Felt hats have been around for a long time. Can you name at least one accessory from your wardrobe that doesn’t have a felt option for it? Probably not. From shoes to sweaters, shirts and so on feeling is everywhere. The same goes for hats. Felt hats are a go-to for most people since the look they have is very stylish and as with other felt made stuff, their appearance is out of this world. But, since you have something so good right below your fingertips, there has to be a catch to it, right? Why wouldn’t everything be made from felt and why isn’t everyone wearing felt hats? Well, it’s true. There is a catch. And it’s the maintenance of that same felt. It goes without saying that felt is extremely hard to maintain.
In this article, we’ll talk more about specifically felt hats and how to maintain/clean them with ease. This will be the core of our talk but before that, we need to see why it felt so hard to deal with and find out more about this amazing material.
What Is Felt?
Ah, the felt. Can you point out what it is made of? Probably not, at a first glance. But, if you know that felt related stuff is often quite expensive, then we can come to a conclusion. Felt is in most cases made from wool, which generally produces materials that have top-notch quality. In most cases, it feels all-natural and if you look at old school felt hats, they will be handmade. However, nowadays, they add some synthetic to it. We’ll see later on why felt it is hard to maintain and adding some synthetic fibers to the mix can prolong felts lifetime and make it a bit more durable.
Felted fabric is created in kind of a unique way. The fabric is created with the help of pressure. Fibers are being compressed, matted and with the help of pressure (a lot of it), moisture and heat, what we get is intertwined fabric which is made from interlocked fibers. Creating felt is often time-consuming and requires a large amount of work. But hey, the end product is really worth it.
Why Is It Hard To Maintain?
Felt is hard to maintain. Actually, in the textile business, it’s one of the hardest materials to get a grip off and often opposes a nightmare to its users. Think of it similar to leather in some way. If you don’t protect the leather, it can bend and get cracks. In no time, what you have is a nasty looking piece of clothing that may be new but doesn’t look like it since you didn’t maintain it well. The same goes for feeling. Dirt, water, dust and in some cases even the sun aren’t exactly best friends of this material. Dirt can get into the pores of fibers, the sun can bleach out the color, water can soften the material and make it look dirty and dirt, well, it’s self-explanatory. Nothing that has some dirt on it won’t look good.
So, in order to keep your felt hat looking neat and spectacular, you need to clean it and maintain it in a specific way. Below, we will show you how to do that in order that it becomes a favorite material for you.
Clean It Lightly
There are several ways of cleaning felt, all of which are a bit different from each other. The first one is made for hats that aren’t so dirty and need just a few touches before they shine to the fullest. Firstly, brush your hat with a hat brush. If you don’t have one, you can buy it in a local wardrobe shop such as H&M or Zara. Use gentle movement that always goes in the same direction which follows the direction of fibers. This will clean the hat from some small dirt and dust it may have.
What you can also do is to use a small lint roller to collect hair, irregular fibers or dust. This sticky useful tool will collect all this stuff and all you need to do is roll it gently over the surface of your hat.
Lastly, if you don’t have the lint roller or a special hat brush, you can use a regular cloth. Just wipe the surface of your hat (gently, again) and if the dirt on your hat is dry, the cloth will take it off with ease.
Stains can be nerve-wracking. They are very hard to take off on regular materials but imagine how hard it can be when we’re talking about feeling. But, don’t lose hope. If you notice some stains on your felt hat, there are some things you can do in order to still save it from the stain amiss.
The first thing you should try is to use an eraser. There are special stain erasers in the shops which you can buy, but if you can’t find one nearby, you can just use a regular eraser. Think about the one kids use at school for pencils. Gently rub the part of your hat which has stains and if it’s not so deep, you’ll maybe have a chance.
Although it’s advised not to use any type of liquid on your felt hat, there is a stain removal liquid you can use as a last resort if the stain you battle is stubborn. You can buy it in a local store since the same thing is used for basically every single material. But, when it comes to feeling, as with everything else, you need to be gentle. Spray a bit of it on the top of the sponge or some cloth (you can use a toothbrush as well, but be aware that it isn’t very harsh). When you sprayed it, use gentle motions and dab the place of the fabric where the stain is. Repeat the process a few times until the stain doesn’t disappear.
Disclaimer. In most cases, stains can’t be reversed. That’s the hard truth. But, if you act fast the stand isn’t so big, maybe you can save your hat from going to the bin. Also, do you see how much we repeat ourselves? Yeah, a lot. Be gentle. Felt is extremely sensitive and you need to have soft touch if you don’t want to damage it even more.
Freshening Your Hat
If your hat doesn’t have any visible stains or isn’t dirty, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maintain it and do some cleaning once in a while. While this is directly related to the first method of cleaning – the soft, light cleaning, there is one more thing you can do to freshen up your favorite hat. And, as crazy it might sound, you can use the vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner isn’t that hard so it won’t damage the fibers of your hat but it is powerful enough to clean it from some dust or dry dirt. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t lean the vacuum directly to the surface of your hat. When you are using it, you need to have a bit of distance, think of at least 5 cm. The pulling motion of the vacuum can damage the surface of your hat and that’s something we want to avoid.
What you can also do is sprinkle a bit of absorbent powder on your hat. But, pick a powder that has a similar color as your hat just to make sure you don’t color it and destroy it. Let the powder stay on your hat for a couple of hours or overnight. Turn your hat upside down, on its crown. If you place it on the brim, and it stays like that for too long, it can lose its shape. After soaking up, repeat the process of cleaning it with a vacuum cleaner. The powder will collect all the dust and dirt that may be hiding in the fibers and vacuuming it will take it out in no time.
Maintaining Your Hat
There are some tips for maintaining your felt hat that you should consider on a regular basis. We mentioned that felt is similar to leather to some extent. And, we mentioned that there are special sprays that are designed to protect the leather. The same goes for felt. If you go to a local shoe store, you find special felt protective sprays that you can use every couple of weeks to apply onto your hat. It’s a great way to protect it in advance against rain or dirt.
We have another tip for you. If you don’t have to, don’t touch your hat all the time. Of course, touch it when you place it on your head or take it off. But, everything in between – don’t. The sweat from your fingertips can over time damage the felt and in some cases, the damage can’t be reversed. So, this is up to you. If you love your hat, be aware of how much you can damage it, even if you aren’t aware of it.
And there you have it. All you needed to know about felt hats and even more. Now, if you own a felt hat it won’t be such a nightmare to clean it. And if you don’t own it, hopefully, we reduced a fear you have about maintaining felt. In both cases, we hope that now you know that felt isn’t so bad as it seems and that felt hats can make a great summer or fall accessory.
And, if you want to clean your hat, first look at it. See at what condition it is and what kind of treatment it needs. Don’t use harsh treatments such as cleaning spray if you don’t have to. In most cases, a gentle rub and a school eraser will do the trick and you won’t be needing fancy felt specialized cleaning tools. Also, you don’t need an expert for cleaning your felt. Every single method we mentioned can be done by yourself so it isn’t really time consuming and expensive. And, as a plus, you’ll bond with your hat a bit more. Win-win.