History of Straw hats & Felt
hats - Hat care
dealing with vintage hats, purists never wear them, less strict collectors
wear them when their hair is very clean, and nobody takes the aging
hat out in a downpour. Straw hats will collapse. Keep a close eye
on the weather when wearing vintage hats. If you are caught in the
rain with your felt hat, turn out the sweatband to dry it, and provide
a platform for the hat to slowly dry on. Gently push out the creases
and dents to make the crown as rounded as possible. Never use a hair
dryer as this will wrinkle and damage the hat. Once the hat is dry,
gently reform the creases.
Dust your hat frequently with a soft-bristled brush. Stiff bristled
brushes will tear the felt. Use a dark colored brush for dark hats
and a light colored brush for light hats.
A damp towel with a slight nap can also be used to remove dust.
Gently rub the dampened towel in a circular counterclockwise motion,
over the surface to quickly remove dust.
For stubborn stains the brush will not reach, try using a soft,
small-pored sponge such as a makeup sponge, which works well; or
a bit of foam rubber. Rubber sponges are slightly sticky and will
coax surface soiling away from the felt. An art-gum eraser will work
as well, as long as you remember to rub with a counterclockwise motion
to the grain.
If stains remain, find a professional renovator for your hat. Heavy
sweat stains, for example, need professional attention as they penetrate
deep into the body of the felt.
Proper handling will extend the life of your hat. Never touch your
hat with dirty, oily hands. Pick up your hat from underneath by both
the front and back brim to maintain the shape and set of the brim.
Resting a hat on a hat stand or block will make this operation easier.
Avoid resting your hat on any flat surface. To preserve the pitch,
or scope of the brim, the lower front of the brim should hang over
the edge of any surface it is resting on. Hats left on table tops
bow up in the front and back, while bending the sides downward and
forever deforming the shape of the brim. If need be, you can also
rest a hat on its crown, provided you place it on a clean surface.
A straw hat can be kept clean and fresh-looking much longer if it
is brushed regularly with an ordinary whisk broom. If a straw hat
gets wet, first wipe off the surplus water with a clean dry cloth.
If it is a sports straw, worn snapped down in front, turn the brim
up all around. If your straw hat has a bad soaking, the sweat band
should be turned out, and the hat stood on it's band while drying.
This permits air circulation to all parts.
With proper handling and care, a quality hat will remain a thing
of beauty and a source of pride for years to come.