How to Clean a Dress Hat


Whether wearing a dressy hat for a religious service or a day of watching polo, your hat should be dust-free and as polished as you are. A striking hat tops off a stylish outfit, but a dirty hat detracts from your appearance. Your choice of hat-care technique depends on the fabric and style of the hat. Hiring a professional hat-cleaning service is a handy idea, but when that's not possible, cleaning your dress hat yourself is a good option. In between cleanings, store your hat in hat box away from extreme temperatures and moisture.

Things You'll Need

  • Tea kettle
  • Pot
  • Hat brush
  • Powdered hat cleanser
  • Whisk broom
  • Window cleaner
  • Cloth
  • Nylon bristle brush
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Baby shampoo
  • Minks oil
  • Neatsfoot oil

Wool, Felt and Fur Hats

  • Fill a tea kettle or pot with water and bring it to the boil. The kettle or pot should be steaming. Use caution around the steam, as it can cause burns.

  • Hold the hat over the steam a few seconds at a time. Brush the hat with a hat brush, moving the brush counterclockwise. Continue to steam sections of the hat, then brush. The steam action loosens up ground in dirt and debris.

  • Treat deep stains with a powder hat cleanser. Sprinkle the powder on the hat while it is dry. Rub the stained areas with the hat brush.

  • Hang the hat on a peg or flip it upside down to store it.

Cleaning Straw Hats

  • Brush the brim and crown of a straw hat with a small whisk broom. Use a gentle stroke and do not pinch the crown while holding the hat. Pinching the straw can break it.

  • Spritz a stain with window cleaner. Rub the stain with a clean, dry cloth to lift it away.

  • Wipe away moisture from rain promptly to avoid mildew or staining.

Leather and Suede Leather Hat Care

  • Brush a suede hat with a nylon bristle brush. Clean a leather hat with a slightly damp cloth. Wipe the hat clean of dust.

  • Buff matted suede with a piece of 120-grit sandpaper. This will raise the matting and restore the hat's soft look. Do not sandpaper a regular leather hat.

  • Remove an oily stain from a suede hat by mixing one part mild baby shampoo with 15 parts of warm water, then dampening a cloth with the mixture. Press the oily area with the cloth to remove some of the oils. It is impossible to completely remove an oil stain from suede.

  • Oil a regular leather hat once a year, or as needed, using minks or neatsfoot oil. By oiling the leather, you prevent cracking and fading.

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