Why Hats Shrink and How to Prevent It From Happening

Shrinkage is a common affliction amongst hat enthusiasts since hats do tend to constrict over the years. Oftentimes, the shrinking process happens regardless of the materials from which the hats are made, making it all the more frustrating when the goal is to stop this from happening in the first place.

So, why do hats shrink? Well, the bad news is the two main culprits for this cause are certainly tough to escape – especially in the context of actually putting your hats to good use. On the other hand, working to understand the causes behind this process can certainly offer some assistance in trying to prevent this from happening in the first place! Let’s find out more:

  1. Hats shrink due to exposure to heat and moisture
  2. Whether or not hats shrink overtime in the first place can be attributed to the fabric from which they are made
  3. To prevent hats from shrinking, you have to know and understand the material of your hat well and be proactive about its maintenance
A wet hat on the beach

1. Hats shrink due to exposure to heat and moisture

Exposure to elements such as heat and moisture in extreme quantities, or consistently over time, nearly always plays a major role in shrinking hats. For this reason, refrain from putting your hat directly into conditions of excess moisture and heat when given the choice. While hats are meant to protect us from the sun and consequently come into contact with our sweat, other instances of these circumstances can be avoided. Rather than placing your hat directly inside the washing machine, opt instead for a more gentle and less abrasive cleaning method, making sure to only use the absolute necessary amount of moisture and soap to keep your hat smelling great and fresh for your next use. When it comes to post-wash hat maintenance, air-drying in a dry space, away from any direct sunlight, is the best way to go.

2. Whether or not hats shrink overtime in the first place can be attributed to the fabric from which they are made

It’s only logical to know that the material of the hat dictates its tendency to shrink more or less over time. That being said, it’s extremely important for you to be aware of the fabric of your hat in order to know about all of the necessary care instructions for the maintenance of its best condition. Cotton, for example, is highly susceptible to shrinkage as a result of heat exposure. Cotton fibres will constrict when coming into contact with severe or consistent heat, while polyester is more robust and less prone to this natural shrinking process. Read more about the pros and cons of polyester hats in this article.

It’s also important to note that “exposure to the elements” isn’t exclusive to circumstances of extreme conditions, but also refers to simple, consistent exposure to different weather – after all, hats are often used as shields from the sun. Daily exposure, along with daily moisture from sweat, for example, can also have the same shrinking effect over time.

3. To prevent hats from shrinking, you have to know and understand the material of your hat well and be proactive about its maintenance

While there is nothing we can do about limiting our hats exposures to hot weather (if we want to wear them, that is,) taking care of your accessory preventively over time might decrease the negative impact of this consequence – washing it carefully according to the material’s instructions and not leaving your hat exposed to the sun in moments when you are not wearing it, for example, are great places to start. In summary, make sure to always check your hat’s instructions for the appropriate, proactive ways to care for it and prevent extreme shrinkage.

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