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Dry Clean Hat

How to Dry Clean a Hat – Every Thing You Should Know

What’s one thing our hats and caps might be scared of? WATER. Though most hats and caps are washable, it is always a risk that we take. Water tends to shrink or stretch the hat or cap if not washed the correct way. So, what’s really the solution? Dry Clean Hats. You might be wondering, isn’t dry cleaning very expensive? It sure is, but did you know you could dry clean at home as well?

Dry cleaning hats are particularly effective if your hats and caps are made of very fragile fabrics like wool, silk, velvet, felt, leather, etc. If you are not ready to risk your hat by washing it with water and are worried about your hat, this is the perfect article for you. We will be guiding you on all possible dry cleaning methods for your hats, both at home and at a professional dry cleaner.

In the next 5-10 minutes, you’ll know if you can dry clean your hats and caps on your own, or you need to seek professional help!

What Does Dry Clean Mean?

In simple terms, dry clean means ‘cleaning without water. In more professional terms, dry clean involves cleaning fabrics using chemical solvents that are free of water

A DIY dry clean can be effectively carried out using simple products in the easiest of ways. At a professional dry cleaner’s, things are a little more complex. 

Read on to know further!

Dry Clean at Home or at a Dry Cleaners – How to Choose?

It sure is a task to decide if you want to dry clean at home or at a professional dry cleaner’s. But hey, isn’t that why we are here for? We’ve made an easy-breezy checklist cum questionnaire down here to help you decide which method to go for. 

Try answering each of these questions, and you’ll get the answer you need!

1. What is Your Hat Made Of?

One of the most important factors is to know what your hat is made of. If your hat is made of leather, natural silk, and natural furs, it is best to take them to a professional cleaner because they can be a little difficult to handle on your own.

 For other fabrics like linen, straw, wool, fleece, felt, etc., that are delicate, we would always advise a home dry clean first before taking it to a professional dry cleaner.

2. How Soiled Is Your Hat?

Heavily soiled hats and caps require professional help for the best results. If your hat is just mildly stained, you can go for a dry clean at home.

3. Does Your Hat Have Embellishments?

Not all hats and caps come plain. Many of them, especially hats, come with sequins, ribbons, buttons, applique work, and many other decorative items. A lot of times, they are removable. In such cases, you can first try a dry clean at home. 

But at times, these embellishments are not removable. In such cases, do not try to wash the hats on your own. Seek professional help!

4. What does the Hat Care Label Say?

The hat care label can solve almost all your problems. If your delicate fabric label says ‘DRY CLEAN ONLY,’ it’s best to follow the rule. Depending on how dirty the hat is, you can opt for a dry clean at home or a professional.

IMPORTANT: If your hat has a ‘DRY CLEAN ONLY’ mention, you need to check if there are instructions to avoid a particular type of dry clean solvent as well. Some tags come with ‘DRY CLEAN ANY SOLVENT EXCEPT TRICHLOROETHYLENE.’ 

It means, if you are taking it to a professional, you must ensure with the dry cleaner that they will not use the solvent mentioned in the fabric. 

5. What Type of Stain Is It?

It is important to understand what kind of stain is there on your hat. Sweat stains, oil stains, tannin stains (tea, coffee, wine, alcohol, etc.), ink stains, protein-based stains (blood), etc., can usually be cleaned by home dry clean methods long as it’s not too filthy. 

But if they are on a delicate fabric like silk, leather, or fur, don’t think twice – take them to the expert.

What Are the Types of Hats Can Be Dry Cleaned?

Hats made of delicate materials like silk, linen, wool, fur, felt, fleece, velvet, rayon, suede, leather, denim can be dry-cleaned.

Sometimes, a cotton baseball cap’s care label can have a ‘DRY CLEAN’ sign. But sturdy materials like cotton, cotton blends, polyester, acrylic, etc., can be washed by hand or in a machine safely. These materials do not need to be dry-cleaned. But if you do not wish to expose your hats to water, you can also go for a dry clean at home.

How to Dry Clean Hat at Home?

We’ve been discussing for so long about dry cleaning at home. And now it’s finally time to get to know exactly how to do it. 

