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Best Tips for Washing Hats

By Taylor James


Updated on

Even our most beloved and precious hats are made for wearing, which means enjoying them means making them vulnerable to sweat and dirt build up over time. Of course, we love both the shade and the style aspect of our best hats, and the consequences are inevitable – but there really is no need to stress.

Washing our new and old hats might seem intimidating, but all it takes is the right advice to ensure your hats stay smelling fresh and looking their best.

Here is some of the best hat washing advice to get you started!

  1. Check the label!
  2. Don’t forget the sweat band
  3. Always air dry
  4. Steam

Before we go into any more detail into these tried-and-true techniques, let’s start with this: being gentle is the main trick to washing your hats effectively – less is often more.

Cleaning a hat

1. Check the label

While there are a few general hat-washing tips, the best place to start is always your specific hat. Different materials and hat makers might have specific requirements or instructions for the best way to go about the cleaning process. Our tip? The hat maker knows best! Follow any specific instructions before venturing off and doing your own thing – this can be the smartest move in making sure that your hat stays in its best condition as you continue to enjoy it!

2. Don’t forget the sweatband

The sweatband on the inside of our hats gets its name for a reason. Cleaning it is essential to get rid of sweat build up, makeup, and unpleasant smells. It’s always best to go the gentle route, both with products and with technique. When it comes to making the right cleaning solution, start with a teaspoon of mild detergent and cold water. Lift the sweatband, putting a cloth in between it and the main structure of the hat. Dip another cloth in the soap mixture and begin to gently rub on the parts you wish to clean, always making sure to not leave the sweatband or the cloth overly saturated. Make your way around the whole sweatband and you’re good to go! Flip up the band for drying.

3. Always air dry

Speaking of the drying process… letting your hats dry naturally after you have cleaned them is always your best bet in ensuring your accessories keep their structure and material intact. Any material can suffer from heat sources for the drying process, but straw hats can see worse consequences – they may become immediately brittle and very likely to fray and crack.

4. Steam

Baby wipes are recommended for keeping straw hats moisturised, and many hat owners also love to rely on this hack to keep them clean and smelling good. If that isn’t doing the trick for you, steaming your straw hat might work wonders! Beyond being able to keep your hat from becoming dry and fragile, steam can also be a great way to get rid of smells.

Good luck and happy hat washing!

Check out this article for tips on washing a hat in the washing machine.

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.