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How To Wash And Clean Straw Hat

How to Wash and Clean Straw Hats – The Right Way

The Sun’s up, and the beaches are waiting for you. Swimwear. Check. Sunscreen. Check. Sunshades. Check. Flip Flops. Check. Straw Hats. Oh No, they are so dirty! Your panic mode is on. And you start searching ‘how to wash a straw hat,’ but can’t seem to find anything quick and easy. Is this you right now? Well, then you are at the right place, my friend. We will guide you on how to clean and wash that funky, chic straw hat you bought with so much love.

From Boater Straw to Panama, Fedora, Floppy Beach, or a Derby, straw hats are different. As stylish as they are, taking care of them might seem like a problem. But hey! What are we here for? If you love your straw hat, trust me, this article is going to be your life-saver. 

So, who are we waiting for? You, maybe? Let’s go!

How Well Do You Know Your Straw?

We love straw hats for a lot of reasons – they are lightweight, flexible, and breathable. Taking care of your straw hats is just like taking care of your clothes. You look at the material and decide the course of cleaning action for it. Similarly, since there are numerous kinds of materials used to make straw hats, you need to know yours, like the back of your hand, because different materials react differently to water. 

An original straw hat will have to be dealt with more delicately than a synthetic straw hat. Do you think why? Because an original straw hat is made up of plant fibers while a synthetic is made out of artificial fibers. And luckily for us, the cleaning methods for both are quite similar.

But how do we know what’s our hat made of? Well, if you notice carefully, you’ll see a care label attached to your hat. That label is almost like the hat’s biography. Please read it, Learn it. 

Can You Wash Straw Hats?

YES, YES, YES. It’s always best to take care of your hat so that you don’t have to be in this difficult situation. But we are all humans and tend to make mistakes, like dirtying or staining our straw hats, by chance. A lot of people assume that because it is straw, you cannot wash it. But what you have to know is that there is a right way to wash it. You cannot just dump your straw hat along with all the laundry. That would be the end of your hat. 

What to Know Before Cleaning a Straw Hat?

01. Check the Care Label

The first thing is always the care label. There are no two ways about it. Checking the label will give you an idea if your straw hats are meant to be hand-washed, machine-washed, or only dry-cleaned. Most of the time, a machine wash is NEVER recommended for washing straw hats.

Now on the rarest of a rare occasion, your hat doesn’t come with a care label. What do you do now? Well, we have the answer to that as well. The weave of a straw hat is what makes it stand out from other kinds of hats. If a label is absent, always check for the weave pattern. If the pattern is tight, the straw hat is much stronger—the stronger, the more expensive, and vice versa. If the weave is loose, then the hats are weaker, and you need to be EXTRA EXTRA careful.

02. Remove the Extra Ornaments

Remove any extras like decorations, bands, ribbons, or appliques from your straw hat. Bands and ribbons are not difficult to clean. You can either dust them or hand-wash them. If those are not removable, it’s better to seek professional help or take it to a dry-cleaner.

03. Avoid Color Bleed

And lastly, whenever you are using a cloth to clean or wipe your hat, make sure you use a white-colored one and not a colored one to avoid bleeding the dyes onto the straw hat.

This article will help you tackle stains and dirt of all levels – low, medium, or high.

How to Wash Straw Hats?

Like we said earlier, when it comes to washing straw hats, you can say goodbye to your washing machine.

Coming to other methods, though straw hats are mostly worn to the beach, the material is not very water-friendly. The reason being that straw absorbs water and is prone to breaking or tearing. So, if you have minor stains, you can stay away from using any liquid. Let’s see how.

How to Wash a Straw Hat Without Water

So, what is the most obvious stain that can be seen on a straw hat? Hmm, let’s. We wear it mostly during the summers, so sweat stain is one of them. These stains, if not treated immediately, can become a stubborn stain.

But if you do something about the stain right after use, cleaning will be easier.  Without using water, you have a choice of 3 methods. So, choose what works best for you.

Secondly, NEVER EVER dry your straw hat under harsh sunlight. It will destroy the quality and appearance of the hat.

Use Cornstarch

Use Cornstarch

Materials Needed:


Step 1 : Apply Cornstarch, Soak and Wash

When you see a sweat stain, apply a bit of cornstarch on the stain. Leave it for a few hours so that the powder can soak up the stain. If this does not work, do not worry. We have other methods too! Read on.

Use a Dry Cloth or a Hat Brush

Use a Dry Cloth or a Hat Brush

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Wipe with Dry Cloth

If the straw hat has dust and debris, try using a dry cloth and wipe them away. You can also use a hat brush to do the same job. A lot of the superficial dust will get removed.

Use A Vacuum for an Extremely Dusty Hat

Use A Vacuum for an Extremely Dusty Hat

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Cover the vacuum brush with a stockings

Use a vacuum attachment if the hat is too dusty. Cover the vacuum brush with stockings so that the intensity of the heat on the hat is reduced. It sure is an extreme option, but you should be just fine getting all that dust and debris out if you are careful enough.

