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How To Wash A Cowboy Hat

How To Wash A Cowboy Hat – The Right Way

If Clint Eastwood’s Wild West movies haven’t inspired you to get the quintessential cowboy hat, we don’t know what will. This wide-brimmed beauty not just protects you from the glaring sun but also gives you a rugged, edgy look. While the cowboy hat is sturdy and durable, it’s not free from the burden of getting dirty and stained. This leads us to answering all your questions on how to wash a cowboy hat through this article.

You might not be giving as many adventures to your hats as cowboys do, but they’ll still need to be cleaned and washed. So read the article and get ready to give your cowboy hats a good, safe wash because they’ve got a long eventful ride ahead!

Can You Wash a Cowboy Hat?

It’s a YES and a NO.

Washing cowboy hats depends entirely on the material of your hat.

Cowboy hats are mainly of 3 types – fur-based felt/wool, straw, and leather. You can wash them with water if you own a fur-based felt/wool or a straw hat. But a wash by water should always be your last option because none of these materials are exactly very water-friendly. We’ve plenty of clean, dry options to clean cowboy hats!

If you own a leather hat, washing by water is never a good idea. But do not worry; we will show you plenty of other hacks and tricks that’ll get your leather hats bright and shiny.

What to Know Before Cleaning a Cowboy Hat?

1. Know the Material

As we said, identifying whether your cowboy hat is fur-based felt/wool, straw or leather is important because your choice of washing method depends on it.

2. Read the Care Label

The care label has all the important information regarding your cowboy hat – the material, safest washing methods, other safety measures to take note of, etc. It’s never a good idea to ignore the care labels because they’ve been written out by the manufacturers who know the best about your hats.

If, by any chance, your hat doesn’t come with a care label, do your research or take it to the store from where you bought it. If that’s too difficult, keep reading, and we’ll have you explained the best washing methods for each of these cowboy hat materials.

3. Never Dry Under Direct Sunlight

Protecting from sunlight and drying them under sunlight are two completely different things. You should only air-dry your cowboy hats away from sunlight and not directly under them. Sunlight will damage your hat’s texture and fade the color.

4. Say NO to Washing Machine

If you want to wash your cowboy hats without ruining them, you need to say goodbye to washing machines. The constant spinning and whirling inside the machines will damage your hat’s fabric and structure.

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat Made of Fur Felt?

Fur felt cowboy hats are the perfect option for your winters. If winter is just around the corner and you need to get your hats cleaned, you’ve reached the right place.

Let’s decode A-Z of washing and cleaning your fur-felt cowboy hats!

Dry Clean Methods to Wash Fur Felt Cowboy Hats

1. Use a Hat Brush and Lint Roller

Use a good quality horse hair bristled hat brush to brush away all the dirt and grime on your cowboy hats. While brushing, make sure you are doing it in a counter-clockwise direction. Doing so will help get rid of the dirt and debris effectively.

Felt attracts lint easily. So, you can also use a lint roller to get rid of lint that’s stuck to your cowboy hats.

2. Use Corn Starch or Talcum Powder

There’s nothing like corn starch or talcum powder to eliminate greasy, oily stains from your felt cowboy hats. Apply a small amount of the powder on oily stained areas like the sweatband. Give the powder time to absorb the oils, and brush them clean with a hat brush.

3. Use a Vacuum

If the hat is too dusty and needs a deep clean, you might need a vacuum. It will help get rid of dust from the most difficult parts of the hat.

Cover the vacuum brush with a stocking or any breathable cloth so that the heat is controlled. Vacuum clean the hat from all sides, holding the brush at a distance.

4. Use a Hat Sponge

Hat sponges absorb dirt and dust very easily. Rub the sponge all over the hat in a counter-clockwise direction.

How to Spot Clean a Fur-Felt Cowboy Hat

How to Spot Clean a Fur-Felt Cowboy Hat?

