I have shared you many collections about various types of hat. Now, it’s time to learn how to take care of them. In this article, I will give you ultimate guide to washing as well as packing them in your suitcase without ruining their original form and so on. Let’s get started!
How to wash your favorite hats properly
There is an inevitable fact of life: even you have tried the best to use your hat as carefully as you can, one day it will get dirty, maybe being covered with dust, appearing some stains or water marks. It means that you need to wash them. However, when it comes to cleaning a particular hat, you need to know the right way to make it clean, but not deforming it.
First thing first, you should acknowledge the material of your hat. In many cases, your hat’s label has instruction to show you how to wash it, for example, dried wash. However, some don’t. Thus, if you are in such unlucky cases, follow these instructions for more information.
With straw hats
We might do some regular maintenance after wearing straw hats, but of course, they need a deep clean. This job is quite easy with prepared things around your house. For example, the old window cleaners or a bottle if you want something much tougher. They are both safe for your straw hats, and can remove clearly all dirt, residue and grime hidden into the hats.
Here is the instruction:
Using a small sponge with wet cloth or whisk broom to lightly brush the hats to clean the hat. If it has some stains or water marks, you can use a window cleaner to remove them.
When the hat is already clean, dry it by using hat hook or hanging from a peg or storing it on its top to keep its shape.
Don’t let the straw hat get soaked with rain. If it happened, just use a dried and clean cloth to remove all excess water. Then, place them in a higher and clean surface to make it dry.
Or else, you can steam it to maintain its shape, but remember to avoid using artificial heat.
With leather hats
Though leather hats, for example leather fedora, look cool and masculine, they are one of the most stubborn materials and the hardest one to take care of. However, if you spend money on some specialty products and know a few simple tips to wash them. It’s not difficult at all.
First of all, you need to keep them stay away from moisture and too-much heat areas to maintain their quality.
There is a rule of thumb when taking care of leather hats: you should periodically treat them with Lexol/Brik4, mink oil or neatsfoot oil. Say “no” with saddle soaps because they will ruin the hats.
Also, avoid wearing or placing them under directly sunlight for long time because the heat will make them become drier.
The cleaning sequence is spot cleaning with stains or water marks, and then the whole hats. A small tip is using shampoo on sweat stains. They are very useful. Give it a try!
With cloth hats
Contrast to the leather hats, these cloth hats are quite easy to maintain. All you need to do is a little bit of water and then brushing them with a clean brush. That’s all.
However, take note these things:
If they are oiled canvas/cotton or waxed cloth hats, whenever they get dirty, just hose them off
With untreated material, to clean them, you need to utilize a stiff bristle brush. In more serious cases, like water marks or stains, you should choose some powdered cleaners to remove them.
With cotton or man-made fiber hats, like baseball caps, each particular area needs a bit different way to clean. For example, in the sweatbands, use solvent – based gel or spray to remove oil and soil molecules. Due to how heavy of the stains are to choose suitable detergents. With light stains, water marks for example, you can use Zout, Spray ‘n Wash or Shout. With the heavier, Tide or Persil is recommended. However, never go for bleach.
Unlike leather hats, you can soak cloth ones in a soapy water-filled bucket for hours to make stains become easier to remove.
With wool hats and fur felt hats
It’s essential to acknowledge to clean these kinds of hat because they are quite expensive and luxurious. To make them clean, you need to have powdered cleaners, a soft bristle brush and if possible, a steam cleaner.
Firstly, use the bristle brush to brush the bottom and top counter – clockwise.
Again, hook or hang or set the hats on their top to retain their form.
If they accidentally got wet, don’t fret, just shake off or use a dried cloth to absorb the excessive water and then let them dry. But, never put them in a dryer because the extreme heat will ruin both their shape and quality.
After already dried, brush them clean lightly.
Last but not least, use the steamer to keep their shape. With water marks or stains, use some powdered cleaners to remove.
With suede leather hats
If you know the right way to clean these hats, they will even look more expensive and new to vintage. With these suede leather hats, use a soft bristle or nylon brush, fine-grit sandpaper, a suede bar, emery cloth and available household cleaning product you have.
Brush the suede hats to remove dust and dirt. Keep this job periodically as your habit to keep them look always fresh.
Use sandpaper or emery cloth to buff caked on dirt or matted suede. When it comes to choosing a grit to match your hat’s finish, go for the 120-grit.
Suede bars are used for light colored leather to remove stains. Simply moving the bar in a circular pattern to remove them. Lastly, brush the hat again.
