HOW TO CARE FOR FELT HATS A Bit About Felt.Felt is a dense fabric created by a collection of short single fibers. These fibers are pressed together with steam and hot water, causing them to interlock. This causes each individual fiber, in turn, to become interlocked in several directions with the other fibers. Due to this process, felt is much stronger than a woven fabric. Woven fabrics are created by fibers that are first twisted into threads, which are then woven into fabric. The result of this process is a fabric that can rip or be torn apart in a straight line. Felt lacks this weakness.
Wool felt is of course made from, well, wool!! Sun and rain won’t harm a felt hat. You don’t need to use rain covers, and it’s actually worse for you and your hat if you do. The plastic inhibits the felt from breathing properly and you in turn will be uncomfortable.
PROPER DONNING AND REMOVAL When handling your felt hat, always make sure your hands are clean and dry. This will keep your hat from getting stained or dirty. Never pick your felt hat up by it’s crown, whether you handle it at the top or front. You pinch it when you do this, and pinching flexes the felt. This will eventually cause your hat to develop a crack or a hole. You may also get finger oil stains there. It is advisable that you pick your hat up by the front and back of the brim, close to the crown so that you don’t misshape the brim as well. You can also put your thumbs inside the sweatband, on either side of the hat, with your fingers gently touching the outside of the brim. You may remove your hat the same way. However, care must be taken when you set it down. Never set your hat on it’s brim. This causes the brim to bear the full weight of the hat and your brim will lose it’s shape. Instead, turn it upside down and set it on it’s crown. It you are taking it off for an extended amount of time, such as overnight, you should hang it or properly store it, preferably in a hat box. Never leave your felt hat where it will get too hot, such as near a stove or in a vehicle. Heat can damage your hat.
HEAT AND MOISTURE As I said, heat can damage your hat. So don’t leave it near hot stoves, radiators, lamps, windows, or in hot vehicles. Heat can cause the felting process to start again, especially if there is any moisture, and this leads to shrinkage. If your felt hat must be stored or dried under warm conditions, you may benefit from the use of a hat stretcher. When your hat gets wet or moist, either from rain or sweat, let it dry naturally. Never use a forced heat, such as a blow-dryer or fan. Don’t even place it near any heat source. Instead, shake off any excess water and set the hat in a way that it will maintain it’s shape during drying. Take care when handling the brim when it’s wet, as it will easily distort. Wet felt will often maintain the shape it dries in, so take care that the crown and brim are shaped as you want them to be. Use the sweatband when drying your felt hat. Whether you are drying it because of sweat or not, utilizing the sweatband is beneficial to your hat. All you have to do is turn the sweatband down and this will wick the moisture from your hat.
GENERAL CLEANING If your hat is excessively dirty or in need of refurbishment, there are some things that you can do to maintain a clean felt hat on a daily basis. You should brush your hat, and it is recommended that you do so often. This removes surface dust, dirt, and lint. If you have some remarkably stubborn lint, you may use one of those roller lint removers or even some masking tape. When brushing your hat, it is advisable that you start on the left side and, brushing towards the back, move counterclockwise. You should brush the brim and the crown in the same direction. You should use a light bristled brush when cleaning a light colored hat, and a dark bristle brush for a dark colored hat. When your hat is dry, you may use a slightly damp sponge or cloth to wipe away dust and dirt. If your felt hat has become spotted with water or grease, you can use a little baby talc powder or cornstarch to clean it. This works best on a light colored hat. Don’t use a liquid cleaner.
PROPERLY STORING YOUR FELT HAT When you go to store your hat, make sure that it is in good condition, in it’s proper shape, and clean. In preparation, dusting or brushing it is a good idea. If there are any stains, remove them. Sometimes you will be storing your hat for a short time, such as overnight, but often it is for a much longer time. The longevity of your hat depends on your care, and cleaning it now ensures that it will be in it’s best condition when you take it out later. Leaving your felt hat stained and dirty is hard on it. The best way to store a hat is in a hat box or a hat case. When placing your hat in a box, you should place it on it’s crown. You should fill the crown with tissue, to help it maintain it’s shape. Alternatively, you may place it on it’s brim, but only if you stuff enough tissue in the crown so that the weight of the hat rests not on the brim. If you are careful, you may stack similar sized and shaped hat within the same box. Just take care to place tissue between the hats and don’t stack more than three high. For accoutrements such as bows and feathers, you can utilise tissue. Reinforce the bow’s form by stuffing tissue in it and support the feather’s by lightly propping it with tissue.