This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards.
The wikiHow Video Team also followed the article's instructions and verified that they work.
This article has been viewed 126,947 times.
If you’ve never cleaned a straw hat before, you may be perplexed on how you might start. This makes sense. Straw hats are stylish, but they can also be ruined with improper treatment. However, cleaning them when they are dirty and keeping them that way should not overwhelm you. Depending on what type of straw hat you have, there are concrete methods you have at your fingertips to keep them spotless, shiny, and stain-free!
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Cleaning the Hat Download Article
- 1Make sure it can be cleaned. Look to see if the hat has a label of some sort. You might be able to find this under the brim. Once you find it, see if your hat is made up of baku, shantung, or any other material that can be washed with water. It is possible to have a straw hat that cannot be hand-washed. This probably will not be the case.
- 2Remove any extras. Sometimes straw hats will have bands, ribbons, or other decorative pieces on them. If possible, you will want to remove these extra pieces. Don’t do this if the decorations are interwoven into the hat!
- Cleaning the ribbon isn’t difficult! You can dust and hand-wash it. Use a brush to lightly dust away anything that has ended up on the cloth. Also, you can spot clean the ribbon with a wet cloth. After you clean or dust the ribbon, you should use a small amount of steam to freshen it up. You might also try using an iron on a medium setting to go over the ribbon.
- 3Brush the hat. The hat will probably have excess dirt and dust on it. So, you should use a soft bristle brush to scrub that dust and dirt away. You can generally find these at hardware and beauty supply stores. Gently brush the grime off. You don’t want to be too rough, because you can end up harming the fabric of the hat.
- 4Vacuum an extremely dusty hat. For an incredibly dusty hat, you may need an extreme solution. You can try placing netting or pantyhose over a vacuum brush, then using a vacuum on the hat. Again, this should only be used in extreme cases.
- 5Clean the hat with a peroxide solution. Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water in a bowl or bottle. Then, you should either spray a soft cleaning cloth with the bottle, or dip a cloth in the bowl.
- Don’t use a colored cloth because its dye will bleed into your hat. Test a small area of the hat with the solution to make sure it does not damage the hat. Once this has been verified, begin wiping the hat with the cloth. Swipe off as much dirt and grime as possible.
- Make sure that your cloth is damp, but not soaked. You don’t want to get your hat extremely wet.
- 6Clean the hat with soap solution. Combine a tablespoon of dish soap with a cup of hot water in a bowl or bottle. As you did before, dip your cloth in the bowl or spray your cloth with the bottle. Again, verify that the solution will not ruin your hat by placing a small amount on your hat. Rub the cloth in a circular motion to remove the dirt.
- 7Rinse and dry the hat. While most straw hats should not be rinsed, this is a good option if the hat's label clearly says that it is OK to submerge it in water. Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip a cloth in the bowl, take it out, and run it over the entire hat. Put the hat in a cool place, preferably under a shadow, to let it dry. If your hat’s brim is curved, do not lay it on a flat surface.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Removing Stains Download Article
- 1Remove oil stains. Pour a small amount of talcum powder on the stained spot. Wait for an hour or two for the powder to soak up the oil. Use a vacuum or brush to remove the powder.
- 2Remove sweat stains. Whenever you sweat, you should immediate wipe the area with a damp white cloth.XResearch source This will keep the salt from your perspiration from seeping into your hat.
- On dark straw hats, you should use ammonia to get rid of these stains. Mix half a teaspoon of ammonia with half a teaspoon of water in a bowl. Then, dip a small brush into the water mixture and use it to go over the stained area.
- With a light straw hat, you can use a hydrogen peroxide and water mixture. Combine a half teaspoon of each in a bowl. Just take a brush, dip it in the mixture, and lightly scrub the sweat-stained area. Wait for the area to dry before wearing the hat again.
- 3Remove scuffs. Using an art gum eraser, lightly rub scuffed spots. The gum should make the scuffs disappear.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Maintaining Your Hat Download Article
- 1Keep your hat dry. Straw hats can seem more durable than they actually are. However, wetness and dampness can misshape the hat. This means that when your hat gets wet, you should attempt to dry it as quickly as possible.XResearch source Try to put water repellent on your hat every now and then. Not only will this keep your hat safe from water damage, but it will protect it from stains as well.
- When you’re not wearing your hat, place it in a dark, dry area. Put a hat with a curved brim on a mannequin head to keep its shape. You can also simply the tilt the hat upside down and store it in a hat box.
- Don’t let your hat get too hot! If your hat is exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, then the straw can be damaged. The heat will make the straw rigid or cause the synthetic material to melt.
- 2Handle your hat carefully. You want to make sure that your hands are clean before you touch your hat. This is an easy way to prevent your hat from getting dirt and oil on it. When you are taking off your hat, try to hold on to the brim. Too much contact with the crown of the hat can destroy the fibers.
- 3Brighten your hat. Sometimes the straws in your hat can become discolored. To refresh the colors, wipe your hat with cloth dipped in alcohol and water. After you do this, use a piece of black or red velvet to polish the hat. XResearch source
- QuestionWill this method work for synthetic straw hats?Community AnswerYes. Combine a tablespoon of dish soap with a cup of hot water in a bowl or bottle. Put the solution on the hat, then rub off dirt with a cloth.
- QuestionMy hat is cracking. What can I do?Community AnswerPurchase cotton fabric leftovers. Then, cut a piece that is about a third of an inch larger than the cracked area. Use a drying glue on one side of the fabric, then place the fabric on the cracked spot. This should fix the cracked spot.
- Note that a straw hat that gets too wet may shrink.
- If you are unsure about using any of these methods, take the hat to a haberdasher or dry cleaners.
- Do not over spray your hat, as straw hats tend to shrink upon contact with too much water.
- Do not put your hat in the washing machine; this will ruin it.
Things You'll Need
- Mild soapsuds or soap detergent
- Small soft white cleaning cloth
- Hat block or similar shaped item for drying hat over
- Soft bristle brush
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Warm water
- Small spray bottle
- Talcum powder
About This Article
The easiest way to clean a straw hat is to brush away any dirt or dust on it with a soft bristle brush. Alternatively, if you need to wash dirt off your hat, spray a solution of dish soap and hot water onto a cloth, then rub your hat in a circular motion. Next, put the hat in a cool place to dry. If you need to get rid of an oil stain, put some talcum powder on the affected area, leave it to soak up the oil for an hour, and remove the powder with a brush. You can remove sweat stains by wiping the area with a damp cloth. For tips on how to remove scuffs and how to brighten up your hat, read on!