Feathers come from nature, therefore need to be supported by nature. Once separated from the wild, feathers begin to undergo decomposition or degrading. Here are a few ways to preserve your feather creation. Hang the feathers, rather than laying them in a box, the acids in the wood of a jewelry's box are found to be more harmful than the dust from hanging the feathers. Acidity from wood or heavy colored dyes makes the barbs of feathers brittle and increases the chances of the feathers to break. Museum curators have found pH balanced containers are best to maintain longevity of natural fibers, and in this case Feathers.
Feathers can be washed. Use a mild detergent and lukewarm water. Use fingers and rub gently along the quills and NOT against, as this will damage the barbs. Be extra careful if your washing colorfully dyed feathers, as the dye will run and can blend with your other feathers in the cluster. I would recommend staying away from washing dyed feathers, Instead I would recommend to try the hot water steam methods if needing to clean or straighten your dyed feathers.
Feathers can be straightened or cleansed using Hot water steam (from a kettle or clothes steamer), obviously the steam is HOT so please exercise caution and prevent your hands from getting burnt. Feathers can benefit from aromatherapy, I enjoy to use Clary sage or Frankincense. Stay away from essential oil sprays that may use witch hazel as this may overly dry out the feather barbs making them brittle and fall apart. Feathers can be dried with a hair dryer. Use the lowest setting with using the COOL air preferably. They also can be laid out on paper towel or hung up to dry or use the wind to air dry.
All the feathers that I create with have been prepared and stored in White sage, this keeps the feathers energetic blueprint clean and strong, and acts like a antifungal/ anti bacterial away from the collection. Each week I honor my feather designs and feather collection with a smoke ceremony. Using my personal healing staff or wand of feathers to wave the clearing and healing smoke over the feathers, imagining great wings to surround the feathers and the future owner with hopes of balance and smooth out there energy.