October 06, 2022 5 min read

How to Wash and Reshape a Wool Felt Hat: 5 Easy Steps


Taking care of a wool felt hat is just like dating a hottie - at first, all you can see is the beauty… then some time passes + it starts to accumulate a little dirt on the surface (you know it’s true). This is a totally normal progression - all your hat needs is some tender loving care to get it back into excellent condition. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to wash a wool felt hat in 5 easy steps!  

 clean wool felt fedora

What is the Best Way to Clean a Wool Felt Hat?

Imagine your hat getting caught in a flood, then getting swept up in the middle of a scary tornado! It’ll be bent + misshapen after such a wild ride – sounding unbelievable? Well, this is exactly what happens when you put your hat in a washing machine! Skip the storm + wash a felt hat by hand. 

 

5 Easy Steps to Wash a Wool Felt Hat  

Felt hat cleaning kit

Keep Your Wool Felt Hat Clean in Small Ways.

Dust may gather on your hat when you’re not around, so let your wool felt hat rest on a hat stand or hang it on sandstone hat pegs when you’re not wearing it. This is a healthy practice to continue throughout your hat’s life. 

Follow the rest of these steps, + you’ll continue to have the best-looking wool felt hat around. 

 

Brush Your Wool Felt Hat

Get yourself a nice hat brush, one with a comfortable wooden grip + bristles that are soft enough to brush the wool without damaging it, but firm enough to get the surface dirt to lift.

Brush your wool felt hat in the same direction every time you use it. Brush in a counterclockwise direction starting from the front + going all the way around. It’s best to do the crown all at once, then move onto the brim + don’t forget to brush the underside of your brim too!

 felt hat brush and cleaning sponge

Use a Lint Roller to Clean Your Hat

Now that the dirt has been brushed to the very surface of the felt, you can use a felt hat lint roller to get the debris off entirely. 

A fedora crown is pinched at the front + may be tricky to roll over, simply pull off a panel of your lint roller + use your fingers to get the sticky paper into the tight grooves. 

 

Get a Good Hat Sponge 

Beneath the surface might be some oils or a tough dirt stain, for this you’ll want to use a good hat sponge. Spray some water onto the surface of the stain + gently scrub with your sponge in a circular motion until it lifts out. 

Determining whether you got your stain out or not may not be apparent until that spot on your hat dries a bit. If you see that it needs a little more attention, that’s okay, just repeat this step till you get the job done. 

 

Dry Your Wool Felt Hat. 

Wool fedora drying on hat stand

Lastly, let your hat dry out. For the best results, let your hat air dry on an adjustable hat stand - this will save your hat from getting deformed in any way. 

A good hatstand allows your hat to dry from all angles, even underneath, + it’ll keep the shape of your crown round. 

 

Can You Get a Wool Hat Wet?

Give your hat a light shower rather than a bath. Mist it with a spray bottle + make sure not to submerge it completely or you could damage it + that’s not cute. 

Customized felt hat accessories like hatpins, feathers, + leather hatbands will be ruined if they get wet. Luckily, these cute embellishments are removable so you can easily get the felt wet without worrying about the rest. 

Use cold water rather than warm or hot. If your water is too warm it could cause the fibers in the wool felt to expand too much + this can cause your hat to grow to a different size or become misshapen. 

  

How Do You Clean + Reshape a Wool Felt Hat?

Apply the 5 easy steps listed at the beginning of the blog, but stop when you get to step 5 - before your hat dries all the way there are specific things you can do to get it back to its original shape. 

 steaming wavy felt hat bill

Reshape Your Wavy Felt Hat Bill 

Lay your hat, bill down, on a flat surface while it’s still drying. Hit the surface of your hat bill with some steam if it’s getting too dry. Then apply pressure to your hat bill in the areas that have become wavy - be sure the pressure is distributed evenly all the way around. 

If your bill isn’t straightening out right away, don’t worry, sometimes it takes a couple of tries to get it to flatten out. If it’s really stubborn, you can place a clean, flat, weighted object on top of the bill + allow it to provide pressure for an extended period. That should do the trick. 

 

Reshape Your Crushed Wool Hat Crown 

Major bummer…but nothing you can’t fix with your hands + some heat! Just like the bill, you can apply steam to your hat crown if it’s getting on the dry side. This opens up the fibers so that your felted wool will be easy to manipulate. 

Don’t have a steamer at your house? That’s no problem, take your hat into the bathroom while your hot shower steams it, or get your clothing iron + steam your crown that way.

Once your crown is steamed, start reshaping it with your hands. It should fill out in its original shape naturally for the most part, but if it’s badly crushed, you’ll need to guide it along with your fingers. 

Step back + look at how great you’ve done at getting your crown back to its former shape! If you’re reshaping a fedora-style crown, be sure you’re pinching it so that either side is even. Now you can wear it as soon as it dries! 

 

How Do You Restore an Old Wool Felt Hat?

restore an old wool hat

You are the queen of finding the most amazing things at vintage thrift stores + you just found the best wool felt hat ever. You’ll need to restore that old hat before you wear it + we have just the advice you need! 

First, use our 5 easy cleaning steps because if this hat is vintage it’s going to need some special care before you’ll want to put it on your head. 

Then take a long hard look at the sweatband inside…it’s not likely you’ll want that against your skin or hair. Grab an old toothbrush + mix a bit of laundry detergent into a cup of warm water. Gently scrub the sweatband with the toothbrush in small circular motions till you’re satisfied with its cleanliness.  Wipe with a towel + let it air dry. 

Now that the gross part is over with, you can worry about the surface of your new vintage find using the same techniques it takes to reshape a hat. Steam, pressure, shape + you’re almost there!

Finally, look at your new (old) hat + do a hair flip about it because it’s a beauty! You have successfully used all of the tactics from this blog + now you have a special wool felt hat you can customize with bands, feathers, + pins to make it truly your own. 

 Shape wool felt hat

Keeping your wool felt hats clean in small ways yields big results in the end + it just feels good to take special care of special things. When it's time to really give it a good wash, avoid the washing machine + use your hands with our 5 easy steps. A clean wool felt hat will last forever + you will feel confident knowing how to take care of your favorite fashion accessory!    xx



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