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How to Clean a Felt Cowboy Hat

By Taylor James


Updated on

Every type of hat is made from different materials, and different materials have their own care instructions. At the same time, some hats are worn outdoors more often than others, which may expose them to the elements like sun, wind, rain, and dirt. A perfect example of this kind of hat is the cowboy hat.

Whether you’re wearing your cowboy hat as a fashion statement or doing actual work on a ranch in the summer, the material of your cowboy hat will play a role in how you go about caring for it.

Double check the hat is made from felt. Ensure the cowboy hat is dry, use a soft bristle and consider felt sponges for stubborn stains.

felt cowboy hat

While many cowboy hats are made of straw or leather, one of the most popular materials used in the manufacturing of cowboy hats is felt. As such, the likelihood is high that if you have a cowboy hat, it may be made of felt and should be cared for accordingly. Here are some quick instructions on how to best care for and clean a felt cowboy hat.

Check the tag in the cowboy hat

Just because you think your cowboy hat is made of felt doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re correct! The first thing you should do before cleaning any hat is to check the manufacturer’s tag for care instructions. While not all hats will have instructions on how to wash or clean your hat, it’s crucial that you always check to ensure that you follow the appropriate steps and heed any warnings about hat care the tag might provide.

Make sure your felt cowboy hat is dry

Before you begin to clean your felt cowboy hat, you want to make sure that the hat is dry. You should never attempt to use a soft brush or sponge on a wet hat. Similarly, you should never fully submerge your hat in water in an attempt to clean it. Not only can excess moisture damage the felt fibers that give your cowboy hat its distinctive look, but it can also harm the hatband and make your cowboy hat sit funny on your head. As such, you should make sure that your cowboy hat is completely dry before moving on to the next step in cleaning. Read more on the impact of water on felt hats in this article.

Use a soft bristle

When cleaning your hat, use a soft bristle brush and gentle circular motions to clean debris and dirt from the hat. Using more abrasive cleaning supplies may permanently damage your hat or alter its coloration. As you clean your cowboy hat using a soft bristle brush, start at the front of the hat, and then work your way around the brim in a counterclockwise manner until you’ve gently brushed all surfaces of the hat.

Consider sponges or felt cleaners only for stubborn stains

After you’ve followed the above steps, there is a chance that your hat may still have a stain that’s refusing to cooperate. In these instances, it may be worth using a slightly tougher sponge to try and get the stain out.  You’ll want to be quite careful as you use the sponge so as not to damage the hat. Additionally, this sort of scenario may warrant the use of a felt cleaner (Amazon).

If you clean your felt cowboy hat regularly, you’ll be able to keep it looking as good as new for many years to come. Especially if you’ve been outside sweating in your hat, make sure to give it a quick clean as soon as possible in order to maintain its condition.

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.