If none of the dry clean methods worked for you, don’t give up. We have more options for you. Spot clean is the best choice, especially if your hat is stained in specific spots and not the whole hat.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Do a Spot Test

Before a spot clean, you need to do a spot test to check if your hat leaves color or not.

Gently rub the hat with a damp white cloth in an inconspicuous area of the hat. If any color transfers onto the cloth, your hat color bleeds, and you need to take it to a hat expert.

If no color transfers, you are safe to proceed with spot cleaning.

Step 2: Brush the Hat

Using a hat brush, wipe away all surface-level dirt and dust from the hat.

Step 3: Application of a mild detergent

Dip the sponge in mild soap solution and rub it gently on the specific stain in a small, circular motion. Do not saturate the sponge completely.

Step 4: Wipe Away Residual Soap and Dirt

Using a clean cloth, wipe away any soap or dirt that’s there on the surface of the hat.

Step 5: Dry the Hat

Once spot cleaned, let the hat air-dry. Keep away from sunlight.

How to Hand-Wash a Fur-Felt Cowboy Hat

How to Hand-Wash a Fur-Felt Cowboy Hat?

A hand wash should be opted for if none of the other methods work. Always check the care label to confirm whether your hat can be hand washed before proceeding with the same.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Do a Spot Test

If you’ve already done a spot test before your spot clean, you can skip this step here.

Step 2: Brush the Hat

Using a hat brush, wipe away all the superficial dust and debris from the hat.

Step 3: Make the Cleaning Solution

Add a small amount of mild detergent in a bucket, sink, or tub filled with water. Mix the two well so that the soap is evenly distributed in the water.

Step 4: Soak the Hat

Soak the hat in the cleaning solution for about an hour or more, depending on the staining intensity. Gently sway the hat in soapy water.

Step 5: Rinse the Hat

Rinse the hat under cool running water. Ensure all soap is removed as left-over soap can cause staining.

Step 6: Dry the Hat

Once the hat is washed, let the hat air-dry. You can place the hat first in a clean towel to remove excess dripping water and then air-dry.

How to Clean White Felt Cowboy Hat?

White cowboy hats are always doubly complicated to wash. The methods to wash the hat are the same as mentioned above. The only thing you need to take care of while choosing a hat brush to clean is to get a light-colored hat brush for white cowboy hats. Never use a dark-colored brush on a white hat.

While choosing a detergent, choose one that doesn’t have bleach in it. Bleach is not very hat-friendly, and it can ruin your hat.

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat Made of Leather?

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat Made of Leather

How to Clean a Leather Cowboy Hat?

We all love our leather cowboy hats. They exude a different kind of charm. But cleaning leather hats can be tricky because you cannot soak them in water or wash them in a machine.

So, then how?

Well, spot cleaning is your golden ticket to getting your leather hats cleaned. But the materials used are slightly different from what we saw in a fur-felt cowboy hat.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Make the Cleaning Agent

In a bowl, mix water and Castile or any mild soap.

Step 2: Apply the Cleaning Agent on Hat

Dampen a non-abrasive cloth like a microfiber cloth and gently work on the specific stain in a small, circular motion.

Step 3: Wipe away Leftover Soap and Dirt.

With another clean cloth, wipe away soapy water and dirt from the surface of the hat.

Step 4: Air-dry the Hat

Find a well-ventilated spot to air dry your hat away from sunlight.

Step 5: Apply Leather Conditioner

Any wash can leave your hats a little dry. To restore your leather cowboy hats’ natural oils and shine, apply a small amount of leather conditioner to them.

If your cowboy hat is made of genuine leather, you could also try using chalk, white vinegar-water mixture, or saddle soap. 

Chalk will work wonders on greasy, oily stains. But ensure you use chalk that’s similar to the color of the hat. Don’t use white chalk on a brown leather cowboy hat!

A vinegar-water mixture doesn’t just get the stains out; it also removes stinky odor from your cowboy hats! So, it’s a 2-in-1 deal.

