Taking Care of Your Hat in Los Gatos

Hat Repair & Maintenance Tips

At Black Cat Hats, we know when you purchase a high-quality hat you want to keep it looking and feeling its greatest for years to come. Over time, minor maintenance or repairs may be needed. Here are some of the things you can do to extend the life of your hat.

  • Never leave your hat in your hot car. Heat and sunlight can dry out, fade and shrink your hat. So don’t leave it on your dashboard or in your trunk, or sitting in front of a window at home.
  • Allow wet hats to dry naturally. If you get caught in a rainstorm and your hat becomes soaked, allow it to dry naturally; artificial heat from a hair dryer or heater can distort or shrink the hat.
  • Always handle your hat by the brim. Avoid handling the crown as much as possible. This is particularly true for straw hats. The oil and dirt from your hands will show more on the crown than the brim and straw hats can crack if you pinch (ouch!) them on their delicate crown.

Straw and Raffia Hats

Straw hats vary from extremely fragile to quite durable, but if you take good care of your straw hats, they will last for years.

Use a soft brush to brush away dust that might accumulate over time. There are hat brushes made for this purpose, or you can use a very soft, clean paintbrush for this purpose. If the hat has a tight weave, you can wipe it with a slightly damp cloth. If you have a stain or smudge you can’t remove with a damp cloth try a very gentle soap diluted by water on the damp cloth.

If you have a fine woven straw hat, like a Panama hat, instead of setting it down on its brim, turn it upside down on to rest on its crown. This will prevent the brim from becoming flattened, which will change its shape. Floppy straws and many raffia hats with flat brims are ok to set on their brims, but when you have a fedora or safari style, remember “crown down”!

Be extra careful not to get a natural straw or raffia hat wet, because they can easily lose their shape and be difficult to re-shape. Should your hat get wet, let it dry naturally away from direct sun or an artificial heat source. However…your straw hat might need to get a gentle steaming every once in a while! Since straw is a natural fiber it can get dry over time and in fact so dry it might crack. Periodically, especially if you live in a dry area, it might be good to put your hat in the bathroom while you take a nice steamy shower – but don’t put it in the shower with you! Just a little steam can go a long way, because you don’t want your hat to lose its shape..

Felt Hats

When storing your felt hat, never rest your hat on its brim. Turn it upside down and rest it on the crown. Resting a hat on the brim will flatten-out the brim. Even if you take it off for a short time, rest it on its crown because if your hat is even slightly damp from moisture in the air or sweat from your head, it can alter the brim.

For a stain on a felt hat, start off by taking a gum eraser or a rubber sponge (like a make-up sponge) to the mark or smudge. There are also sponges made especially for hats and dry cleaning sponges can do the trick as well.

If the stain or smudge persists, try a cleaner made for hats. You spray it on, wait for it to dry into a powder, and then brush it off. For a grease stain, you can also try rubbing some cornstarch into it and then brushing it off.

Washable Hats

We do carry some easy care hats that are hand washable, but most hats cannot be washed. The washable hats tend to be made of cloth or poly-fiber and can be hand washed with a mild soap an air-dried. If you’re looking for something washable, we are happy to direct you to specific brands that hold their shape. We particularly like the Wallaroo Hats for this feature.

If you would like more hat tips or need to have your hat repaired, inquire at our Los Gatos hat shop or by calling us at (408) 354-1910.

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