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How To Wash Leather Hats

How to Wash & Clean Leather Hats – Quick & Easy Cleaning

Did you type ‘how to get rid of stains from my leather hat’ or ‘how to wash a leather hat’? Well, my friend, you are in for some luck. You’ve reached the perfect place. Leather needs no introduction. We own at least one leather product, whether it be a bag, belt, shoe, or a Hat! A leather hat not only protects but also is a quintessential style statement accessory that can do wonders to your wardrobe. 

Like there is a right way of wearing your leather hat, there are right ways to keep them clean and fresh. And if you own one or planning to own one, you need to know your leather hat just like you know your job! But we are here to help! All your leather worries are going to vanish into thin air with this one article. That’s our guarantee!

So, shall we?

What is Leather Fabric?

To know your leather hat, you need to know the leather fabric. What is Leather, how is it made, what are the different kinds, is there something called artificial Leather? Are all these questions spinning on your mind? Do not worry; we’ve got you covered.

Before jumping in, do you want to know a fun fact about Leather? I’m sure you do. Leather is the most ancient fabric discovered by man and dates back to 10,500 years. You would’ve seen pictures of early men covering themselves up in animal skin and hides, right? So that is Leather. The only difference being that the Leather we use these days undergo some processes to get to the form that we see them in. 

From cows to sheep to pigs and even stingrays, you can obtain Leather from almost any animal. Raw animal hide tends to get stiff and dry, and therefore, it is necessary to treat them to make it more suitable for leather accessories. Through processes like bleaching, tanning, and crusting, the rawhide is made durable and sustainable. Also, hides obtained from various parts of the same animal will differ in their quality, which means hide from a cow’s hind legs and shoulders will differ in quality.

 Amazing, right!

So why is there so much love for Leather? Leather is durable and resistant to wrinkles which makes it a popular fabric option. And there are so many different leather options based on the animal and grade.

Can You Wash Leather Hats?

So, coming back to our main topic – leather hats. Are they washable? Yes, but you have to be very careful while doing it. You should always check your hat’s care label. It will have clear directions on how to and how not to wash your leather hat. A gentle hand-wash is what is advised when it comes to cleaning leather hats. A machine wash is not recommended. 

What to Know Before Cleaning a Leather Hat?

1. ALWAYS Know Your Material

Leather is a large term, and there are many different types of leather depending on the animal hide used, the treatment, and grade. It could be a Full Grain, Top Grain, Split Grain, and so on. ‘But How Do I Know That’? Well, the answer lies in your fabric care label. If not, always approach the shop from where you bought it or ask a professional. You don’t want to risk anything bad happening to your expensive Leather Hat.

2. NEVER Dry Under Direct Sunlight

‘But isn’t that ironic? You wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun.’ Are you thinking the same? It’s true, but when you dry or leave it under direct sunlight, it may dull the hat and distort its shape. Wear the hat all you want under the sun but never dry it under the sun!

3. USE Leather Protectors and Conditioners

Just because leather is washable does not mean that you can dirty it anyway and still be fine. Like we say, prevention is better than cure. It is always advised to use leather protectors and conditioners before using them so that chances of dust and dirt sticking to them are reduced, thus minimizing the need to wash your hats!

How to Wash Your Leather Hats?

How to Hand-Wash Leather Hats

How to Hand-Wash Leather Hats?

The best and most effective method to keep your leather hats spick and span is the good old hand-washing. Unlike cotton or acrylic fabric, we know that Leather cannot be washed wholly, so spot cleaning is the easiest and most preferred option. So how do you do it?

Materials  Need:

Follow the steps below:


Step 1: Make the Cleaning Agent

To make our leather cleaning agent, make a solution of water and Castile or mild soap and mix it well so that the soap is evenly distributed.

Step 2: Use a Lint-Free Cloth to Clean

Avoid using any abrasive materials like a scrubbing pad to clean the hat. A microfiber cloth is the safest option. Dip the cloth in the cleaning agent and gently work on the stain in a circular movement. Keep doing this until you don’t see any stains.

Step 3: Removing the Soap Film

Use a clean rag to wipe away the remaining soap film from the hat. Ensure all soap is removed; otherwise, the soap will dry on the hat and damage the fabric.

Step 4:Air-Dry the Leather Hat

Let the hat dry naturally, and make sure NEVER expose it under direct sunlight, as we discussed earlier.

Step 5: Apply the Leather Conditioner

Just like how our hair becomes dry and frizzy if not moisturized, a leather hat also behaves the same way. So, it is important to apply leather conditioner on the hats after a wash so that it doesn’t become brittle.

How to Clean Genuine Leather Hats

How to Clean Genuine Leather Hats?

Genuine? So, does that mean there is fake Leather as well? Of course, Leather is an expensive fabric, and not everyone can own an original leather accessory. So, we have imitation leather, mostly made out of PVC, which will look very similar to genuine Leather but will differ in some qualities like the smell, texture, etc. They will be way cheaper and comparatively easier to clean.

