How to Care for Berets

by Zoe Maletta
The beret is a timeless fashion piece -- but only when you take good care of it.

The beret is a timeless fashion piece -- but only when you take good care of it.

In 1943 British soldiers gave maroon berets to their American counterparts in the 509th Parachute Infantry as a thank-you gift for their service. Since then, the beret has not only made its way as standard American military headgear, it also enjoys status as a classic fashion statement. Usually made from wool felt, cotton or fleece, a beret can stay looking new with proper care and storage.

Keep It Looking Good

Brush the beret with a stiff-bristled hat or clothing brush to remove dust, lint and debris.

Apply lint removal tape to detach especially stubborn lint.

Spot clean small stains. Dampen a dry piece of cloth with fabric stain remover and then press against the stain to saturate. Wipe the cloth gently back and forth. Rinse the spot thoroughly with a water-dampened cloth and lay the beret flat to dry.

Full-On Cleaning

Take wool berets to your dry-cleaner. Washing it with water may result in shrinkage.

Hand-wash fleece or cotton berets. Fill your sink or washtub with cold water and add a small capful of a gentle formula liquid detergent. After soaking and swishing the hat in the water for a few minutes, rinse it thoroughly under cold water.

Lay the beret flat to dry on a terry cloth towel.

Store It Safely

Wrap the beret in a plastic bag.

Lay the wrapped beret in a small hat box -- photo storage boxes often work well, too.

Place a lavender sachet or moth balls inside the box to keep pests away.

Items you will need

  • Stiff-bristled hat or clothing brush
  • Lint removal tape
  • Fabric stain remover
  • Gentle-formula liquid detergent
  • Small hat box
  • Lavender sachets


  • Remove decorative pins from your beret before brushing or cleaning.


  • When spot-cleaning or hand-washing your beret, remember that the hotter your water is, the more likely the hat will shrink.

About the Author

Zoe Maletta writes on a variety of topics with special focus on leadership, careers and small business management. Professionally writing since 2007, her many publishers include "The Houston Chronicle", "Global Post Careers" and "The Nest." When she's not writing, Maletta enjoys making memories with family and participating in church ministry. Maletta holds both a B.S.and an M.A. in counseling.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images