Help for my "toxic llama"!?

Submitted by Lisa on 01/05/2004. ( )

I hope this is an appropriate forum for this question, but if not, perhaps someone can point me toward the right one. I've also tried various Google searches to no avail.

On a trip to Ecuador last month I bought a llama skin, long fine white fur, approx. 5'x10', probably several animals stitched together. The problem is that apparently they use either gasoline or kerosene in the tanning process there, so the thing REEKS like a gas station! I have tried airing it out for past two weeks and it still stinks too badly to cuddle up with, and it's getting cold in Chicago!. Any ideas on how to clean it, or do I just have to wait it out?


Return to Tanning Category Menu

OK Lisa, I'll bite

This response submitted by George on 01/05/2004. ( )

And remember, you asked and no one else volunteered.
The hide you have is supposedly tanned. If it wasn't or if it was alum tanned, what I'm about to suggest will ruin your hide, but if airing it out won't work, this is your last option.

First, in a container big enough to hold it, wet it down in warm water. Use Dawn dishwashing liquid and agitate it so as to saturate the hair completely. Then rinse it. If it's too cold outside, take it into the shower with you and rinse it in warm clear water till you won't see bubbles when you squeeze the hide.

Now take it back to the bucket. Put a cap full of Downey along with about 3 fluid ounces of hair conditioner and cover it again in warm water. Agitate. Rinse out.

Take the wet hide and put it in your washing machine. Run it through the spin cycle (without water) several times with the hair to the outside. This will spin most of the water away. When you get it out, lay it skin side up and pour hand lotion on the skin and wipe it around until it's saturated into the skin. Turn the hide over and with your blow dryer, fluff the hair up with a stiff bristle brush. As it dries, stretch your hide as it's likely to want to shrink. Continue until the hair is dried.

If you have a sheet of plywood, stake your hide out using push pins so it stretches until the skin dries. When dried, pour hand lotion over the skin again and rub it in. Wipe any puddles off. Then place the skin in you dryer again and tumble it on NO HEAT for several hours. IF it was tanned with a good tan, you hide will come out soft and fresh. If it wasn't, don't buy any more llama hides in South America.


This response submitted by Don't! on 01/06/2004. ( )

Don't listen to George!

Take it to a furrier and get it professionally cleaned and glazed. I know of one place around Diversey and Halstead in Chi-town which will pick up, clean / glaze, and return your fur to you for $79.

Good luck and NEVER PUT HAND LOTION ON A SKIN except your own living skin, you will ruin it. Even a non-alum tanned one.

You can replace the alpaca or whatever it is, by buying a new one on eBay.

Gasoline and battery acid is not a tan, I hope you got a tanned pelt.

See Lisa

This response submitted by George on 01/06/2004. ( )

The best way to get an answer from a know-it-all who doesn't have guts to answer your post in a timely manner is for me to try and help. Hope his advice works, but don't count on it (like you can't count on him by name). Most furriers are going to sniff your pelt and tell you quickly "it ain't happening in my shop". Good luck.

BTW, "Don'T", you are full of it. A cheap hand lotion and the water soluble tanning oils are almost the same thing. You can use it on ANY good leather product, including gloves, to make them soft a supple. Crawl back under your rock.

Return to Tanning Category Menu