Wow! Seems no one wants you to clean your mink stole at home! I have searched dozens and dozens of sight to no avail. I even called a local furrier and they said, in no uncertain terms, Leave it to the PROFESSIONAL!! Seems they do a lot more than we thought. Apparently furs are cleaned by abrasion rather than immersion. It is recommended that they are cleaned once a year. During this time, furriers will also add back essential oils that the fur has lost over the year. Professional storage is also recommended during hot summer months because even an air conditioned house is considered too humid for the fur. Here is a list of the things the professional will do to clean the fur:
1. They are examined for age and condition, to see if there are any rips or tears that need repairing and to see if they are strong enough to go into the fur-cleaning drum.
2. Linings are hand-cleaned, and spots are removed from the fur.
3. Coats are placed in a large drum with sawdust and tumble treated with an environmentally safe cleaning solution. Sometimes instead of sawdust, walnut shells or pumice are used.
4. They're placed in a cage with a vacuum attached, to tumble the furs and remove the sawdust.
5. They're removed from the cage and hand-steamed to remove further sawdust from hems and other hiding places.
6. They go through a process called ironing, glazing or electrifying. They are placed by hand into a machine that irons it with rollers. Instead of flattening the fur, as it would appear to, the hairs are lifted, separated and returned to a uniform direction. Think of what static electricity does to your own hair.
7. Finishers examine the coat, checking it yet again for any problem spots, which are repaired.
8. Coats are steamed and linings checked one more time before they're handed over to their owners.
Now, all that being said--I did find one person who buys old, inexpensive furs to make stuffed animals with. She says that you can gently rub cornmeal into the fur and then brush it out with a cat brush. I really have no experience with that process, so I can't said definitively that it will work. But I can understand your not wanting to pay an arm and a leg to get it cleaned. However, regardless of how much you paid when you purchased it, if you would like to enjoy it for years to come, you just might have to. In the meantime, when you wear it make sure your perfume is dry before you put it on so the alcohol in it doesn't dry it out. If you get some water on it from rain or snow, it's best to just shake it out and let it air dry. Fur, by it's nature, is best adapted to cold weather. And never store it in plastic wrap or anywhere that it can't breathe. Good luck!