How to clean and care for your HATS

How to clean and care for your hats - especially maintaining your fabric hats, leather hats, straw hats, wool,felt and fur hats.

how to clean hats

Most of the common types of hats are always popular and in fashion, and if not, at least they will be sometime or the other. So, it makes sense to buy the best hat that you can afford and take care of it for a long time. And the best thing is that with a little care, hats last a long long time and you get your money’s worth.

Structured or soft, felt, fabric or leather, each hat demands its own method of storage and maintenance. So, let’s explore how to take care of your hat – in general as well as in specifics.

Storage of Hats
While storing hats, care should be taken not to leave them on their brim on a surface. This will change the shape of the hat over the course of time. The hat should be stored upside down on its crown. The crown may be filled with tissue paper to protect its form.

Hats can also be hung on a peg. The peg should be wide enough not to create a crease.

Sometimes hats are stored in boxes especially when they are out of use for a longer period of time. Felt and straw hats are best kept in large boxes so that they are not crushed and lose their shape.

Be it on a rack, or box, or peg, leave your hats in a cool and dry place to keep them safe from heat and moisture. Leather hats should never be stored in a plastic bag. It will trap the moisture and cause fungus or mildew. Leather hats are best kept in a breathable cotton or paper bags.

Washing and Maintenance
This depends on what the hat is made of.

Not all hats need to be washed. Some should not be washed at all. Some hats if they are washed or immersed in water, will not retain their shape afterwards. But you can spot clean stains.

First thing is to remove dust on a regular basis, only then do you need to think about deep cleaning. 

How to clean fabric hats

Hats made of fabric should be brushed frequently and especially before any cleaning – spot cleaning or full cleaning. This will brush off the dust and foreign particles like fuzz. You can use a soft nylon brush for this. Do this regularly

You can use steam to clean fabric hats – just hold it above a steaming kettle or some steam source.This will loosen up dirt. Now brush carefully with a soft nylon brush.  

If the hat is a baseball hat or a bush hat, you have it easy. They are made of easy-to-maintain materials -usually, cotton or synthetic material and they are washable. Handwash the hats and airdry.

But some baseball hats may have cardboard brims – these cannot be washed. 

Brushing the hats properly

People use Horsehair brushes as well as Nylon brushes.

You have to be careful when using some brushes. Some brushes may be too hard and harsh on the surface and disturb the softness. Sometimes the color of the bristles can get transferred to your hats. Therefore, attention should be paid to the color of the bristles while choosing a brush. A dark-colored hat should be brushed with a dark-haired brush and a light-colored hat should be brushed with a light-haired brush.

Stains on hats

Maintenance of the hat should start with the sweatband, the part which gets stained due to body oil and perspiration. If the sweatband is fabric, you can fold them down and clean them using a mild detergent, water, and a soft brush and air dry it afterward. For leather sweatbands, use a commercial leather cleaner and allow it to air dry.

In case of a stain or smudge, use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Use a soft absorbent cloth from it.

Ensure that the material would not develop stain rings – otherwise, after you remove the stains you will be still left with unsightly ring-shaped marks. If it is beyond you, take the hat to professional cleaners – they will clean and shape the hat properly. Search for Hat – professional cleaners and reblocking experts.

Related post: Natural stain removers.

How to clean wool, felt and fur hats

Felt, fur and wool hats are better not washed. Wool hats can be washed but not always. They can be cleaned with a soft bristle brush. For felt and fur hats, the top and bottom must be brushed in the direction of the nap of the material.

For dust on wool hats, horsehair brushes are a better choice than nylon bristles as the latter can be hard. Even a shoe cleaning brush with soft bristles will do if you don’t have a brush specially made for hats. Some use pet hair brushes.

A Lint roller can be used to remove any fuzz, human, or pet hair on wool hats. Duct tapes are also sometimes used to remove fuzz but care should be taken not to leave any gum on the hat’s surface.

Wool hats can be hand washed in lukewarm water with a mild wool wash. Never wring the hat at any point of washing. Shake off excess water and place it on a thick cotton towel to remove water as much as possible. Keep it on a rack or ventilated surface to air dry.

For hats which you do not want to wash and which do not look bad on the outside, may still be dirty inside – the lining will get dirty fast because of the oil, sweat and dirt in your hair and this mayneed to be washed. You can detach the lining to the outside and wash it, without letting the water touch the outside.

Professionals use steam cleaners to shape and clean wool and felt hats. You can use a quickie alternative you already have at home. Keep the hat above a kettle which is on – the steam from it will soften the material. Now use the brush to brush off the impurities. You can use the steam from a steam iron this way too.

How to clean straw hats

The straw hat must be kept clean by giving it a thorough brushing or wiping it with a clean damp cloth. Usually straw hats are cleaned with a cleaning liquid – a wipe down with the cleaning liquid is the best. 

Most straw hats do not take water well and when sizing is removed the hat will be shapeless. But some can take water and if need be, can be washed – in this case remember to dry fast and to shape it back and reapply straw sizing to maintain its stiffness.

Do not let any water linger – dry immediately. If it is necessary, you can use steam to reshape your hat.

General care of Hats

It is always better to keep your hats away from excessive heat and moisture, especially leather hats. They should be periodically treated with leather protecting products in liquids or spray-on (Leather protector
sprays are good). This will help prevent stains and also repel water.

Try to prevent your hats from getting wet, especially leather and straw hats. If your straw hat gets wet, wipe off all the water with a cloth and let it dry with its brim turned upwards. In the case of felt hats, shake off excess water. Let it rest on the sweatband and never the brim to air dry. Do not apply heat to dry a wet hat.

While wearing a leather hat it is better to avoid any kind of hairspray as the chemical in it can stain the leather. Put on your perfume and hairspray before donning the hat. Keep away even your sanitizer. 

Related posts: 34 different types of hats.; Best fabrics for hats

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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