Even though hats are no longer as fashionable as in the 19th and 20th centuries, men of discerning taste still prize them. When you step out wearing a hat, you can be sure that you will draw attention to yourself, especially if you are wearing it right and confidently.
When you wear your hats regularly, it is natural that they will become dirty and even lose shape. Considering how much you can pay nowadays to buy a good quality hat, it is worth the while to learn how to keep it looking good year after year.
Often the hats we wear informally, like a sun hat or beach hat, tend to be used and looked after badly. They also undergo rough handling. Caring for your hats will ensure they last longer and look good on you.
However, caring for your hats does not mean that you need to clean them more frequently. It all depends on the kind of hat, the exposure to the elements, how much you sweat, or how you handle it.
Wool Hats and Caps
According to the experts, wool hats and caps are among the most difficult to maintain. It is because the material attracts and collects dust and hair. The best way to ensure that the hat is clean is to purchase a hat brush and brush your hat clean after every use, regardless of whether there is any visible dirt or stains. By ensuring regular cleaning, you will prevent the wool from becoming discolored.
If the hat is dirty, you may want to wash it but make sure you use cold water, not warm, to which you have added a mild detergent formulated for woolen clothes. It can be a good idea to spot-test the hat for color fastness at an inconspicuous place and proceed with the cleaning if the color does not bleed.
Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the hat with the soap solution, and then soak it in a bowl of soapy water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse the hat in cold running water, squeeze the excess water out, pat it dry with a towel, and let it air dry. You can follow the same process for cloth hats and caps.
Hats like boaters, Panama hats, and an assortment of sun hats are typically made of straw, a particularly delicate material, making it necessary for you to handle them with extra care. Various kinds of straw are used in the manufacture of mens hats, which is why; you need to establish the type before you start cleaning it because of varying water resistance and durability. It is best to refer to the care label for instructions or look at the weave in case there is no label. Hats with a loose weave should not be cleaned with water.
You can start the cleaning process by wiping clean the surface of dust, dirt, and, debris with a clean dry cloth, preferably a white cloth, to avoid transferring color from the cloth to the hat. You can dust the hat with talcum powder and brush it away after half an hour. If the hat is still visibly dirty, you should use a cloth dampened with a soap solution.
Wipe in the direction of the weave to avoid damaging the material and let it dry in a cool, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight or any other heat source. You can try to remove extra-stubborn stains with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water in equal proportion.
Handling and Storing Hats
You must handle a hat with care despite what you may have seen in the movies. According to Art of Manliness, you should always hold the hat by the brim, taking care not to handle the crown as much as possible to avoid spoiling its shape. You should never rest the hat flat on its brim, as it will flatten it out. Ideally, you should hang the hat on a hat stand or a peg, and you must keep it on a flat surface; you should turn it upside down and rest it on its crown.
If you are keeping your hats away for some time, it is best to use a hatbox as it prevents them from losing their shape. Always keep hats in a cool dry place to avoid mold and mildew forming on the surface.
Cleaning a hat is all about identifying the material and using the right technique. It is best to brush and wipe down the hat every time you use it to prevent it from becoming too dirty. However, once in a while, you may use a cloth dampened in a detergent solution to get rid of the stains.