With oily stains, it’s a pity to say that you can’t remove them completely, but you can fade them away by mixing 15 parts warm water with one-part baby shampoo.
Once the suede hats get wet, shake off or use clean, dried cloth to absorb excess water and let them dry naturally. Then, brush and steam clean to retain the shape or remove all the water spots.
With canvas hats
This is considered as one of the easiest to maintain because they require very low maintenance. All they need is periodic cleaning with wet cloth and powdered cleaners for those heavy stains. That’s it!
Some other tips for cleaning hat and maintenance
How to remove grass stains
These stains are a combination of dye and protein so that if you want to remove them completely, go for an enzymatic stain remover. Just spray the detergent on the grass stains and then launder as normal. Before letting the hats dry, you should check carefully if there any stains on them because after being dried, stains will become more difficult to erase.
If there are still some, keep washing your hats with detergent until they are clean.
How to remove mud stains
The best way to erase mud stains are to let them dried completely and then use a soft brush to brush them away. After that, there will be some stains left. With mud stains, no need specialty products because they are easy to remove. Any available laundry pretreatment sticks or spray is okay.
With small stains, use spot-clean method. On the contrary, just soak them in a soapy water-filled bucket to easily remove them.
Never put your hats in the washing machine or even a…dishwasher unless you want to receive a mess after that. Hand washing is indeed the best way to make them clean.
To prevent your hats from being ruined by moisture, treat them with a waterproof spray.
Not all hats can stand high heat, for examples the open fire, sunlight, etc. thus, to save them from shrinkage, avoid to expose them to these places.
When not in use, store them in hat boxes with vinyl hat cover to retain their shape as well as save them from dust, dirt, odor and stains.
With old hats, for example 20+ year old ones, you know that they will certainly not be as durable as the new. Thus, when cleaning them, you should notice to give a color test. The old hats don’t have colorfast as the new ones to help them remain color during wash.
To do this test, use a rag and rub a bit cleaner/detergent on the bill’s underside. If color comes out along the rag, clean the hat with water only. On the contrary, you can apply detergent.
And if you don’t know the hat material, just do spot-clean by hands, not soaking the entire hat to avoid ruining it. Use a small rubber as well.
How to pack your hat without deforming it
If you have to pack your hats during the trip, holidays or traveling, use soft underwear or clean socks to stuff the crown until there’s no space inside. You should pack them nice tight so that they won’t flop around while you carry. But first, remember to put all heavy stuff at the bottoms, for examples, shoes, denims or bags.
You can creatively make a hat – sized nest to place them inside your suitcase, remember to crown down and ensure that the brim won’t be creased.
If possible, don’t pack too hard as your hats might be squashed. In impossible cases, you should wear your hat on the plane instead of placing them in your suitcase.
In case you are forced to bring many hats together, you must pack them in a hard suitcase. Here is another tip! Fold your hats in the classic taco shape. When you arrive, and take the hats out, there will be two creases, don’t worry, just use your fingers to reshape them. Pretty soon, they will return into their original shape.
If not, you can hold the hats over a boiling water kettle or use a handheld clothing steamer or take the hats to the bathroom while you are taking hot shower until they are a little bit damp. Reshape them and wait until they are dried.
With cloth hats, for example, a bucket hat, it’s much easier because they don’t lose their shape if you fold them. In another word, they are packed easily thanks to soft material. Just roll them up and put in your suitcase. Shrinkage seems not a matter at all because when you retain their shape, they will look like they did before you pack them in the suitcase.
Whenever touching the hats, make sure your hands and fingers clean. I’m not trying to make everything seem serious but that’s the fact. Even with clean hands, the oil secreted from your fingers can discolor the hat’s felt.
The well-packed hat materials:
- Soft Straw
- Soft Felt or Wool
There is a rule of thumb when it comes to choosing hat materials to pack: the softer the fabric is, the easier it will be to pack without deforming.
Which hats can’t be packed
Never pack a brittle or hard straw hat because it will be cracked after that if you don’t protect it properly. And I must say that steam won’t save its life at all. For example, panama hats! Besides, with expensive or big brim track hats, you should pack them individually in a correct hatbox or ship them ahead of time.
That’s all of my tips, tricks and guideline to share with you. Hope that through this article, you will have more helpful information to preserve your precious hats and keep them last as long as possible. To maintain your hats and caps, it’s not only in how you wash and store them, but also the way you pack and bring them on any trip or traveling. So, don’t ignore any parts! Good luck!