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How Do I Clean a Hat? Part II

Submitted by on March 19, 2011 – 5:58 pm 10 Comments

The temperature is climbing. The sun is out later. This can only mean one thing: That straw hat you stored away nearly 7 months ago is yearning to come out and play.

Dusting a straw hat

Resident hat whisperer Edwin Urrita demonstrates how to dust a straw hat.

Depending on where and how you stored it, that trusty panama, milan or shantung might need a little dusting.

Dusting a straw hat is a simple task, but it must be done carefully. Straw blocking is easily damaged.

All you will need to dust your straw hat is a soft, damp (barely moist) cloth.

Do you remember the #1 enemies of fur felt hats? Water and heat. Those are the same enemies of straw hats. Make absolutely certain that your cloth is not wet, dripping, sopping or soaking.

Just damp.

Regardless of whether you have a straw fedora, pork pie, Homburg or boater, be mindful of the weave of the straw. In most cases you will start gently wiping the hat with the damp cloth from the center of the crown and dust counterclockwise. Work your way down to the brim, and be sure to get both the top and bottom.

Be careful not to rest the damp cloth for too long in one spot, as you don’t want to moisten, warp or otherwise damage the straw. Also remember not to grasp the straw too tightly, especially by the pinch, as the straw is liable to crack or become misshapen. (And, sadly, there isn’t much to be done about restoring or reblocking straw.)

Don’t be daunted. Once you get the hang of it, you will be able to dust a straw hat lickety split.

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