If you are one of the many bitten by the cowboy hat bug, you will find yourself hankering to wear one every time you step out of the home to attend a casual occasion or even relax on the beach. According to Cosmopolitan magazine, the term Cowboy Hat is a synonym for just about all types of western hats. Even though you are sure to take every precaution to prevent it from getting dirty, it is natural it will accumulate dust, dirt, and grime, and even worse if it gets wet in the rain. Some handy tips for taking good care of your precious cowboy hat so that it keeps looking good for a long time:
Identify the Material of Your Cowboy Hat
The first step in taking care of your hat is identifying the material of your cowboy hat. Typically, three materials are popular – felt, straw, and leather. The method of cleaning your hat will depend on the material because each of them has different.
Get Ready to Clean
How you hold your hat during the cleaning process is vital because if you apply too much pressure on the wrong part, your hat can easily lose shape. You should hang your hat on a hat stand or keep it on a firm surface free of dirt and grease. Try to hold your hat by the sweatband to make s little contact with the hat as possible. It is important not to put too much pressure on the crown or the brim to avoid deforming it.
Cleaning a Felt, Wool, or Fur Cowboy Hat
Brush your cowboy hat with a soft bristle brush, ideally made of horsehair or other natural fiber. Begin at the crown and brush your hat thoroughly with an anti-clockwise movement. Work your way from the crown to the brim and out. By brushing, you will be able to remove all loose debris like dust, fibers, dirt, and other gunk that every hat that sees regular use collects over time. If you find the sweatband stained with sweat and oil, you can sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch to help absorb it. You will need to keep the talcum powder on the sweatband for several hours for the best result. Use the brush to remove the excess powder once you are through. Do not make the mistake of using water or any kind of detergent on your felt, wool, or fur cowboy hat. If it gets wet, stuff a bunch of newspapers into it and let it dry naturally without using a hair drier or an iron.
Cleaning a Straw Cowboy Hat
There are plenty of variations in the manufacture of straw cowboy hats. While you cannot clean the original hand-made ones made of natural straw with water, you can machine-wash many machine-made varieties made with synthetic materials. However, you must check the manufacturer’s label to see what is permissible. If the manufacturer has not provided any care instructions, you can scrutinize the weave of the hat. If the weave is tight, you can use a damp cloth to clean it, but if you are unsure, it is prudent to avoid using water at all. Instead, clean the hat with a clean cloth of a soft brush to remove superficial dust and debris. It is important to use a white cloth since most straw cowboy hats are colored light, and you do not want to risk transferring any dye from the cloth to the hat, recommends https://americanhatmakers.com/ .
If your hat is more than superficially dirty, you can clean it by wetting a soft cloth and cleaning it with mild dish soap but only after testing it on a patch to make sure that the hat material responds well to the cleaning method. Make sure that the cloth is damp, not dripping wet as the excess moisture can ruin your hat. An anti-clockwise movement of your hand is the best to avoid damaging the weave of the hat. Leave the hat to dry in an area away from direct sunlight, preferably on a hat stand or upside down. Do not use a room heater or hair drier to dry the hat.
Cleaning a Leather Cowboy Hat
The best way of cleaning a leather cowboy hat is to first brush away the dirt and debris with a soft brush or a clean cloth. If you find that the hat has oil or sweat stains, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder and leave aside for a few hours or overnight. The starch or talc will absorb the stains, and you can then brush away the residues to get a clean and fresh surface. While it is never a good idea to allow leather cowboy hats to come in contact with water, however, if your hat is heavily soiled, you can use a damp cloth to clean it thoroughly. Make sure that the cloth is not dyed to avoid the color getting transferred to the hat. After cleaning it, blot the hat’s surface with a clean towel and hang it on a hat stand in a well-ventilated area to allow it to dry naturally. Be extra careful if the hat is made of suede as it is more prone to water staining. You must make sure that you avoid using deodorants, perfumes, hairsprays, etc. that contain alcohol on your hat as they tend to dry it out and damage them. Once in a while, you must revive the leather with a good quality leather conditioner so that your hat does not dry and develop cracks or fade.
When you use your cowboy hat regularly, you should hang it on a hat stand to air it out properly without losing its shape. If you don’t have a hat stand, keep it upside down resting on the crown on a flat surface. When handling them, hold them by the crown, not by the brim to avoid damaging their formation and shape. If you plan not to use your hat for a long time, it is best to keep it in a hat storage box in a cool dry place.