Now, if these methods have been useless to you, it means your stain is slightly bigger than we initially imagined. Let’s see what the next best option is.

How to Wash Straw Hat by Spot Cleaning

The next recommended option is to spot clean the stain using some liquids. But always remember only to dampen the hat at the stain spot and not wet the whole hat. 

Using Water and Soap

Using Water and Soap

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Make the cleaning solution

Dampen a clean cloth in the water and soap solution. 

Step 2: Work on the Stain with a Clean Cloth

Gently the cloth on the stain in a careful circling motion to not damage the weave of the straw hat. Air-dry the hat and check if the stain is gone.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide or Ammonia

Using Hydrogen Peroxide or Ammonia

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Make your cleaning solution

If your straw hat is light-toned, you can use hydrogen peroxide. Mix both water and hydrogen peroxide equally. If your straw hat is dark or bright-toned, you can substitute hydrogen peroxide for ammonia. 

Step 2: Use a Soft Brush to Remove Stain

Dip the soft brush in this solution and gently work it onto the stain in a circling motion. Once the stain is gone, use a wet cloth to clean the residue. Air-dry the straw hat.

By now, most of your straw hats would’ve gotten clean. But if not, then my friend, your stain is way strong-willed than we imagined. But we are stronger, aren’t we?

How to Hand-Wash Your Straw Hats?

How to Hand Wash Your Straw Hats

How to Hand Wash Your Straw Hats?

Let us show you the ultimate method to get your straw hats spotless. It’s none other than the good old hand-washing method, your last resort to self-cleaning your straw hat. And please check the label to make sure your hat can be hand-washed before proceeding to do this. Most of the time, original straw hats made out of plant fibers like hemp, seagrass, Toyo, etc., will be advised against a hand-wash, unlike an artificial one. 

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Making the soap solution

Mix the mild soap with water to make the soap solution. 

Step 2: Submerge the hat in cleaning solution

And gently submerge the hat into the solution. Using a soft brush or a clean cloth, gently work on the stains in water. Rinse the hat till you see clear water. 

Step 3: Remove the residual soap

Once you are done, DO NOT wring the hat. But place it on a clean, dry towel and dab the remaining water. 

Step 4: Air dry the hat

Dry the hat somewhere where there is good ventilation and not under harsh sunlight.

By now, your straw hat will look as new as good and ready for the Sun.

How to Dry Straw Hats?

Imagine this. Suppose you were unfortunate enough to get caught in the rain, and you had your straw hat on. It’s lost its shape because of the rain. It’s a possible scary situation. So, what do you do now? PANIC? NO.

To retain the shape of our straw hat, use clean clothes or cotton shirts and gently stuff them inside your hat. You can also use a hairdryer set on low speed to fasten the drying process.

How to Care for Straw Hats?

1. Storing Your Hat

ALWAYS, ALWAYS store your straw hat in a dry and cool place. The best option is to store them inside a hatbox. Alternatively, you can also use a figure head form to keep the hat and cover them with a clean cloth to avoid collecting dust.

2. Get your Straw Hat Back in Shape

Did you recently find your old straw hat amongst a hundred clothes in your wardrobe? Then probably, it would’ve gotten distorted. But don’t lose hope. We have something for you too. Put some tissue paper or clean cotton shirts inside the hat’s crown and keep it few hours and see if they are getting back in shape.

 If this doesn’t work, you can try steaming the hat. Using a clothes steamer, dampen the straw hat. Smoothen and re-shape the hat with your hands. It should do the job.

3. Avoid using a Plastic Bag to Store the Hat.

Plastic bags are a strict NO. Because plastic is air-tight and does not allow even a tiny bit of air inside, it can lead to fading of the hat and can also cause mildew.

4. Ironing

You should NEVER directly iron your straw hats. However, you can use a steam iron. Also, make sure not to over-steam, or else the hat can lose its shape.

5. Flattening the Brim

It is one of the most common problems with straw hats, especially sloppy or wide-brimmed hats. Their brims tend to curl easily. So, what do you do? Well, that’s simple. Keep a heavy object, like an encyclopedia, for a few hours on the brim, and it will get flattened. But make sure to keep a clean cloth between the object and the hat. 

How to Wash and Clean Straw Hat

Final Thoughts

Stepping out on a summer with a straw hat is almost unimaginable for all of us. A classic straw hat is a staple for any hat lover. Maintaining a straw hat is a cakewalk if we want it to be.

A clean and fresh straw hat will not just look wonderful but help you feel confident. ‘How to wash a straw hat’ will never be a nightmare question for you now that we have taught you all the hacks and tips that are there to know about straw hats. All you have to do is take care of your straw hats, and they will take care of you! It’s as simple as that, don’t you think?

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