How to Care for Ostrich Feathers

ostrich-feathers.jpgYour Ostrich Feather Centerpieces were the highlight of your last event, so why not use them for your next one, too? With the right care, your ostrich feathers will continue to look amazing for years! 

Ostrich feathers are delicate and require gentle care, but taking care of them is simple once you learn how. We’ve got some tips for keeping your ostrich feathers looking fresh and lively.

Storing Your Ostrich Feathers

  • Store your feathers in a cool, dry place where humidity can’t damage them. Sealed plastic containers or acid-free cardboard boxes work well, but avoid using standard cardboard boxes, because their acidity will fade your feathers’ beautiful colors.
  • Feathers should be stored flat, while boas should be hung or packed loosely.
  • Bugs love feathers! Use a cedar chest, moth balls or flakes to ward off unfriendly, hungry bugs that might eat your feathers.

Freshening Your Ostrich Feathers

Regardless of how careful you are, your feathers may have a lingering odor after a long period of storage. Here’s how to freshen them up properly!

  • Place your feathers in fresh air and warm, direct sunlight.
  • Put your feathers inside a pillowcase with 2-3 anti-static sheets. After a day or so, the anti-static sheets will have absorbed the smell, leaving your feathers beautiful and refreshingly fragrant.

*Pro Tip* Be careful NOT to put your feather-filled pillowcase in the dryer!

Cleaning Your Ostrich Feathers

  • Try gently shaking your feathers to remove any dust. This also will perk them up!
  • Stubborn dust may remain, but fear not! Find a soft, dry paintbrush or baby brush, and hold the ostrich feather in one hand. Brush in the direction of the plumage, softly applying pressure with slow, deliberate strokes.

*Pro Tip* Your feathers will be safe and clean as long as you use a soft brush, apply gentle pressure and stroke only with the flow of the plumage—never against.

Washing Your Ostrich Feathers is a Last Resort!

We don’t recommend trying to wash your feathers unless shaking and gently brushing your feathers has failed. But, if washing is necessary, follow these simple instructions to prevent damage to your feathers.

  • Fill a bathtub about a quarter full with lukewarmwater. Dyed feathers are not colorfast so make sure that water is lukewarm! Mix a small amount of baby shampoo or a gentle dish detergent.
  • Lightly swish each feather individually in the water. If you feel further cleaning is necessary, mildly massage the feathers in the direction of the plumage.
  • Ostrich feather dye is water based, so be careful not to mix different colored feathers in the same water or let drying feathers touch.
  • Finish by rinsing the shampoo off the feather.
  • Hang the feathers from a clothesline or shower curtain rod to dry overnight. If absolutely necessary a hairdryer on its lowest setting—cool only—can be used to speed up the process to about 10 minutes.

ostrich-plumes.jpgRe-fluffing Your Ostrich Feathers

Are your feathers losing their fullness? Steaming can help return your ostrich feathers to their former extravagant beauty.

  • First, rub the feathers gently between your hands to bring out the feather flu and make the individual strands fluffier.
  • Use a fabric steamer on the driest setting to open the feathers and make them more vibrant.
  • If you can’t find a fabric steamer, try boiling water in a pot or tea kettle. Carefully put each feather into the small stream of the escaping steam until the feather has expanded again. Once the feather has opened up, stop! Further steaming will have no benefit.

*Pro Tip* Feathers are extremely flammable! Be careful around open flames or pyrotechnics.

Follow these feather care guidelines, always treat your feathers gently and your feathers will continue to be the center of attention at all of your events!

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