By Using Cornstarch or Talcum Powder

By Using Cornstarch or Talcum Powder

This method is effective in getting rid of greasy or oily stains as well as sweat stains. Corn starch or talcum powder being dry helps absorb the oils.

Materials Needed:


  • Place your hat on a clean towel so that the corn starch or talcum powder does not fall on the cleaner parts of the hat.
  • Apply a small amount of cornstarch or talcum powder on the greasy or sweat stains. Leave the powder on the hat for a few hours so that there is enough time to absorb the stains. Once done, gently wipe away residual powder from the hat using a soft brush.

TIP: If the powder falls on other cleaner parts of your hat, do not worry. The powder will only hold on to oily areas, not dry ones. So, you can simply brush the powder off the dry areas of the hat.

Use a Dry Cloth or Hat Brush

Use a Dry Cloth or Hat Brush

Sometimes you can clean your hats and caps with just a brush. The process doesn’t always have to be complicated.

Materials Needed:


  • Use a dry cloth or a hat brush for dust and debris on your hat, and gently wipe them away. You might be surprised by how effective this easy method is!
Use a Vacuum

Use a Vacuum

The vacuum might sound like an extreme option, but that’s why we use stockings – to control the intensity of the heat. This method is particularly effective if your hat is extremely dusty and there is debris in really unreachable areas of your hat.

Materials Needed:


  • Use the stockings to cover the vacuum brush so that the intensity of heat is reduced. Gently start vacuuming the hat, focusing on the extremely dusty areas.
Use a Hat Sponge

Use a Hat Sponge

Materials Needed:


  • Hat sponges are effective in removing dried dirt. Use it in a small, circular motion on the soiled area. Always use a separate sponge to clean dark-colored hats and light-colored hats.

What Happens to Your Hats at a Professional Dry Cleaners?

professional dry cleaners

We’ve all dropped our adorable hats at least once at the dry cleaners, right? But have you ever wondered how exactly are our hats getting dry cleaned? 

Let’s take a step-by-step look at the processes followed by a professional dry cleaner.

1. Inspection of Your Hats

Your hats will be inspected for stains, tears, embellishments, etc. The dry cleaner will also look at the care label for specific dry cleaning instructions and tag your hats accordingly.

2. Pre-spotting and Stain Removal

This step is a lot similar to pre-treating a stain. The dry cleaner will either apply a solvent that works for the hat material, vacuum, or heat the stains. Doing this will remove the stain before the real dry cleaning process.

3. The Dry Cleaning

The hats are placed in a machine and soaked in a solvent that is free of water. The machine spins the hats, getting rid of excess solvent, and your hats emerge dry in this process.

4. Finishing

Once the hats come out dry cleaned, it is steamed or pressed, as per the hat material. Your hat is now fresh and wrinkle-free.

What Is the Difference Between “Dry Clean” and “Dry Clean Only” Hats?

dry clean vs dry clean only

Many a time, we’ve seen ‘dry clean’ and ‘dry clean only’ used interchangeably. But that’s not right. Both the labels convey different meanings, and you must know them.

A ‘DRY CLEAN’ tag on your hat indicates that your hat is made up of delicate material, and you need to be careful washing it. You can use gentle washing methods like a hand-wash or a dry clean at home and not necessarily take them for a professional dry clean.

A ‘DRY CLEAN ONLY’ tag on your hat indicates that your hat is made of a delicate material that can ONLY be DRY CLEANED and cannot be washed by water at any cost.

How Much Is It to Dry Clean a Hat?

A professional dry clean can cost you between 7 USD to 19 USD, depending on the kind of hat and material. 

As we said earlier, as long as your hats aren’t real fur, leather, or silk, always try a home dry clean first before taking it to a professional. You’ll save a lot of time and money!

Dry Clean Hat

Final Thoughts

Dry cleaning hats have been a mystery for most of you, but not anymore! To summarise what we discussed. Firstly, you must know whether your hat can be washed or can only be dry cleaned. Secondly, if you’ve decided to dry clean, it is important to know if your hat needs a professional dry clean or a home dry-clean would be enough.

Once you’ve figured these two questions out, you are good to go! 

Say goodbye to dirty, stinky hats!

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