How to CLEAN feathers

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Original Post

Cha7 says

Hi Y'all -

I'm wanting to make earrings with feathers. Does any one know how to clean them, to get the dirt out of them and make the hygienic to sell them to the public without ruining them?
Can't find any info on google about this, only that steam cleanings is good. How to do this or any other good feather cleaning tips?

Thanks!

Cha

Posted at 6:15pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

Responses

sbpoet says

Bouncing up, hoping someone knows.

Posted at 9:26pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

okay you wont like this but here goes. why are the feathers dirty? if these are from wild birds (even tho you picked them up off the ground) you can not legally use them. feather earings are great but stick to feathers sold at hobby stores so you can prove that they are legal.

Posted at 9:41pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

sbpoet says

Is this true in the U.S.? I know there are restrictions on eagle feathers, and some others -- but, say crows?

In my case, if I were to use feathers, they would be the feathers I've gathered from my parakeets. I mean, they drop them, I pick them up and put them in a little glass.

Pretty feathers.

But I've wondered if there might be something I should do -- some cleaning, or treatment, in order to use them?

Posted at 11:24pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

I have guinea hens and a few varieties of bantams & silkies chickens, which have gorgeous colors and I often use their feathers in my jewelry. They moult twice annually, they're clean and fresh off my birds who are nice & healthy, so I pick them up off the nice clean hay in their cages where they've fallen and they never get dirty, so cleaning them isn't necessary. I sort them by size & color, then store them in large ziploc bags until I want to use them.

I started collecting them because they're so beautiful, I couldn't bear to toss them, and now I have boxes full of bags of feathers in all shapes and sizes, lol

Posted at 11:43pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

Anyone interested in purchasing some Amazon feathers. I have been saving them but I honestly have no idea what to do with all his feathers? I never even thought about making jewelry with them, I just thought they were too pretty to throw out LOL

Posted at 11:46pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

I use all kinds of feathers in my dream catchers, and it is illegal to use migrant and endangered bird feathers, which I don't. As far as cleaning, a damp cloth with a mild detergent should work; then use a dry toothbrush to smooth them after they dry.

Posted at 11:58pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

LoveMeBabyBoutique, don't laugh, I think people on Ebay buy Amazon feathers. At least according to my bird vet, they do! Lots of her customers bring her the feathers their birds have naturally dropped - I do, myself, though we don't see her that often - we have healthy birds :-)

We bring her the feathers from our Conure and Quaker, sort of as a thank you. I think occasionally she sells them - people probably know to contact her.

Having said all that - I do think it's perfectly fine to use feathers when you know the source (natural moulting, etc.) But... I used feathers in some of my jewelry, years ago (and people really liked the earrings with feathers). Searching for more sources, I ordered some from a catalog (reputable place, too) - and they sent me, well, the dead bird, basically, minus the gizzard stuff inside.

I had truly not thought that vendors/distributors were killing birds *for the feathers* - but they were. I stopped using feathers in my jewelry, that day. And that was years before I had birds of my own.

Posted at 11:59pm Apr 15, 2009 EDT

OMG I would be traumatized!!!!

Posted at 12:07am Apr 16, 2009 EDT

SoSheSews says

Just thought you should know. When I was little my mother FORBADE me to pick up feathers. She said they would make me sick if they weren't cleaned. I don't know *how* you clean feathers, but if you plan on using them *as is* or just mildly wiping them down, maybe you should read this:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psittacosis

Scroll down to where it says, "Symptoms: In humans".

This disease is spread from all kinds of birds from exotics like parrots to common like pidgeons. I also read on the internet that an estimated 80% of pidgeons carry this disease.

NOT to be ignored.

Posted at 12:31am Apr 16, 2009 EDT