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How to Clean a Cowboy Hat: Care Tips for Straw and Wool Felt Hats

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat: Care Tips for Straw and Wool Felt Hats

Whether you're wearing it for fashion, competition, or a hard day's work, it's important to know how to clean a cowboy hat so it looks and fits great for a long time. But cleaning is only half the battle — knowing how to store a cowboy hat properly also determines how long your favorite headgear will last. While there are many kinds of cowboy hat materials, we'll be focusing on two of the most common: felt and straw.

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat Made of Straw

The best thing you can do before cleaning a straw cowboy hat (or any cowboy hat, for that matter) is to look for a tag or label that lists care information. Not all straw cowboy hats are made with the same kinds of straw, so some may be more durable and water resistant than others. The tightness of the weave also plays a role in how much your straw hat can stand up to water.

When you're doing low-level maintenance to keep dust and dirt from accumulating on your straw cowboy hat, simply use a hat brush or a small whisk broom to brush it away. Set stains are usually taken care of with a light amount of soap and water, hat cleaning solution or even window cleaner! However, if you're dealing with a real mess, you'll need a cleaning process that's a bit more in-depth. Before cleaning your straw hat, take off any appliques, ribbons or trim, if possible. Using a cleaning mixture like the ones suggested above, gently rub a clean white washcloth in a circular motion on the soiled areas until they go away.

While you'll need to rinse certain areas of your hat after scrubbing it, try not to submerge your straw hat in water because this can damage it. Finally, set your hat aside to air dry either on a hat rack or in an open hat box that will help it retain its shape.

How to Clean a Felt Cowboy Hat

Just like with straw cowboy hats, check the inside of your cowboy hat to see if there are any tags or labels with specifications for care. You should also never submerge felt cowboy hats while cleaning — you could permanently damage the material or the sweatband, which could shrink and cause your hat to no longer fit properly.

Follow these steps to clean your felt cowboy hat:

  • Always clean your felt cowboy hat while it is dry, NOT wet.
  • Using a soft bristle brush, start at the front of your hat and work your way toward the back in a counterclockwise manner.
  • If you're dealing with more difficult stains, special sponges and sandpaper can be used along with felt hat cleaners to remove them.

How to Clean a White Felt Cowboy Hat

White hats of any kind are going to require a little extra maintenance to keep them free of dirt and dust. Along with the care process we listed above, you can use a lint roller to pick up loose debris that has your hat looking less than perfect. Be especially careful not to get stains on your white felt hat — if you're not able to remove them completely, your white hat will start to look like a spotted one! For a thorough, spot-free clean, use Scout Light Felt Hat Cleaner, carried right here at NRS.

How to Waterproof a Wool Felt Hat

One way to proactively prevent water damage and staining on your felt cowboy hat is to waterproof it. This is easy to do! You can use a waterproofing spray similar to what you could find in a shoe store for protecting suede and leather shoes. NRS carries the M&F Scout Felt Hat Care Kit for waterproofing and general maintenance; it comes with a felt hat cleaner and a rain and stain protector to keep your hat water-repellent and stain-resistant.

Alternatively, you can use a waterproof plastic cover for complete protection of the crown and brim. This is a great precaution to take if you'll be wearing your hat out on a day when it's forecasted to rain. Both solutions will seal off your felt hat from moisture and help it stay in great condition.

How to Store a Cowboy Hat

No matter what type of cowboy hat you own, storage plays a key role in preserving its good looks. A cowboy hat should always be stored in a dry place that doesn't get too hot or too cold. Most hats have a high-quality leather sweatband that will shrink if it gets too hot or is in direct sunlight for long periods of time.

Hat racks are a popular option for storing multiple cowboy hats at once. However, while a hat rack in a dry, clean environment may work temporarily, the best way to ensure lasting quality is to use a hat can. A hat can is exactly what it sounds like: a container in which you store your hat. They're specifically designed with a cowboy hat's shape in mind, with curves to support the brim rather than a flat bottom that could cause your hat to wilt over time. If you stop by one of our NRS locations, our hat experts can show you how to properly store your hat in a hat can.

Shop All Cowboy Hats at NRS

Now that you know how to clean a cowboy hat properly, it's time you brought one home! NRS is proud to offer one of the finest varieties of cowboy hats online, which includes styles from beloved brands like Stetson, Resistol and American Hat. View our full selection or visit us in store today!

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