1. Welcome to Taxidermy.net, Guest!
    We have put together a brief tutorial to help you with the site, click here to access it.

Fur odor - a simple fix(?)

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by CherokeeGal, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. CherokeeGal

    CherokeeGal New Member

    I read a couple of posts here about methods to correct bad odors in fur pelts, both of which involve treating the fur chemically in some way. But I may have stumbled across a cheap, simple fix that doesn't involve sprays or treatments and has worked well for me. Granted, I know nothing about taxidermy and only work with fur garments & finished pelts, so I can't vouch for how well this would apply outside that area.

    Buying a lot of vintage furs, I frequently come across ones that smell really bad. Everyone tells you "just air it out", but when the odor has deeply penetrated the pelt, airing just won't cut it. So I hit upon the idea of using cedar shavings for my smelliest furs. When furriers clean fur coats, they use a combo of wood shavings, walnut hulls, etc. So I thought the aromatic qualities of cedar might help and darned if I wasn't right!

    I bought a big bag of pure cedar shavings (available in pet stores) and placed them in one of those large plastic storage containers. Then I just take the fur piece, bury it completely in the shavings and leave it overnight The cedar seems to absorb the bad odor remarkably well. I got a fox fur stole that some idiot had actually stored in moth balls... I mean it was so bad it would make your eyes water. I left that stole buried in the shavings for like two days and -poof- the mothball smell was gone. If left for a long time, the fur will smell like cedar at first (not that that's a bad thing comparatively speaking.) But THEN you air the fur and even that cedar odor will dissipate in just a day or two.

    Hope this is somewhat helpful and I'd be interested to know the results found by others adventurous enough to try this method. Thanks,.. ~Holly
    Stephanie Frantz likes this.
  2. oldterryr

    oldterryr Terry's in Heaven with no worries at all.


  3. E.W.

    E.W. Guest

    Thanks for the info! I'll keep that in mined next time I come across something for my fur collection, that doesn't smell so great.
  4. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman $90 for your fur made into trapper hat or mitts!

    Well great! I use old coats all the time for teddy bears, linings, etc, and some of the REALLY do smell bad. I'll have to keep this in mind!

  5. fura

    fura Guest

    Unfortunately, the cedar smell goes away after a couple of weeks and the permanent 'musty' smell sticks around for years. That mothball smell can't even be removed with mineral spirits.

    The person who owns the fur and treats it this way, gets a tolerance to the smell after a couple of weeks. So they think the smell is gone, but when someone else gets it - the original person 'hears about it'.

    Musty odors can be removed with dry cleaning solvents, that are used in the fur drum with the shavings. There are about thirty different 'odor removal' chemicals marketed under various brands to furriers, and these all work in conjunction with the solvents and shavings in the drum.

    Whatever furrier is using black walnut hulls to clean furs, they must only be cleaning black on black... or they are really inexperienced. Walnut hulls are a big no-no. They contain a very potent dye.

    To test if the odor on your fur is truly gone, put it in a closed, sealed plastic bag inside a closed, sealed box, like you were going to ship it to someone. Wait 2-3 weeks. Then take it back out. If you can smell something - and you will - you didn't get the stink out. There is no substitute for pro cleaning, if you value your furs and your more odor sensitive customers.
  6. Lee D.

    Lee D. Member

    She's Right!
    I just tried it on an old raccoon I had that some one else gave me and it smelled like her cats on a bad day! So I got some cedar shavings from a craft store (potpourri section) and it workz!
    And all this time I was gonna spend money on those "Kleen" chemicals!
    Cedar really does work!
  7. CherokeeGal

    CherokeeGal New Member

    I'm glad to see someone else has found this a useful tip. ;) As a follow-up to my post and a response to 'Fura' who claimed this wouldn't work, I've got some more information.

    Regarding the fox stole that had a very bad mothball odor which I treated with the cedar shavings, one month later the piece has NO unpleasant smell. I'm turning it into a collar and have had it both out for several days while sewing and back stored again. I consider that and the length a time a pretty fair test for odor and can happily report no problems whatsoever with it. ;D

    Testing the cedar shavings idea even further, I tried this technique on a big pile of fur scraps I had. Some had a strong cigarette smoke odor, some just smelled musty and one piece must have been slept on by a wet Schnauzer. :p I dumped them into the bin with cedar shavings and tossed it all together like a big salad. I'd intended to leave it only for a day or two, but ended up forgetting and left them in there for well over a week. When I remembered, I thought they were going to smell of cedar so strong that in itself would be a problem. But it took care of all the nasty odors in every piece of fur and now a week later, the scraps only have a hint of cedar odor to them which isn't unpleasant or overpowering at all.

    The fur really did absorb the wood smell, because after being mixed with all those scraps, I found the cedar shavings had kinda lost their 'oomph' and I had to discard them. No matter, because I bought a huge 4 cubic foot bag of shavings. (The brand is Kaytee, the same company who makes bird seed.)

    One word of warning I'll give about this method is the fur grooming. With long-haired furs like fox or raccoon, you will have to brush the pelt afterward to remove any little wood flakes. Most of it just shakes off fairly easily, but you might find little pieces that cling to the fur. So definitely make sure you use only shavings, not cedar sawdust which would be even a bigger pain to clean out of the fur.
  8. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Cherokees post did not say "Black Walnut" .. Please read. Furriers and dry cleaners do indeed use ground walnut shells for cleaning and tumbling. Paradichlorobenzene (mothballs) will indeed air out after a while as the chemical evaporates. Another trick that can be used but is probably a bit more expensive than the cedar trick would be to take a couple of cups of fresh ground coffee. No, not after you've made coffee with it .. before, right out of the can or the grinder. Put the coffee in the bottom of a plastic bag and add your fur. After a few days, take it out and shake it out well. It will smell a bit like coffee but when it fades it should smell a lot cleaner.
  9. Fabreeze works great also.