Saddle soap should be your last resort to wash leather cowboy hats. True, they remove stains effectively, but they tend to darken your hat’s color. You can do a patch test in an inconspicuous area before using saddle soap, and if you are okay with the color, you can go ahead with using them.

How to Clean a Cowboy Hat Made of Straw?

We’ve seen a lot of you in trouble with your straw cowboy hats. Reason – some of them don’t have a care label, and choosing a washing method isn’t very clear. Well, here we are solving that confusion.

If your straw hat doesn’t come with a care label in the unlikeliest of situations, look at the weave pattern of your straw cowboy hat. If it’s a tight weave, your hat is strong and can withstand a hand-wash. But if the weave is loose, the hat isn’t that strong, and you should opt for one of the dry clean methods or a spot clean.

Dry Clean Methods to Clean Straw Cowboy Hats

Like fur-felt cowboy hats, you can use the below methods to get rid of dust and debris from your straw cowboy hats.  

If you own a white straw cowboy hat, ensure that the hat brush or cloth that you use to clean is white itself. We don’t want any colors to get transferred onto your hats.

Spot Clean Methods to Wash Straw Cowboy Hats

  1. Using Mild Soap and Water

Using a clean cloth dipped in a mild soap solution, gently scrub the specific stain on the surface of the hat in small, circular movements. Wipe away the residual soap and water with a clean cloth once the scrubbing is complete, and let the hat air-dry.

2. Using Hydrogen Peroxide or Ammonia

If your cowboy hat is light-colored, use hydrogen peroxide and if it’s a dark-colored one, use ammonia. Mix either of them, depending on the hat color, with water in equal parts. With a clean brush, gently scrub the cleaning solution onto the stains and work on them. Once that’s done, use a clean cloth to wipe away all water and let the hat air-dry.

How to Hand-Wash a Straw Cowboy Hat

How to Hand-Wash a Straw Cowboy Hat?

The ultimate weapon to destroy the stains on your straw cowboy hat is nothing but the good old hand washing.

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Prepare the Cleaning Agent

In a bucket, sink, or tub filled with cool water, mix a small amount of mild soap.

Step 2: Soak the Hat in Cleaning Agent

Submerge the hat in a cleaning agent and, using a clean cloth or a soft brush, gently work on hat focusing, especially on the stained areas.

Step 3: Rinse the Hat

Rinse the hat under cool water and make sure all soap is removed.

Step 4: Dry the Hat

Dry your hat in a spot with good ventilation and away from direct sunlight.

Can You Put Cowboy Hat in the Dryer?

Absolutely NO.

Whether your cowboy hat is fur felt/wool, leather, or straw, you cannot put them in a dryer. All 3 are very delicate materials that can easily get damaged if exposed to extreme heat settings.

You should only air-dry your cowboy hats away from direct sunlight.

How to Care for Cowboy Hats?

1. Store them in Clean, Dry Place

Always store your cowboy hats in dry and clean places. Avoid keeping them in places that are humid or damp. A hat box is your best bet if you want to protect your cowboy hats. 

Always keep your cowboy hats upside down so that the structure of the hat remains intact. 

2. Use Alcoholic Products with Caution if Using a Leather Cowboy Hat

Products like cologne, hair spray, perfumes, etc., have alcohol content in them. Do not wear your hats immediately if you’ve applied any of these. Let the products completely dry before you wear your leather cowboy hats because alcohol tends to dry out leather.

3. Brush Your Hats After Each Use

To maintain healthy cowboy hats, it’s always a good idea to give them a good brush after each use.

How To Wash A Cowboy Hat

Final Thoughts

We know it was a tiring read, but at the end of the day, you did realize you can keep your cowboy hats bright and shining if you put in a little effort, right? How to wash a cowboy hat will never be a problematic question for you because you know the perfect answers now!

So, wear your clean cowboy hats and get the rugged look on!

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