John asked: How do I clean a black felt hat? It has deep dust stains and lint on it.
Felt hats are classic and versatile hats that have been around for years. Proper care not only keeps the hat clean and looking good, it is essential for extending the life of the hat. Generally, cleaning and caring for your felt hat is simple and can be done with a few simple steps. Here are the general guidelines for keeping your hat in beautiful, wearable condition.
You Will Need:
- Soft hat brush (dark colored for dark hats and light colored for light hats)
- Wide tape such as masking or painter’s tape
- An absorbent powder
- A vacuum
- A breathable cloth
- Mild soap like shampoo
- Old toothbrush
Steps to Clean the Hat:
- Start by removing dirt from the surface of the hat with a hat brush. Gently brush the surface of the hat starting on the left and working counter-clockwise around to the back.
- To remove lint from the hat, wrap wide tape around your hand so that the sticky side is facing out.
- Gently press the tape against the areas with lint. Apply just enough pressure so the lint will adhere to the tape.
- Lift quickly to remove. You should see the lint transferred to the tape.
- Repeat until all of the lint is removed.
- If the hat is exceptionally dirty and needs a deep cleaning, sprinkle it with an absorbent powder that is a similar color to the felt. For white hats, use baking soda. For dark hats, use wheat germ. Corn meal is a good choice for tan hats. For dyed hats, baking soda is probably the best choice.
- Let the powder sit on the hat for several hours to absorb the dirt and oils.
- Shake off the powder, then wrap a breathable cloth like cheesecloth over a vacuum hose to reduce the suction and use the hose to remove the rest of the powder.
- Brush the hat again with a hat brush.
- Lastly, turn the sweatband down and allow it to dry completely. By turning it out, the oils and perspiration will evaporate rather than soak into the felt on the hat.
- If the sweatband needs to be cleaned, this can be done with great caution not to get the hat wet. Moisten a towel or toothbrush with water and a mild soap. Shampoo works well for this. Gently scrub the sweatband to remove any dirt and stains.
- Rinse and blot it with a soft cloth to dry. Again, avoid getting any water/detergent on the hat as it will leave spots.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- If none of the above processes are helpful, you can try using a pool table felt cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label of your selected product.
- Avoid placing the brim of the hat on a flat surface as it can cause it to flatten and lose its shape. Always set it upside-down on the crown.
- Store your hat in a hat box or on a clean surface to prevent stains and discolorations.
- When moving the hat around, try to adjust it using the brim, rather than the crown. Avoid touching the crown to keep away oils and dirt that may cause spots.
- Heat can cause the sweatband inside of the hat to shrink, leaving you with a hat that is too small. Keep your hat in a cool location.
- If you need a hat stand, one can quickly be made at home by covering an oatmeal container or coffee can.