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5 Great Tips on How to Stop Your Hat From Smelling Bad

By Taylor James


Updated on

Cleaning your favourite, precious hats can be a stressful task. After all, how do you go about making sure your hat smells nice without ruining its structure, colour, or material? Well, it turns out the solution might be simpler than you think. Take a deep breath and let’s get started! Check out some of these easy tips that will have your hat as its best-smelling version yet.

Pre-treat your stains

Pre-treating stained areas with a hint of laundry detergent can do wonders for making sure you get the best out of the cleaning process. To do this, simply dab and gently rub your stained area. Use gentle motions and gentle products, doing everything in your power to guarantee an easy and stress-free bath.

Air-dry your hat

Air-drying your hat correctly is a crucial step in ensuring you maintain the structure and quality of your hat. Air-drying allows your hat to retain its original shape, and does not put your item at risk of being severely and irreversibly warped due to intense movement.

If done gently and correctly, washing your hat can be a great way to give it a refresh once odour begins to build up. Nonetheless, it is always a great idea to work at preventing these smells before they become a problem.

hats hanging to air on beach

Air-out your hat whenever possible

After wearing your hat for a long period of time – particularly if heat and sweat are involved – make sure to air it out as soon as you get home; giving your hat plenty of fresh air to dry out will minimize any bad odours that may result from the moisture.


Air-fresheners designed to go in shoes are a great way to keep your hat smelling pleasant for longer. Pick subtle smells that won’t bother you when the time comes to wear your hat. If you can’t find a store-bought scent that you enjoy, personalize your own. Add dried lavender to a mesh bag and place it inside your hat as it gets some air. Febreze is a great option for removing smells from fabrics. This Febreze Unstopables range (Amazon) is particularly effective at removing smells from hats.

Consider your specific style

It’s no use to try and clean every hat in the world the same way. In fact, doing so is a horrible idea. Different hats are made from different materials, and therefore may require entirely different cleaning methods.

It’s all about keeping your specific hat in mind, targeting the style that you are looking to clean. Remember, what may have worked for your baseball cap most certainly won’t do the trick just the same for your felt fedora.

Read more about cleaning methods in this article.

Be gentle!

While, yes, some hats may have survived the washing machine, but it is a safe bet to assume you are better off taking care of your accessory by hand. Whether this means using a damp cloth or fully washing your hat in your sink, hand-washing is a much more gentle process, and leaves you feeling in control of every step and decision along the way.

There you have it – simple and easy ways to care for your hat. For special styles, make sure to consult with your hat maker to get specific advice – good luck and happy cleaning.

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.