How to Clean a Straw Hat: Remove Stains and Dirt

How to Clean a Straw Hat: Remove Stains and Dirt

Last updated by Yauni Smith on

Straw is one of the most popular and versatile materials for cabana, Panama, cowboy, fedora, and other types of hats. It’s lightweight, breathable, flexible, and generally low maintenance. We believe in crafting the highest-quality womens straw hats and straw hats for men that will last a lifetime with proper care, which is why we strive to ensure that all our customers understand how to care for their hats. 

If you need to clean hats made from other materials, check out our other cleaning guides: How to clean a felt hat; how to clean a suede hat, and how to clean a leather hat

How to Spot Clean Straw Hats Without Liquid

As with all hat types, it’s best to clean straw hats without the use of liquid. Instead of waiting until your hat is stained to maintain it, try instead to use a clean, dry cloth to continually wipe away dirt, dust, and debris as you see them. For hat scuffs, you can use a gum eraser, which can be purchased online or at most art supply stores, to gently buff or rub them away. 

When you see a sweat or other stain, try dry cleaning the stained area with talcum powder or cornstarch before introducing any liquid into the equation. Simply pat the powder on to the sweat stain, wait a few hours to let it soak up the liquid, then wipe it away to see if the stain is gone. If not, move on to the next sections!

How to Spot Clean Straw Hats with Liquid

For removing more stubborn stains from sweat, body oils, makeup, lotion, or hair products, first try dampening a cloth with a mixture of water and dish soap, and then carefully dabbing or rubbing the stained area.

Be sure to do this as soon as a stain appears to prevent it from settling in and becoming permanent. If this doesn’t work, instead use a soft-bristled brush and a mixture of equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water. Dip the brush in the cleaning solution and work on a small area at a time.

Once you’re done, dab the areas you just treated with a cloth moistened with plain water, then let the hat air dry in a cool area away from direct sunlight. 

How to Hand Wash Straw Hats

When all of the above fails, and your hat is still too stained to wear, you can try hand washing. To hand wash your straw hat, you follow essentially the same process as discussed above, but you use progressively more liquid.

To start, wet or dampen a cloth with dish soap, then carefully rub the entire hat with this cloth to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. If this doesn’t do the trick, move on to the peroxide and water mixture, and carefully rub the entire hat with a cloth that has absorbed this mix.

Finally, if nothing is working and your straw hat is waterproof (which most are not), then proceed to submerge it in a bowl of water and dish soap. You can then rub the stains out of the hat while it’s wet. 

Once you’re done, rinse the hat (or dab it) with plain water to remove any excess soap or peroxide, dab it with a clean towel, then let it air dry in a cool area away from direct sunlight. 

How to Store Straw Hats

All hats should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. In order to ensure your hat keeps its shape, it’s best to store it in a hat box, or on a hat cone.

If the brim is curved, store the hat upside down to protect the brim's shape. Also, be sure to never store your straw hat in plastic as it can discolor the hat and trap moisture, thus causing mildew.

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  • My old straw hat has gotten very yellow. Anything I can do. What’s your site. Would like to look at some of your hats. Mens.

    Rick Hinson on

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