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October 06, 2022 6 min read

How to Wash + 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). However, this is a totally natural progression! All your hat needs is some tender loving care to restore its excellent condition. Let's dive into the essentials of cleaning + reshaping your wool felt hat in 5 simple steps!

 clean wool felt fedora

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

Imagine your hat caught in a flood, then swept up by a powerful tornado! It would be bent + misshapen after such a wild ride. This is precisely what happens when you toss your hat in a washing machine! Avoid this catastrophe by opting for gentlehand washing instead.


How to Clean a Wool Felt Hat 

Felt hat cleaning kit

1. Regular Maintenance

Prevent dust from accumulating on your hat by storing it on a hat stand or hat pegs when not in use. This practice not only ensures your hat remains in good condition throughout its life but also helps maintain its charm intact for all the "hats" you'll wear. Keep your hat away from direct sunlight + moisture, as these can cause discoloration + damage to the felt. Embrace the routine of regular maintenance to keep your hat looking fabulous + ready for action!


2. Brush Your Wool Hat

Using a high-quality hat brush specifically designed for felt hats, gently brush away surface dirt in a counterclockwise direction, starting from the front + moving around the hat. Be sure to brush the crown, brim, + underside of the brim to maintain that fabulous look. Regular brushing not only removes dirt but also refreshes the surface fibers of your hat, helping to maintain its appearance + prolong its life.


 felt hat brush and cleaning sponge

3. Use a Lint Roller

After brushing, use a lint roller to remove any remaining debris, such as lint or pet hair. For narrow or tight areas like a fedora crown, use your fingers to reach tricky spots with a panel of the lint roller, ensuring your hat stays flawless. Lint rollers come in various sizes, so consider investing in a smaller, portable version to keep your hat looking pristine on-the-go.

4. Use a Good Hat Sponge

To tackle oily or stubborn dirt stains, use a hat sponge (also known as a dry cleaning sponge) with a little water. Gently scrub the area in circular motions until the stain lifts. Repeat this step if necessary, but remember, patience is key when dealing with stubborn stains on your precious hat. It's essential to spot test a hidden area of your hat first to ensure the sponge won't cause any damage or discoloration. 

5. Dry Your Hat

Wool fedora drying on hat stand

For best results, allow your hat to air dry on an adjustable hat stand to prevent deformation. A good hat stand allows air to circulate, ensuring proper drying + maintaining your hat's shape so it's always ready for that confident, head-turning moment. Avoid using direct heat sources, likehair dryers or radiators, as these can cause the felt to shrink or become misshapen. Instead, opt for a well-ventilated area to speed up the drying process while preserving your hat's integrity.

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 hat bands will be ruined if they get wet. Luckily, these cute embellishments are removable so you can easily get the feeling wet without worrying about the rest. 

When cleaning your wool felt hat, it's essential to dampen it lightly, rather than submerging it in water. Use a spray bottle to mist the hat, avoiding any risk of damage. Remember to remove any hat accessories like hatpins, feathers, or leather hat bands before cleaning to prevent ruining these stylish additions. Lastly, use cold water to avoid causing the wool fibers to expand + misshape your hat.


How Do You Reshape a Wool Felt Hat?

After you've brushed, rolled, and sponged your wool felt hat, instead of setting it aside to dry, gently manipulate the damp felt with your hands to restore its original shape. Once you've reshaped it, allow your hat to dry on an adjustable hat stand, maintaining its shape as it dries. Your wool felt hat will be as good as new, ready for you to rock that confident Gigi Pip style once again!

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 canapply 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 atvintage 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 willfeel confident knowing how to take care of your favorite fashion accessory!    xx