After being out of fashion for many years, hats are making waves on the fashion front in many countries. Of course, there are always people who care two hoots about fashion and wear hats for protection from the sun and the wind. Regardless of why you are wearing a hat, it is natural that with regular use, your hat will become dirty even if you try your best to avoid accidents. Some of the top methods of keeping your prized hat clean and retaining its good looks for years:
Cleaning Hats – Some General Considerations
Take note of the material: Many of the materials used to make hats cannot stand up to water well and hence need special care to prevent them from getting spoiled. It is best to read the manufacturer’s label for specific washing instructions. If your hat does not have one, it is best to ask the store you are buying it from. If you are not in a position to get expert advice, you should try to determine the material and go online for the best ways of cleaning it. When in doubt, make it a point not to expose it to water or harsh cleaning agents.
Age of the hat and dirtiness: The age of the hat is a vital factor in deciding the method of cleaning it. Many hats materials tend to become brittle or fragile with age, so you need to take more care of them. Also, the extent of dirt accumulation should influence your decision regarding the method of cleaning your hat.
Hold and handle the hat properly: It is vital to handle the hat correctly while cleaning it and otherwise to prevent it from getting damaged or losing shape. Always make it a point to hold the hat by the brim, not the crown. It is best to hold the hat where the brim is close to the crown to prevent the brim from getting distorted. Many experts say it is better to hold the bat by the crown because it holds its shape better than the brim, which is generally more fragile. It is especially true for hats for big heads since they are larger.
Ensure your hands are clean: Many hat materials are dirt and stain magnets. You must wash and dry your hands before handling and cleaning them. You don’t want any dirt or grease to pass onto your hat from your hands and create more work for you.
Top Tips for Spot Cleaning Your Hat
If you notice your hat has become grubby and there are stains on it, you should try to spot clean it. While it may not eliminate all the stubborn stains immediately, you can consider it as an excellent way of making a start for hats made of straw, felt, fur, leather, suede, and other delicate materials you can wash in water.
Check the health of the hat: As a hat grows older, its strength and flexibility can reduce. A hat that is brittle needs more gently cleaning to prevent damage. You can find out the hat’s condition by gently bending the brim at some points to see if it is flexible. If the hat seems too fragile for home cleaning, you may need to give it to a professional.
Dust with a garment brush: Use a soft-bristle clothes brush or even a special hat brush to remove the dust and debris from the surface of the hat. Use gentle anticlockwise movements.
Use a damp cloth: If the hat remains visibly dirty after brushing, use a damp, not wet cloth to wipe it down. You should pay special attention to the stains. You can use a mild soap solution in lukewarm water to dab the stubborn stains. Test out the effect of the soapy solution on an inconspicuous part to see if the colors run. Make sure you use a lint-free white cloth for cleaning to avoid any transfer of color to the hat. According to the Gentleman’s Gazette, you can use alcohol on straw hats to clean them.
After cleaning the hat, allow it to dry naturally. Do not dry it in front of a heat source or the sun. To ensure your hat does not lose shape over time, you should always hang it on a hook or a peg that is broad enough not to create a dimple in the hat. Remember, hats are delicate things, and it does not take too much for them to lose shape and become ill-fitting. If you don’t have a hat stand, you can keep it flat but make sure that you rest it upside down on the crown and not leave it on the brim to prevent it from flattening. For long-term storage, it is sensible to buy a hatbox, which will protect it from dust and moisture while providing support for the crown and the brim.