If you have found a hat you love then you need to know how to look after at and keep it looking as good as the day you first wore it, hats do of course age and wear over time but if cared for they will age well and you will add character over time.
Firstly, it is important to handle a hat correctly for fedoras try to avoid picking the hat up by the crown, try to handle by the front and back of the brim to preserve the shape of the crown. For flat caps grasp the hat by the peak. Always try to ensure your hands are clean as dirt and grease from your fingers will transfer to the hat over time.
How to clean your hat.
A top tip for successful cleaning of a hat is to take great care and be as gentle as possible working a little at a time as delicate fabrics can be easily ruined by aggressive or abrasive cleaning.
For felt hats generally a soft bristled brush can be used to carefully brush away lint and dust. A dampened cloth will also do this job well, but ensure that the cloth is not to wet or made of a fluffy fabric which will transfer lint to the hat. Stains can be addressed in various ways. Some can be removed by brushing however you can also use a small pored sponge such as a makeup sponge to gently coax the stain off of the felt, however be careful to move the sponge in the direction of the nap of the felt as you will destroy the look of the hat. Grease stains are hard to remove and are best dealt with by a professional. However, if you want to tackle it yourself Fullers Earth is a good way to draw oil out of a hat, putting a little on the stain and leaving to sit for a few hours and brushing off, a few applications may be required but this generally works and any residue which has sunk in to the grain of the hat can be removed with a sponge. To help to avoid sweat stains you can put paper towels inside the sweatband to help to avoid staining from perspiration, keep changing the towels from time to time to keep the hat fresh in the summer months.
Straw Hats need a gentle brush with care not to destroy the straw and a wipe with a dampened cloth will remove most dirt and dust.
A lint roller or brush will keep a flat cap looking at its best.
A little steam from a kettle will generally revive any hat that has lost its shape, felt, cloth or straw. Again work carefully as not only is steam very hot and dangerous, it’s very easy to scold yourself so do take care. Remember too much steam will potentially ruin your hat. Once you have steamed the hat gently coax it back into shape and allow it to dry on a stand as placing hats on a flat surface will generally cause them to slump and ruin the shape.
What if my hat gets wet?
Hats will inevitably get wet as we get caught out by mother nature from time to time. It should not be a problem if the hat is allowed to dry out properly as quickly as possible after it has been in the rain. Do not use a hair dryer on your hat as it will create shrinkage. Allow the hat to dry naturally in a well ventilated area away from a direct heat source. Always try to dry a hat on a stand after gently blotting off the excess water with a towel. With fedoras you can fold out the sweatband to allow it to dry fully. You can apply a waterproofing spray to your hat to help it resist water a little better.
Correct storage of a hat is essential to prolong its life. If you are storing your hats in a box ensure they are dry and that if you are putting multiple hats on top of each other ensure the heavier items go to the bottom and that hats are stored in the correct sizing order, smallest on the bottom to avoid crushing. We use foam spacers or tissue to help the hats to keep their shape. If just one hat is going into the box its best to put it in crown side down so that you can pick it out with the brim. If you have tissue paper, you can make a little nest for the crown to sit in.
It is best not to store a hat on a hook as it will create a mark over time, if you do use a hook ensure it is wide and soft to support the hat fully.
If you are storing a straw hat over the winter months try to keep it in a box as dust will get into all the little creases.
Try to store hats away from direct sunlight as this will fade the colour.