain, It's a good idea to test the product first on a less visible part of the coat. Apply with a cotton swab and gently rub. Should any colour come away from the coat comes off on the swab, then the coat needs to be dry cleaned.



How to Hand-Wash a Wool Coat

If you're washing at home then hand-washing is the safest way especially if the coat is particularly tailored or structured. Your wool coat is probably fairly big so you’ll need to wash it in the bathtub. Follow these guidelines to safely and effectively hand-wash your wool coat.
  1. Firstly, ensure the bathtub is completely clean. Then fill it with enough warm (not hot!) water to submerge the coat. Be careful not to fill it up too much causing the water to overflow when the coat gets in there!
  1. Whilst the tub is filling, add a small amount of wool-safe hand-wash liquid, swishing it around to create suds. 
  1. Immerse your coat in the water, making sure every part of it is soaked by pushing and squeezing it. 
  1. Leave the coat to soak in the water for at least 30 minutes.
  1. Once the coat has soaked, remove any excess dirt by rubbing gently with your hands. Avoid scrubbing the coat material against itself, as this can damage the surface of the wool.
  1. Drain the bathtub and rinse the coat several times with lukewarm water until the water runs completely clear.
  1. Lift your (now pretty heavy!) coat from the tub and squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can starting at the top and working your way down. Don't wring or twist it as this can be damaging.
  1. Lay the coat down on a large, thick towel and roll it up, squeezing along the way.
  1. Lay the coat flat over a clothes drying rack turning once or twice to ensure it dries evenly. If you don’t own a drying rack you can lay the coat flat on a thick, clean towel, on top of an waterproof surface. Turn the coat once or twice during the drying process. You may find that you'll need to change the towel. Drying can take up to two days.
Whatever you do, DO NOT put your precious coat into the dryer. It will shrink! Also hanging it up to dry is a bad idea as the weight of the water will cause it to lose its shape.

Machine Washing Your Wool Coat

  1. If there are any detachable washable pieces like a faux fur lining you can remove them and place them into a mesh wash bag. Turn your wool coat inside out and also place into a wash bag.
  1. Select the wool, delicates, hand-wash, or cold water cycle on the washing machine as it's crucial that the water temperature is cold and the spin is on low. Use a special wool and cashmere shampoo to ensure no damage to your beloved coat.
  1. Follow the instructions above to dry you coat.
Enjoy your gorgeous newly cleaned coats! Check out our staff picks below to browse our awesome winter coats! Wrap up warm everyone!