So, let’s take a look at how to clean both genuine and artificial Leather in this section.

Apart from the hand-washing method, there are other methods that will help you get rid of stains and dirt from your 100% leather hats.

Materials  Need:


Step 1: By Using Chalk

Oh yes, you heard that right. If your stain is oily and greasy, rub the chalk on it. The chalk will absorb the oil, and you can use a brush to wipe it off. ALWAYS use similar colored chalk as your hat. Don’t use white chalk for a brown hat! Easy much?

Step 2: Using Distilled Vinegar

If the chalk doesn’t work, distilled vinegar is there to the rescue. Dip a clean rag in distilled vinegar and rub it gently on the stain. Please keep it for a few minutes. And BAAAAM, the stain is gone!

Step 3: Using Saddle Soap

This method should be used as your LAST RESORT. As much as it vanishes the stain completely and re-waterproofs, what a saddle soap does is that it will darken your hat. So before going ahead with this method, do a patch test in a less-noticeable corner of your hat. If you are okay with the darkened color, you can go ahead with it. But your light brown leather hat may not remain light brown anymore.

How to Clean Artificial Leather Hats

How to Clean Artificial Leather Hats?

If you own an artificial leather hat, you have less to worry about. Artificial hats are less complicated to clean. Follow the steps below:

Materials  Needed:


Step 1: Making the Cleaning Solution

Mix water and mild soap to make the cleaning solution.

Step 2: Use a Non-Abrasive Cloth to Clean

Dip a non-abrasive material like a microfiber cloth in the soap solution and gently work on the stains in a circular motion. Continue doing the same till the stains are gone.

Step 3: Use a Dry Cloth to Remove the Soap Film

Once the stains are removed, used a clean, dry towel to wipe off the excess soap water from the hat.

Can You Machine-wash Leather Hats?

It is NOT recommended to wash your leather hats in a washing machine. Always do a hand-wash for the safest way to clean your hats by following the steps discussed above.

How to Distinguish Genuine and Artificial Leather?

Have you ever paid a hell of a lot of money and ended up realizing it’s fake? We’ve all been there. Are you curious to know how the two are different? The first thing, of course, is to check the label. It might seem obvious, but surprisingly, most people never check the label tag before purchasing the product.

Now, if by chance you bought the hat without reading the label, you can still check for the purity of the Leather. Let’s see how.

Leather TypeGenuine LeatherArtificial Leather
Touch TestGrainy, soft, flexible, warm, can be stretchedSmooth, plastic-like, cool, cannot be stretched
Smell TestDistinct, oaky smellOdorless or may smell plastic-ky
PoresVisible pores presentNo pores present

How to Clean a Smelly Leather Hat?

How to Clean a Smelly Leather Hat

A smelly hat is one of the most common problems any hat user can face. Because hats stay on our heads for a long time, they tend to accumulate with oils, sweat stains, and other dust particles, making the hats stinky. And if you have a stinky leather hat, you know it’s worse than a garbage dump. So how do we tackle this?

1. Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the best products to remove odor from leather surfaces. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda on your hat and use a dry brush to rub it all off. 

2. Using Leather Cleaners

These are the most tried and tested products to keep your leather hats un-smelly. These cleaners are specially formulated for Leather and are properly pH balanced to remove all kinds of odors from leather products.

How to Care for Leather Hats?

It’s no big task, but not too small either. The first thing to accept is that genuine Leather is a delicate fabric. But we all know that a good Leather hat is a great lifetime investment. And hence we need to put in a little effort to keep them in good shape and condition.

1. Use Alcohol-Based Hair Products with Caution While Wearing a Leather Hat

 Did you use your hair spray and put on your leather hat? If you have, remove the hat already! Hair sprays, colognes, perfumes, etc., are all alcohol-based products. These will dry out and stain the Leather. Always allow these products to dry for some time before putting on your leather hat.

2. Do Not Take Sweat Stains Lightly

Don’t leave sweat stains on your leather hats for long. They might not come off easily. You can use baby shampoo to work on the stain and then clean it off using a soft cloth.

3. Seek Professional Help for Hat Embellishments

If you ever plan on adding embellishments, embroidery, or badges on your leather hat on your own, STOP IT NOW. Approach a professional to do the same otherwise; the chances are that you will ruin the leather fabric.

4. Store Your Hats Well

When not in use, always store your leather hat in a hatbox. If you hang the hats, hang them by the crown and not the brim or distort the hat shape.

How to Wash a Leather Hats

Final Thoughts

Be it a safari, an adventurous jungle trek, constant rain, or scorching summer; a good leather hat will also be your best companion. But, for the leather hat to remain the best, it should be in the perfect form at all times. We have covered all possible confusions you might have on how to wash your leather hat.  Now it’s time to take out that leather hat, dust them up, and wear it, in all panache!

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