How to Clean a Dress Hat

by Chance Henson

    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.

    Items you will need

    • Hand soap
    • Steam kettle
    • Felt hat brush
    • Suede brush
    • Sandpaper, 120 grit
    • Baby shampoo
    • Cardboard box

    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.

    Tip

    • Read the care tag attached to your hat before attempting to clean it.

    Warnings

    • Never expose suede, felt or wool hats to extreme heat for long periods.
    • Exercise caution when working with hot steam. Steam can cause burns when it comes in contact with bare skin.

    About the Author

    Chance Henson earned a B.A. in English literature and a writing minor from Lamar University. While interning at the "University Press" newspaper and "UP Beat" magazine he received an award for news feature writing from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. Henson went on to serve as content editor for "CUSH Magazine," eventually leaving to pursue the development of an online secular humanist educational publication.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images