A good cowboy hat is a stylish and rugged accessory, but that does not mean you can neglect it and then expect it to last a lifetime. If you want to keep your hat in the best shape possible for the longest amount of time, follow the tips below for storage, cleaning, and handling.
Short and Long Term Storage
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to store your hat with the brim down on a flat surface. Unless the brim is completely flat, allowing for even weight distribution, it will begin to lose its curvature over time. If you do need to store it on a flat surface, just flip it over and allow it to rest on the crown to minimize the strain on the brim. A hat rack is the best option for short term storage, as it will support the hat by the sturdy section at the base of the crown.
When storing a hat for a long period of time, strongly consider getting a protective hat box. This will achieve the same goal of helping your hat maintain its shape, but it will also help to protect the hat from damaging environmental factors such as dust and humidity.
Cleaning Your Cowboy Hat
The exact method used while cleaning a hat varies based on the type of material from which it is made, but using a washing machine is a terrible idea for any type of cowboy hat. Felt hats require brushes to properly clean them, and you can purchase the proper type of brush at most stores that have a substantial cowboy hat section. You will want to get brushes as close in color to your hat as possible. Another useful tool to keep on hand is a lint roller. Straw and wool hats are simpler to clean than felt hats, as you can take a damp washcloth and clean the grime and dirt from them as long as you do not get too rough.
Handling and Day-to-Day Tips
In day-to-day handling, avoid manipulating the hat by the crown as much as possible. Repeated touching and pressure will cause the crown to lose its shape, so touch the brim only when adjusting the hat. Leaving your hat in a hot environment can also potentially cause damage to the shape of the hat in general.
Most cowboy hats can handle a bit of rain, but caring for one after it becomes soaked requires a slow and patient touch. Do not try to speed up the drying process with heat as it can cause damage to the hat. The shape of the brim may suffer some damage from excessive moisture, so pay special care to the brim as it dries. If you expect heavy rain or if you live in a rainy area, use a protective device for cowboy hats to prevent water damage. Felt hat owners may seriously want to consider investing in one.
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