Quick Guide: How to Clean a Vintage Hat

You never thought you'd need to clean a vintage hat. But last weekend you found yourself out and about, scouring antique shops with your trendy friends and found a treasure trove of goodies.

One, in particular, is an old-timey vintage hat that has seen better days. You purchased the fedora because it was cheap. Looking at it further you realized it needed repair and could be a fun project to tackle. But now you're well over your head with confusion. You ask yourself, how in God's green Earth am I supposed to repair a hat? We're glad you asked.



You're welcome to visit a hat shop, milliner, or seamstress, but everyone will quote you differently based on your needs and can be costly. To fix a top hat, for example, you can get a simple polish or replace the hatband and bow, change the sweatband, or an entire reblocking if necessary.

Your hat was cheap, to begin with, and that's the reason you bought it right? How can you tackle the task yourself and save yourself mucho dinero in the process?



As a simple cleaning technique, a cool hairdryer and lint roller can be utilized to whisk away debris.

For a hat caked in dust, you can use a damp towel, ringing it as dry as possible. Avoid getting the hat wet at all costs, as this will only damage the hat further. Use light pressure and rub in a circle over the area. Keep a dry towel handy to relieve any water that may have gotten on the hat.

With more difficult issues a spot wash is in order. Tougher stains can be tackled with a sponge, art gum eraser, or Fuller's Earth. Make sure to only use light pressure when rubbing the stain as you only want to lift the affected area, not rub a hole in the hat.

New to these Hats? Read our Guide to Get you Started


Now you can brave the waters at the next thrift shop knowing these tips will serve you well.

What's the best thing you found at an antique store? Do you have hat maintenance tricks to share?