How to Tell a Real Fur From a Faux Fur

Written by kay ireland
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How to Tell a Real Fur From a Faux Fur
Know if your jacket is made of real or fake fur. (fur #2 image by Adam Borkowski from

Depending on where you stand in the fake-fur-versus-real-fur debate, you may want to make sure that the garment you're buying is fur-free. Or you may want to be sure you're paying for a real-fur garment. Either way, telling the difference between real and fake fur has become increasingly harder as synthetic furs look more and more like the real thing. Perform a few simple tests to determine whether a garment is real or fake fur.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Push pin
  • Scissors
  • Matches

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  1. 1

    Read the label found on the inside underarm seam of the garment. This label tells the laundering instructions for the garment. Most synthetic furs can be washed and dried in your washing machine. Labels for real fur garments contain information about the type of animal fur and may warn against anything but dry cleaning.

  2. 2

    Take a push pin and find an inconspicuous place on the garment. Attempt to force the push pin through all of the layers of the garment. If the garment is fake fur, the push pin will easily puncture through the synthetic lining. If it is real fur, the push pin will have a hard time puncturing the thick hide behind the fur.

  3. 3

    Check the manufacturer and compare it against the list found on the Human Society's (see Resources) website listing designers that do not use fur in their garments. If you find the designer on the list, you can be sure that the fur is fake.

  4. 4

    Remove some of the fur from the lining of the jacket in an inconspicuous area of the garment and examine the backing of the fur. Synthetic fur will have a simple cloth lining that may be ribbed. Real fur has a hide lining from the animal from which the fur was taken. The hide is usually tough and tan and may feel soft like suede.

  5. 5

    Complete a burn test. Snip a small clump of fur from the garment and take it into a safe area like a bathroom sink. Light the clump of fur on fire with matches and examine the way that it burns. Fake fur burns quickly and disappears with little odour; real fur dissolves into a melted ball and smells strongly of burnt hair.

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