How to care for feather fans

One of my favourite images … oh, and how to care for your feather fans!

Photo via Pinterest

As the title of this post states, this is one of my favourite images of Marilyn Monroe.  What a stunner – she looks so happy and that feather fan is so beautiful.  Ostrich feathers really are the ultimate luxury aren’t they?

To be honest, when I started this post it was solely to share this particular image of Marilyn, but then I decided I might as well do something useful with it, so I decided to include a little bit of information about how to care for your gorgeous ostrich feathers – if you are lucky enough to own a pair of course!  If I was in the market for feather fans, which sadly I’m not, I would most certainly be blazing a trail to the fabulous Flo Foxworthy – because really, there is simply no better!

Anyway … onto the care information:

How to care for your feather fans …

Storage …
Store them in a solid box whenever possible to protect them against being squashed and knocked; plumes facing up so you don’t break the spines.

To remove any odours … 
 You can leave them out in the sunlight for a couple of hours.
 Alternatively, you can gently place them inside a pillow case and put two or three anti-static dryer sheets inside the pillow case with the fans and then leave them for a day or so.  The anti-static sheets will absorb odours.  DO NOT put them in the dryer!

How to re-fluff your feather fans …
Feathers naturally dry out over a period of time and consequently start to lose their fluffiness.
Rub them firmly but carefully – this makes them more fluffy.  You can also shake them gently – this helps remove dust and fluffs them out.
Steam them – basically just boil some water in a pot and put a lid covering 90% of the pot; this will help you direct the steam.  Be careful of your fingers though!  Once the feathers have opened a bit you can stop, as more steaming makes little or no difference.  You can also use a steamer if you have one of course!

How to wash your feather fans …
Feathers pick up oils from your hands really easily – make sure you wash your hands before you use them; also don’t wear lip gloss when working with fans!
Use luke-warm, soapy water or baby shampoo and be super gentle.  The colours are most likely not colour-fast.
It’s probably best to quarter-fill a bath and swish the feathers gently around in that.
Let them dry naturally – never use direct heat; i.e. don’t hang them over a heated towel rail or anything like that.

MumptyStyle Ms Tittle Tattle Flo Foxworthy
The stunning Ms Tittle Tattle with her beautiful ostrich feather fans by internationally acclaimed New Zealand costumier, Flo Foxworthy. Image by Jeanette Probyn.

Fun fact:
 The pink ostrich fans that Dita Von Teese uses in her tribute act to Sally Rand were made by her friend and fellow performer, Catherine D’lish.  They are constructed with four graduated shades of pink and hundreds of rose-colored crystals.  They measure seven feet across and weigh 2.3 pounds each – wow – I’m surprised tiny wee Dita can carry them!

What’s your ultimate luxury?

Love …







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