Good hats can last generations, but in order to do so, they need to be taken care of. A few essential caring recommendations would be :
- Handle your hat by the brim and not the crown. It is easy to crush and distort the shape of a hat by picking it up and taking it off by the crown. You may want your hat to age this way, with a deepening pinch at the front, but if you don’t, you should handle it by its most robust area, which is the brim.
- When resting the hat on a flat surface, upturn the brim first so it does not loose its shape.
- When storing the hat for a while, place it in its hat box upside down. You may put bay leaves or cedar chips to protect from moths and other insects.
- In case you hang your hat on a coat rack or hat hook, do so from the back side of the hat. If it is going to get distorted at least it won’t show as much.
- Try to avoid leaving your hat exposed to high heat and humidity. Hats are shaped with steam, so if they are exposed to analogue conditions they can loose their shape, get distorted and, eventually, shrink.
- When wet, pat the excess humidity with a soft cotton cloth and let the hat dry naturally with the brim upturned, on a clean surface, at room temperature. You may place a towel underneath if necessary. Avoid drying it with a hair dryer or by placing it near a direct heat source or it will most probably shrink and get distorted.
- Sweatbands can hold back some moisture, but serius sweat will soak both cotton and leather bands, reaching the hat and leaving white salty stains on the band and, eventually, the hat when it dries. If serious sweating happens, damp a clean sponge, fold it over and under the sweatband and, holding it away from the hat, wipe gently the whole circumference. Then wipe the sweatband again with a dry cloth. Let ventilate and dry naturally.
- For felt hats, remove dust regularly with a soft horsehair hat brush. Keep one brush for light colour felts and one for dark colour felts. Brush the crown and the upper side of the brim counter-clock wise and the under side of the brim clock wise. After brushing, remove the remaining lint with a lint remover or masking tape.
- For straw hats, carefully remove small stains with a damp cloth or a very soft brush. If living in a particularly dry area, take the hat once in a while off its hat box and place it near a source of humidity (like the bathroom while taking a shower) or even lightly spray it with water.
However, the most important caring recommendation would be : LOVE IT & ENJOY IT