How to Clean a Dress Hat

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Special occasions call for special attire -- some events may even present a perfect opportunity to wear a dress hat. Although the days when men and women regularly wore finely made dress hats are long past, hats have continued to hold a prominent status in fashion as a classically stylish accessory. Whether your special dress hat is fur felt, wool or suede, you’ll need to dust it off and give it a thorough cleaning before wearing it in public. Read the care tag attached to the hat before attempting any cleaning method. If you are unsure of the material used in the hat, consult a professional cleaner or trusted hat maker before cleaning.

Fur Felt and Wool Hats

Step 1

Wash your hands thoroughly with hand soap and warm water to guard against oil and dirt transfers.

Step 2

Fill a steam kettle with water and place it on the stove. Turn the burner under the kettle to high heat.

Step 3

Hold the hat over the steaming kettle for about five seconds to loosen dirt and oils present in the material. Take care to avoid exposing your skin to the steam.

Step 4

Brush the steamed portion of the hat vigorously in a counterclockwise direction with a felt hat brush to remove dirt and oil. Repeat the action over the entire surface of the hat until all dirt and oil is removed.

Step 5

Store the hat on a hat peg or on its crown upside-down in a cardboard box. Keep the hat in a cool, dry space. Do not store hats in direct sunlight.

Suede Hats

Step 1

Wash your hands thoroughly with hand soap and warm water to guard against oil and dirt transfers.

Step 2

Brush the entire surface of the hat with a suede brush to remove dirt, dust and oils. Gently buff heavily soiled areas with a square of 120-grit sandpaper.

Step 3

Mix one part baby shampoo with 15 parts warm water in a medium bowl or clean sink. Stir the solution until the shampoo is thoroughly dissolved.

Step 4

Dampen the suede brush bristles in the shampoo solution. Brush out any sweat stains and makeup marks from the material with firm, rapid motions.

Step 5

Allow the hat to air dry. Store it on a hat peg or on its crown in a cardboard box. Keep the hat in a cool dry space. Do not store hats in direct sunlight.

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