A felt hat is a unique accessory with a rich and interesting history. It's also a versatile piece of clothing that pairs with many different outfits.
So how do you clean a felt hat?
First, let's explain what felt is. Felt is a type of matted fabric that consists of textile fibers condensed and pressed together.
While felt can also be made from the fur of rabbits, beavers, chinchillas, or other furry animals, the cleaning instructions we outline here only apply to wool felt hats, not all felt hats. If you have a felt hat, you certainly know how expensive these hats are, so please clean them in a professional and timely manner.
Just as you need to be careful when cleaning suede, leather, or straw hats, it is important to take gentle approaches when cleaning felt hats to avoid damage to them!
A. Importance of keeping a felt hat clean and well-maintained
Whether it's your favorite wool felt fedora, cowboy hat, or a vintage hat that you only wear on special occasions, the fact that hats get dirty will always cause us a little trouble. Dust, debris, sweat, oil, and watermarks can cause serious damage to the hat, thus affecting its beauty and function of the hat.
B. Benefits of regular cleaning for the longevity and appearance of a felt hat
The best way to make sure your felt hat stays as spotless as possible is to clean it after each wear. This may sound a bit extreme, but it doesn't take much time or effort. Let’s see how to clean them step by step!!
Photo by Anatol Lem on Unsplash
A. Gathering the necessary materials
Ideally, you should use a brush with very soft bristles, as soft of a brush as you can find. If you have a travel brush, you can even clean your hat on the go. However, a soft cloth will also work if you don't have something like this. Also, you need a mild soap and a clean cloth.
B. Removing any surface dust or dirt with a soft brush
Gently brush your brush or cloth against your hat in any dirty areas. Work in a counterclockwise motion. While doing this, you can choose to simply address the areas that need to be addressed, or you can go over the entire hat.
A. Identifying specific stains or spots on the felt hat
In most cases, when a felt hat gets dirty, it doesn't need a deep cleaning. However, a little regular cleaning may be necessary.
While there can be moments where regular, simple cleaning isn’t enough for the spots, then, make sure you have sharp eyes to discover those spots.
You can also prepare a bit of a mild cleanser if you think it's necessary - at your discretion, of course.
B. Using a clean cloth or sponge dampened with water and mild soap to gently blot the affected area
For this, wipe the hat down in a counterclockwise pattern with a damp cloth. Make sure the cloth is soft and that it isn't too wet.
Rub the hat down a little harder than you would for regular cleaning. Repeat the process and allow your hat to air dry if necessary.
C. During this step, be sure to avoid excessive moisture or rubbing to prevent damage to the felt.
Remember, if the hat is dark, use dark cloth; if the hat is white or light-colored, use white cloth.
A. Assessing the overall cleanliness of the felt hat
If your hat needs much more than a regular cleaning, then you will have to do more to clean it. How exactly you go about this will depend on what the problem is, then go for a deep cleaning.
When cleaning felt hats, full immersion in water carries a high risk of damage to the hat, so please make sure you try a partial cleaning of the hat before attempting a full hand wash.
B. Filling a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild soap
Fill the basin or sink with cold water and add about a teaspoon of a non-bleach mild detergent, such as Woolite.
C. Submerging the hat in the soapy water, gently agitating it to remove dirt and grime
Before submerging the entire hat in water, test by soaking inconspicuous areas for a few minutes to ensure that the color does not come off and that the fabric is intact.
Gently wipe away any stains with a soft bristle brush and let sit for at least 15 minutes, being careful with the hatband and other decorative elements, especially those that can be easily damaged by water.
D. Rinse the hat thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue
Next, immerse the entire hat in water for about 30 minutes. For heavier dirt and stains, you can leave the hat submerged for several hours, but be sure to check it every hour or so.
Rinse the hat under cold running water and carefully squeeze it to remove any excess water.
Make sure to dry the hat as much as possible and store it somewhere where it can air dry the rest of the way.
A. Shaping the hat back to its original form while it is damp
B. Placing the hat on a clean towel or hat form to air dry, away from direct heat or sunlight
The best approach to drying a hat is to let the hat air dry naturally. Do this by setting the hat on a clean surface in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight, which could cause fading and discoloration.
C. Avoiding excessive heat or forceful drying methods, as they can cause the hat to lose its shape or shrink
Remember, never put it in the dryer, placing your hat in the dryer will cause it to shrink and lose its original form. You can also use some type of form to help the hat keep its shape.
Also, dry it on the low-heat or cold-air setting so that the hat's structure and size aren't compromised.
A. Using a soft brush to gently fluff and smooth the felt after it has dried completely
Brushing might be a useful way of cleaning off the dust, by brushing in a counterclockwise motion, you're pulling dirt and debris out and away from the Hat.
B. Removing any remaining lint or dust particles
For felt and other fabric fedoras, begin by removing dust with a soft-bristled clothes brush; always brushing with the nap of the fabric. You can also use a lint roller to remove fuzz and dirt. Use it gently to prevent misshaping the hat. For straws, simply wipe with a damp, white cloth to remove dust.
C. Applying a felt hat conditioner or water-repellent spray to protect and enhance the hat's appearance
That’s the last step, also optional.
A. Choosing an appropriate storage method for the felt hat (hat box, hat rack, or hat stand)
Proper hat storage is a big part of maintaining hats. Store it properly and it will keep its shape and look newer and longer.
When not wearing a hat, keep it in a hat box or store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Not only will this keep it as dust-free as possible, but it will keep the hat from color fading.
B. Keeping the hat in a cool, dry place to prevent mold or mildew growth
The most important thing when it comes to felt storage is to avoid water and moisture. Don't leave your hat in a place where water could drip onto it. If possible, try to avoid an overly humid place, like near a shower as well.
B. Avoiding storing the hat in a compressed or folded position to maintain its shape
The best way to store your hats is to turn them upside down so that the crown is at the bottom. Arranging the caps in this way keeps the brim neat. Just keep the crowns on a clean surface and not be smashed or pushed in. If you have more than one hat and need to save space, and they have a similar crown shape, you can nest them together.
At the same time, avoid putting the hat in a narrow space, as it will affect later wear if it is deformed.
Fedora hats were the practical choice for most, worn to protect a person's head from weather and wind. The original style for the fedora hat was made of felt, with a wide brim, an indented crown with a pinched front, and a ribbon accent.
The hat was fashionable for women, and the women's rights movement adopted it as a symbol. If you clean your felt hat regularly, you can make sure it looks good at all times. However, if it needs a deeper cleaning, you can still get it back to its peak position in no time.
Just make sure to store your hat properly once you're done!
Also, any questions, don’t hesitate to comment and let us know!!