How to Clean a Hat to Keep it in Top Condition

This winter was particularly rainy and cold. So today we’re looking at how to clean a hat that may have been keeping you warm and dry over the last few months.

Before hanging up your headwear, it’s important that it’s clean and prepared for storage. Fabrics need to be freshened, stains spot-treated and if necessary, given specialist dry cleaning beforehand.

Different types of hats require different treatments, attention and storage. So, it’s important to understand how to clean a hat based on its fabric, composition and shape.

Wool hats

Wool needs special attention due to its tendency to shrink or become misshapen after being exposed to water. If you have a hat made from real knitted wool or a wool mix, the label may state that it can be machine-washed.

However, if it is particularly delicate, it may be better to wash it by hand in cold water. Use a suitable cleaning product, such as our wool and cashmere shampoo, which can be used for both machine and hand-washing.

If your hat has a bobble made of a different material, such as real fur, it may need specialist dry cleaning to protect it.


You may have a felt or wool beret that hasn’t been heavily worn. How to clean felt or wool spot stains is to use a felt hat cleaning brush especially for the purpose. These are widely available and can be sourced online. Use the brush to gently to remove dust, debris and light marks without damaging the fabric.

If you’ve worn your beret a lot through the winter, it will need a deeper clean. Referring to the manufacturer or label is always best. But if this is not available, again, seeking advice from a dry cleaning specialist to ensure it retains its shape and colour is advisable.  

Occasion hats and fascinators

Occasion headwear makes a striking fashion statement. Whether it’s a pillbox hat for a vintage-themed wedding or a fascinator for a day at the races, you will want to keep these signature accessories in top condition between wears.  

Both ready-made and tailored hats should come in specially designed storage boxes. These are key to keeping them protected and free from dust and environmental extremes.

If your wedding hat has become stained, it may be possible to spot-treat light marks with a brush, gentle detergent or stain removing solution. Otherwise, this is a job for a specialist, as with most cases of heavy marking.

Leather and suede hats

They may appear to be hardwearing, but leather hats need more than a quick clean with a cloth to stay looking their best. Natural materials can be prone to scuffing, marks and staining. Sourcing a leather cleaner and brush is the best option to refresh your hat and remove stains.

After the hat or spots you’ve cleaned are dry, use a specialist leather and suede brush to gently revive the nap and work the exterior for an even finish. This should get rid of any marks or imperfections. Mitigate damage caused by moisture, rain and extreme weather by applying a waterproofing treatment after cleaning.

Baseball caps                          

Most baseball caps will be made from hardwearing fabrics, such as cotton, polyester or synthetic mixes. The inserts are also now typically plastic, rather than cardboard.

The average baseball cap should withstand a spin in a washing machine, or if preferred, a hand wash. They can also be spot-treated to remove stains or marks.

Vintage baseball caps will likely include a cardboard insert. Seek advice from the manufacturer or a dry cleaning specialist before attempting to clean them.

Flat caps

Thanks to the TV show Peaky Blinders, flat caps have boomed in popularity. No doubt there are many among you wondering how to clean a flat cap.

How to clean a flat cap depends on the material it’s made from. If it’s polyester, cotton or a mix, the label care instructions will likely advise machine-washing.

However, some tartan or herringbone examples can be made of wool or other more delicate fabrics. See above for recommendations on how to clean wool caps. Seek the advice of a dry cleaning specialist if it is delicate or has sentimental value.

Fur hats

There’s nothing quite like a fur or fake fur hat to make a fashion statement and keep your head warm in winter. These hats are unique items and as a result, will need specialist cleaning. This is one for the experts.

That’s all for now! If your hat has a care label, always refer to this as a first port of call. But if you’re unsure, seek advice from a dry cleaning specialist. They will give you guidance, such as whether it should be exposed to cleaning agents, artificially dried or dry cleaned.